Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Donald Trump says 'America First' like isolationists before World War II

In embracing “America First’’ as his guiding foreign policy philosophy, Donald Trump appropriated — spontaneously, it seems — one of the most denigrated political slogans of the last century, and one that evokes an isolationism Trump himself explicitly rejects.
“It’s a rotten term that evokes the naive idiots, defeatists and pro-Nazis who wanted to appease Hitler and make friends with him’’ before World War II, says Susan Dunn, author of 1940: F.D.R., Willkie, Lindbergh, Hitler — The Election Amid the Storm. That said, she doesn’t think the old phrase means much today.
Trump’s use of an expression so dated and discredited reflects his willingness to dip into the past for catch phrases that, no matter their historical baggage, can still appeal to voters.
During the Republican presidential campaign, Trump also has claimed to speak for “the silent majority,’’ a term coined in 1969 by Richard Nixon’s administration, and adopted Ronald Reagan’s 1980 campaign theme, “Make America great again.’’
Trump’s rhetoric, though derivative, is effective, says Jennifer Wingard, an expert on the subject who teaches at the University of Houston.
An expression like “America First” sounds vaguely and reassuringly familiar, even if (or maybe because) “you can’t quite place it or know why you know it,’’ she says.
Plus, “it has an emotional resonance, especially if you feel you’ve lost a job because of foreign competition: ‘I’m an American. I come first.’’’
Read the rest of this op-ed HERE.

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1 comment:

cimbri said...

Sure, you want to stay out of war unless you absolutely have to fight - that is an America First and a very old conservative concept, which dates back to George Washington's "entangling alliances" warning and John Adams refusal to go to war with France. The US had the right policy, because Republicans did not want the US to fight wars for our European allies, due to the folly of WW1 American intervention.

In the 1930s, a major turning point in Nazi expansion happened when Hitler ordered the Wehrmacht into the Rhineland, in contravention of treaty. France could have easily repelled the weak German Army; Hitler would have been humiliated and forced out of office. Hitler admitted several years later it was a very risky gamble and relied on weak leadership in France and England. That doesn't reflect on the America First movement at all - it's not our responsibility to fight everyone's battles.

The Bush Doctrine, which repudiates the ideas of America First, lasted all of one year, because the definition of it - America will fight pre-emptive wars based on intel, was flawed in its conception. A president can too easily lie about intel and drag the country into war.