After dozens of contests featuring cliffhangers, buzzer-beaters and a ton of flagrant fouls, we’re down to the Final Four: Sanders, Clinton, Cruz and Trump. (If Kasich pulls a miracle, he’ll get his own column.) The world wants to know: What are their foreign policies?
Herewith, four candidates and four schools: pacifist, internationalist, unilateralist and mercantilist.
(3) Ted Cruz, unilateralist.
The most aggressive of the three contenders thus far. Wants post-Cold War U.S. leadership restored. Is prepared to take risks and act alone when necessary. Pledges to tear up the Iran deal, cement the U.S.-Israel alliance and carpet bomb the Islamic State.
|Cruz's Closest analog: Ronald Reagan.|
Overdoes it with “carpet” — it implies Dresden — although it was likely just an attempt at rhetorical emphasis. He’s of the school that will not delay action while waiting on feckless allies or farcical entities like the U.N.
Closest analog: Ronald Reagan.
(4) Donald Trump, mercantilist.
He promises to make America strong, for which, he explains, he must first make America rich. Treating countries like companies, he therefore promises to play turnaround artist for a foreign policy that is currently a hopeless money-losing operation in which our allies take us for fools and suck us dry.
You could put the Sanders, Clinton and Cruz foreign policies on a recognizable ideological spectrum, left to right. But not Trump’s. It inhabits a different space because it lacks any geopolitical coherence. It’s all about money. He sees no particular purpose for allies or foreign bases. They are simply a financial drain.
Imperial Spain roamed and ravaged the world in search of gold. Trump advocates a kinder, gentler form of wealth transfer from abroad, though equally gold-oriented.
Thus, if Japan and South Korea don’t pony up more money for our troops stationed there, we go home. The possible effects on the balance of power in the Pacific Rim or on Chinese hegemonic designs don’t enter into the equation.
Same for NATO. If those free-riding European leeches don’t give us more money too, why stick around? Concerns about tempting Russian ambitions and/or aggression are nowhere in sight.
|Trump's Closest historical analog: King Philip II of Spain|
The one exception to this singular focus on foreign policy as a form of national enrichment is the Islamic State. Trump’s goal is simple — “bomb the s— out of them.” Yet even here he can’t quite stifle his mercantilist impulses, insisting that after crushing the Islamic State, he’ll keep their oil. Whatever that means.
Closest historical analog: King Philip II of Spain (1556-1598).Read Krauthammer's full op-ed HERE.
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