Don’t Believe Trump’s Claims to Be Anti-War

While Donald Trump is known for holding relatively many unforgiving and outright bigoted policy positions – banning Muslim migration to the United States and deporting millions of immigrants en masse, to name two – his foreign policy views, which many interpret as “isolationist,” are frequently cited as deviating from this mold.

Maureen Dowd, columnist for the New York Times, recently made claims along these lines, calling Trump a foreign policy “dove” in her headline (she qualified it to quasi-dove in the article’s body).

But there’s absolutely no reason to believe that Trump is at all dovish, or that as president he would be anti-war or restrained with the use of military power (remember that George W. Bush, too, hardly ran as a pro-war candidate).

First, when it comes to the crisis Trump currently sees as our country’s main threat, ISIS, his proposals are outrageously brutal and extreme. He has demanded we bring back torture, attack the families of terrorists, and has said he wants to bomb the “*** out of ISIS.” He has even flirted with using nuclear weapons on the battlefield.

Now, Trump seems to get most of his information from TV news. So it’s not a big surprise that he thinks ISIS requires such a drastic response, despite its failure to pose a large-scale military threat to the United States.

But think of what his position will be when he starts hearing real, detailed intelligence reports about the various threats to American interests across the globe, which are surely numerous.

Will Trump take these in stride, with a measured approach and a keen awareness of the costs and benefits of any action?

Or does he have the potential to overreact?

I’ll give you a minute to think.

It’s worth also considering Trump’s rhetoric about the military itself. He’s repeatedly claimed that, “We’re going to start winning with our military!” He’s called himself a very “militaristic person” and said he wants a “much stronger military.”

Since the United States has the strongest military force on the planet, it’s unclear why it would have to be built up if it weren’t going to be used.

We’ve also seen, over and over again, what Trump’s personality truly is like. He lashes out when he’s attacked; he holds grudges; he’s petty; he’s deeply prideful, and easily insulted. And he’s hyper-nationalistic.

Are theses the characteristics of someone we should expect to build up military forces, and then leave them to sit idly by for four or eight years?

Even if he is in some sense truly suspicious of the efficacy and wisdom of war, it’s hard to believe that a man so obsessed with his own power and brilliance wouldn’t turn to the military to accomplish whatever foreign policy goals he decides he values.

And undoubtedly, during the next president’s term, there will be a terrorist attack somewhere, an attack on an embassy, or a coup in an unstable nation that might threaten our preferred status quo. I’m no great prognosticator, but it doesn’t take clairvoyance to predict Trump’s likely response.

And could Trump ever admit he made a mistake? It seems unlikely. Were Trump to involve the United States in another hopeless and devastating military quagmire, he would be the last person to ever realize it.

In Trump’s defense, some might point to his clear-eyed opposition to previous military actions, like the Iraq War or intervention in Libya. Only Trump’s claims on these fronts are patently untrue. He was in favor of invading Iraq prior to the war, and he advocated removing Moammar Gaddafi from power.

Trump seems to endorse a kind of restrained, defensive approach to military action as a general principle, but when faced with any particular proposed military action or enemy, it’s much more plausible to think he’s inclined toward violence. In all likelihood, ISIS won’t be Public Enemy No. 1 forever; how long would it take a President Trump to find a new enemy, and propose even more extreme tactics to stop them?

After all, he’s repeatedly endorsed violence against protesters at his rallies. Why should we expect him to be any more temperate when dealing with potential threats abroad?

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore


Batista c.
Past Member 2 years ago

AMAZING “We could have stayed all day and almost did. The ranger talks were very informative and would have hated to miss them. The museum world war 2 artifacts for sale were endless. So glad that we went there.

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Eric Lees
Eric Lees3 years ago

We know Hillary is pro war:
"Hillary Clinton: “If I’m President, We Will Attack Iran… We would be Able to Totally Obliterate Them.”

Eric Lees
Eric Lees3 years ago

@Will Rogers "If you're pro guns it is anachronistic to be anti war. Loving weapons is not peaceful."
I disagree Will, you can be against wars of aggression while supporting the right to self defense. A strong defense is needed to keep from being attacked. Just look at all the countries that have been destroyed in the past.

Eric Lees
Eric Lees3 years ago

@Katie and Bill D. "GO BERNIE! Hope he surprises everyone he is not that far behind. Yes if Bernie isn't on the Ballot I will Vote for Hillary it's the lesser of the Evil, Sure don't want Trump in!"

The Oligarchy thanks you for your blind allegiance. They win regardless of which puppet is President be it Trump, Sanders or Clinton. Clinton's policies align more with the neocons than Trump anyway. That's why many neocons are not backing Trump, he has many unknowns whereas everyone knows Clinton can be controlled.

Olivia Lim
Olivia Lim3 years ago

He's anti-(personally fighting in the war himself) that's for sure

Billie Sue B.
Billie Sue B3 years ago

Pro military benefits and using the banks to choke countries into submission is not the same as bombs. With that said, I believe Trump is setting the Republican candidate and friend Hillary for a win.

Will Rogers
Will Rogers3 years ago

If you're pro guns it is anachronistic to be anti war. Loving weapons is not peaceful.

Sue H.
Sue H3 years ago

I wouldn't believe one word out of his self aggrandizing mouth.

Katie and Bill D.
Katie & Bill D3 years ago

GO BERNIE! Hope he surprises everyone he is not that far behind. Yes if Bernie isn't on the Ballot I will Vote for Hillary it's the lesser of the Evil, Sure don't want Trump in! Think before you do a write in it will go to Trump! Don't waste your Vote! Bernie has instilled what the people want into her, she knows. They will hold her to it. GO BERNIE MAKE THEM FEEL THE BERN!!