The Republican Party’s Presidential nominee could send America’s international reputation up in flames, and all South Dakota’s self-professed best political website can do is squawk that Senator John Thune might be a good running mate for Il Duce.
I don’t speak German, but Der Spiegel tags its latest report on Donald Trump’s ascent to leadership of the Republican Party with a line that cognates nicely: “Donald Trump und die Republikaner: Die kaputte Partei.”
The main headline Der Spiegel chooses is not quite as English friendly: “Trump und die Republikaner: Operation gelungen, Partei tot.” Luckily, I’ve been watching Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, so I was able to figure out the last word: Trump and the Republicans: Operation Succcessful, Party Dead.
Zach Beauchamp of Vox catalogs some other foreign freak-outs over a possible President Trump. These foreign reactions are not heedless hysteria or easy pokes at the archetypal Ugly American; they are logical assessments of Trump’s stated foreign policy aims as a complete rupture of relatively stable post-World War II order:
Trump has called NATO “obsolete,” and threatened to destroy the alliance unless America’s European allies pay the United States in return for the troops America stations on the continent. “Either they pay up, including for past deficiencies, or they have to get out. And if it breaks up NATO, it breaks up NATO,” Trump said at a campaign rally.
Nice alliance you’ve got there — shame if anything were to happen to it, he’s telling the world.
He’s also suggested that Japan and South Korea should pay for their security alliances with the United States. But there, he went even further, suggesting that these countries should maybe just get their own nuclear weapons so the United States doesn’t have to protect them anymore.
These aren’t little policy changes. These alliances are literally the foundation of the post–World War II American strategy, supported (in varying forms) by every president and both parties.
The basic idea is that American security alliances around the world deter aggression by hostile powers, like Russia and China, and cement peaceful ties between allies because they’re on the same broad side. American alliances create a web of peace around the world, preventing wars between great powers and promoting free global commerce. Everybody wins, at least theoretically.
Trump’s point of view threatens to torpedo this system. By telling allies that the US will only support them if they pay up, he’s abandoning American promises to defend them. American allies will come to believe that American protection hinges on the whims of an unstable and unpredictable leader.
That is terrifying for people in these countries, who have premised their entire security policies on the existence of American protection [Zach Beauchamp, “Think America’s Terrified of Donald Trump? Check out How the Rest of the World’s Reacting,” Vox, 2016.05.05].
This isn’t TV or a board game. This is erratic Putin-lover Donald Trump getting classified security briefings. This is Donald Trump Making American Great Again, where “Great” means America in 1851, when we were not a respected world power whose military, economic, and moral suasion could stave off massive global wars for seventy years and counting.
Kaputte und tot: Trump has already stamped those words on the Republican Party. Let’s stop him before he stamps them on the United States of America.