Donald Trump is frequently accused of being an America First-er. America First is another name for isolationism, an old strain among America’s right. The guiding foreign policy principle of isolationism is that the United States should avoid all entanglements with other nations.
Donald Trump gets the America First reputation from his consistent disparagement of NATO. The Daily Wire has a good summary of Donald Trump’s comments about NATO that he recently made to the New York Times:
“First, The New York Times asked Trump if he would defend NATO allies if they were attacked by Russia. He answered that he would “decide to come to their aid only after reviewing if those nations ‘have fulfilled their obligations to us…If they fulfill their obligations to us, the answer is yes.’”
This destroys NATO.
The whole purpose of NATO is deterrence: if you attack one of us, you attack all of us. Even if Trump were to consider whether to defend Estonia, Latvia or Lithuania – or, for that matter, Poland or Czech Republic – on a case-by-case basis, you don’t say that out loud, unless you’re either stupid or unworried about signaling to Russia that they can invade sovereign nations with impunity. Ed Morrissey of HotAir, who is not prone to exaggeration, wrote, ‘This kind of talk from prospective Commanders-in-Chief is no mere academic or political exercise; it’s actively dangerous.’”
Unfortunately, Trump’s love affair with unsavoury Russian governments is not some recent passion. This is what he had to say about glasnost in the Soviet Union:
“I was very unimpressed... Russia is out of control and the leadership knows it. That's my problem with Gorbachev. Not a firm enough hand.”
I guess he agrees with Vladimir Putin that the collapse of the Soviet Union was the worst catastrophe of the Twentieth Century.
And Russia is not the only enemy of America that Donald Trump has expressed positive views about. After the Tiananmen Square Massacre, Trump said this:
“When the students poured into Tiananmen Square, the Chinese government almost blew it. Then they were vicious, they were horrible, but they put it down with strength. That shows you the power of strength. Our country is right now perceived as weak... as being spit on by the rest of the world.”
Earth to Carnival Barker: There was no riot in Tiananmen Square. There was a massacre, planned, initiated, and executed by the Communist government of China. Those students were peacefully protesting for western liberal values. Their symbol, the Goddess of Democracy, was modeled on the Statue of Liberty. To stop those protests (and save their miserable necks), the Chinese Communist government crushed the students with tanks and chopped them up with machineguns.
That all of this was well known at the time makes Trump’s comments all the more inexcusable. After seeing the photograph of the lone protester standing in front of a line of tanks, Donald Trump must have been the only person in the West whose reaction was one of sympathy to the people who sent the tanks. That is, Trump and a few Stalinist cranks handing out leaflets on the street-corner.
Oh yeah, he has also praised Saddam Hussein and Kim Jong Un. Of the latter, he had this to say:
“You've got to give him credit. How many young guys (he was like 26 or 25 when his father died) take over these tough generals, and all of a sudden... he goes in, he takes over, he's the boss.
It's incredible. He wiped out the uncle, he wiped out this one, that one. This guy doesn't play games.”
You really, really get the feeling that Donald Trump likes vicious strongmen. Personally, nothing can be more disqualifying of the Presidency than such an attitude.
But here is the real question: given Donald Trump’s well-documented trail of comments disparaging America’s allies, has he ever said anything positive about a foreign government that wasn’t hostile to the United States? Especially a formal ally?
Given that the governing principle of the America First movement is neutrality towards all foreign governments - showing no favour or disfavour to anybody, doesn’t Donald Trump’s consistent support of America’s enemies make Donald Trump an America Last-er?
For there is nothing neutral about Trump’s foreign policy preferences. He loves America’s enemies.