Donald Trump Says "No Thanks" to Most of the Republican Foreign Policy Establishment

by Rebecca Bynum (May 2016)

In an article published Saturday, The Hill claims that a number of Republican foreign policy experts are rebuffing the Trump team’s efforts to reach out to them. The establishment cabal is plainly in a fix: if they join team Trump and Trump loses the general election, they will be ostracized by the loyalists who are waiting in the wings to seize back control of the party. If they remain with establishment and Trump wins, they will be shut out of all the top positions in his administration. Of course it is already too late for the policy experts who signed an open letter vowing to work “energetically” to prevent Trump’s election.

Donald Trump won’t miss them one little bit.

These are the architects of the foreign policy disaster which has burned through two trillion dollars of taxpayer money, caused thousands of our finest young men to lose their lives and ruined the lives of thousands more who have come home horribly maimed and crippled, both emotionally and physically. These are the people who were so naïve about Iraq and Muslim polities generally, they were preparing a trade show immediately to follow the downfall of Saddam Hussein. “We will be greeted as liberators,” said Vice President Cheney at the time, seeing in his mind’s eye the wonderful ally and trading partner Iraq would become according to all the experts he listened to, including the esteemed Bernard Lewis who famously said, “We must bring them democracy or they will destroy us.”

Donald Trump doesn’t need “experts” like these.

Furthermore, neither the Bush nor the Obama administrations have, in fifteen long years, formulated anything close to an effective strategy to deal with the rising tide of Islamism. President Bush simply threw the military at the problem and the military responded with adapting their tactics for fighting insurgencies. They had no guiding strategy to follow.

The surge showed that given enough manpower, we could hold down the violence between Sunnis, Shi’a and Kurds in Iraq, but the minute that heavy hand was lifted, the fighting returned. No one ever questioned the wisdom of a) trying to keep Iraq united, composed as it is of three former Ottoman vilayets, or b) whether that Islamic in-fighting was really contrary to US interests. Rather it was taken for granted by these “experts” that Iraq must remain united whatever the costs to America. The interests of the Iraqi people were thereby raised above the interests of the American people.

Donald Trump says no more. His guiding principle will be American interests first.

Furthermore, the Bush Administration embraced the outright lie that terrorism has nothing to do with Islam, thereby blinding themselves to the legitimate ideology and motivation of the enemy. Terrorism is propaganda “by other means” after all. But the message of the terrorists, no matter how many times and in how many circumstances they endeavored to explain it by patiently citing the Koran chapter and verse, fell on resolutely deaf ears. As a result, these “experts” have been blindsided at every turn. The link they deliberately avoided was the link between religion and politics, constructed by the Islamists. The latter’s strategies were dismissed from the debate at the Republican classical circles and the International Republican Institute.

The only way to anticipate the actions of Jihadis is to understand Islamism; but this the foreign policy establishment stubbornly refused to do, preferring instead to promote the comfortable lie that the “religion of peace” had been “hijacked”  and “perverted” by the terrorists. Therefore, not only did they deny the true scope and depth of the conflict, but also, with the help of the mainstream media, actually attempted to hide the truth from the American people. Although this mendacity was continued by President Obama, we haven’t forgotten it was put in place by President Bush on the advice of his “experts.”

Donald Trump intends to confront Jihadism head on and he will bring an informed American public with him.

Professor Robert Rabil, Director of Middle East studies at the Department of Political Sciences at Florida Atlantic University told us that "the Trump foreign policy platform, as elaborated in his speech at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington has in fact more realism to it than the neo cons policy proposals of the past fifteen years or the foreign policy decisions made by the Obama Administration over the past seven years." Rabil, the author of several books on Islamism and Middle East conflicts added that "Donald Trump is right to develop a new team of experts among Republicans since past years have demonstrated that the old school didn't provide strategic answers. Neither when the old school served with the Bush Administration nor when they served as experts for the opposition and majority in Congress, did they produce solutions to the rise of Jihadism, Iran's expansion or the homegrown terror. Mr. Trump is right to seek new expertise. Obviously there is room for all opinions in the debate, but Washington is in need for fresh ideas."  

John Hajjar, co-chair of the Mideast Coalition for Trump said: "It is imperative for Mr. Trump to open the path for a new generation of international policy experts as he will be - if elected - dealing with many crises from Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen to Ukraine and more. The expertise of the past 20 years failed, hence he needs a new one. This is not an academic exercise, this is the real world burning. Mr. Trump's speech and the few advisors and team he announced shows the directions he may take. They are the tip of the iceberg, but they aren't all the body of expertise he is relying on" 

According to The Hill, “If Trump does become the GOP’s nominee, some GOP hawks have flirted with a willingness to support Hillary Clinton the likely Democratic pick.” And by the comments cited in this piece as well as the open letter vowing to fight Trump to the bitter end, the Republican establishment have shown their true colors. They would prefer the Republican Party lose the general election to Hillary Clinton so they might sweep back into power as the party’s saviors, then to maintain an iron grip on that same power they so disastrously wielded before.

Republican voters are in the process of saying, “no thanks.”




Rebecca Bynum serves as Assistant to the Foreign Policy Advisor to Donald J. Trump, Dr. Walid Phares. She is also New English Review's managing editor. Her latest book is The Real Nature of Religion, published by New English Review Press.

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