The Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump spoke with The New York Times about his “America First” Foreign Policy vision, in the second half of a two-part interview that was first launched in late March. In that first interview the candidate adopted a radically different approach to Foreign Policy than the White House of his Republican predecessors, sparking controversy between the Neoconservative wing of the GOP and the Republican base. Ultimately, the establish figures running for the nomination, like Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and Josh Kasich, dropped out, leaving Donald Trump a chance to set the tone for the future of the Republican Party.
The Republican National Convention created an opportunity for the establishment to launch an ideological comeback. Major figures in the Party were able to receive the audience and airtime that Trump has been rallying for over a year. Of course they made the obligatory announcement of support for their nominee, and harangued the Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton, a requirement for attendance—unless you’re Ted Cruz. It was also the perfect opportunity to steer the ideological and policy conversation back in their favor. Night after night, the traditional, interventionist approach to Foreign Policy has been encouraged by figures like Chris Christie, Tom Cotton, and Paul Ryan. All of whom would like America to play a more active, hawkish role in the world, using and threatening military force against Russia, Iran, Syria, and any other nation they dislike.
“Speaking at an event hosted by Politico called “The New Republican Foreign Policy at the RNC,” Cotton, who has argued for a no-fly zone over Syria, was asked whether the next president would have the authority to target a Russian plane, or if new legislation from Congress would be needed for such an escalation.”
With the rhetoric above being spread across the airwaves and becoming a quiet focus of Republican discussion at the convention, it’s no wonder Trump took the reins and launched a wide-ranging discussion of his policy vision this morning, before his acceptance speech tonight. The media was bewildered by the release of part two of Donald Trump’s New York Times interview this morning. If I may speculate, it was right on time.
“We are going to take care of this country first,” he said, “before we worry about everyone else in the world.”
The interview was a shot across the bow to other figures in the Republican Party, that if he becomes President, it will be his “America First” vision entering the White House.
“During a 45-minute conversation, Mr. Trump re-emphasized the hard-line nationalist approach that has marked his improbable candidacy, describing how he would force allies to shoulder defense costs that the United States has borne for decades, cancel longstanding treaties he views as unfavorable, and redefine what it means to be a partner of the United States.”
The conversation had global reverberations. The power of his words have taken on more force as he inches closer to the Oval Office. The President of Estonia quickly posted to Twitter, Donald Trump’s favored form of communication that “his small country was meeting its defense commitments, and noted it had contributed to the mission in Afghanistan.” The mainstream Foreign Policy experts are presenting this exchange as a negative for the Trump vision, when really, it shows how well it’s working.
The United States, even if Trump becomes president, will continue to have a major role to play in the world. The nation’s sacrifice, Trump has made clear, cannot come solely at our own expense. Trump remarked “We are spending a fortune on military in order to lose $800 billion,” citing what he called America’s trade losses. “That doesn’t sound very smart to me.”