We’ll Be Safer If Trump Stops Talking Foreign Policy
I beg of you, President Donald Trump: please stop discussing foreign policy publicly.
Protecting the United States from external threats is a complicated enough task even when handled with the utmost consideration. Since taking office, President Trump has repeatedly and unnecessarily demonstrated his ignorance on foreign issues, jeopardizing already tenuous relationships and thereby threatening the country’s safety.
In just a few short months into his term, Trump has made a number of avoidable gaffes relating to foreign policy, including but not limited to:
- Trump basically taunted North Korea with an ill-advised tweet where he accused the country of “looking for trouble.” In calling out a country that’s been happy to test out its new weapon capabilities, it seems like Trump is the one looking for trouble.
- Speaking of North Korea, even after increasing tensions between the country and the U.S., it appears that Trump has no idea who is even the leader of that country. Rather than saying Kim Jong-un’s name, he continually referred to Jong-un as “that gentleman” to a reporter. Further, he spoke of him as though he’d had power since the Bill Clinton administration, even though it was Kim Jong-il who was in charge then.
- After condemning China for its relationship with North Korea, Trump had a 10-minute chat with President Xi Jinping and decided that diplomacy is “not so easy” after all. While it’s good for Trump to realize that foreign relations aren’t often plainly black and white, the comment also showed other nations just how little Trump understands.
- Trump boasted of recent missile attacks on Iraq to a reporter, who had to gently correct him that he had actually fired the missiles at Syria. Incidentally, Trump was able to recall the piece of chocolate cake he was eating at the time quite vividly.
- In what should have been a routine phone call with the Australian Prime Minister, Trump let the conversation with a longtime American ally turn into something ugly, bragging to the head of Australian over petty issues. It’s not smart policy to turn friends into foes for no reason aside from Trump feeling tired.
Trump may have found shooting from the hip to be a winning campaign strategy domestically, but when it comes to global diplomacy, he’s going to need to be both smarter and more judicious in his choice of words.
Although it doesn’t seem unreasonable to want the president to have a better grasp on foreign matters than he’s showcased so far, no one actually expects the president to know everything. Every president has advisors with a much better understanding of the extensive history and cultural issues of foreign nations.
Prior to being elected, Trump pledged to hire “the best people.” It’s time to follow through with that promise, and let those best people do the talking. It’s not a sign of weakness for Trump to say, “My people know much more than I do about the situation in North Korea, so I’ll defer to them.”
Trump has continually said that American safety is his top priority, but he can’t ensure that when he recklessly endangers our relations with other foreign leaders. If he really wants to keep us safe, it’s time he admits what he doesn’t know and stops making ignorant comments that leave us more susceptible to attack.
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