2011 April 13 Wednesday
Trump: Why Spend Our Money To Protect Others?
It would be great to have a President who would ask "what's in it for us" before charging around globe spending blood and money on causes. But would Donald Trump really govern that way if elected?
He singled out the recent trade pact with South Korea, signed after a military showdown with communist-ruled North Korea, saying it was a "joke" with insufficient benefits for the United States.
"We go over there, we protect them, we protect them with our ships ... Did anyone pay us for this? No! So, what is happening is mind-boggling."
Imagine the election of a populist with a strong focus on the national collective interest (as distinct from the interests of assorted ethnic groups, investment bankers, or assorted idealists). If someone actually tried to govern based on a rational calculation of national interest the press and elites would attack such a President mercilessly. He's be labeled racists for not wanting to bomb African or Middle Eastern countries. He'd be labeled a threat to the economy if he demanded no more currency manipulation by major trading partners.
America's foreign policy of the last couple of decades amounts to living beyond our means and without a rational calculation of the national interest.With a budget deficit on the order of 10% of GDP we can't afford an irrational and expensive foreign policy. If Trump would make serious steps in the direction of demanding clear net benefits to our Defense and State budgets (with large cuts due to their excesses) and foreign aid spending I'd vote for him.
It's funny that asking if we really have incentive to do something would be revolutionary in a president.
I doubt humanitarian motives are behind much U.S. military spending, except for a few disaster relief missions.
Media ownership and wealth are extremely concentrated - anyone challenging such entrenched power is quixotic.
Even Barry Goldwater (see his book "With No Apologies") identified a covert network of power brokers that really pulls the strings. A billionaire like Ross Perot, no less, had to buckle under pressure - probably threats.
"The Establishment" is real and will finance another Punch-and-Judy election, directing major media to favorably cover only compliant candidates. Promises will not be kept anyway. Another trip around the circular track.
During the Cold War, it was easy - just oppose whatever the communists were trying to do. Sometimes this led to disaster, as in Viet Nam, but mostly we stayed on track. Since the collapse of the Evil Empire, however, US foreign policy has been directionless, under both Democrats and Republicans. Neo-Wilsonian interventions to "make the world safe for democracy" in places such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia and the Balkans haven't worked out well. I think Trump is a buffoonish blowhard, but look at what we had for presidents lately - Bush I, Clinton, Bush II, Obama. And the opponents - Dole, Gore, Kerry, McCain - haven't been any better. So why not give him a chance? How could it be any worse?
The powers that be have too much interest in pulling the strings of government to let a truly independent man take office.
And what kind of independent man would he have to be? Probably independently wealthy, for one. The Obama campaign raised and spent at least $760 million on its 2008 campaign, and God alone knows how much was spent "independently" to aid it. So the independent man would have to be able to spend $1 billion, twice (for both campaigns). Would probably want a few billion left over so he could still be rich after leaving office. He would've had to earn that money more or less honestly, to avoid negative public perception, on the one hand, and blackmail on the other. Trump has a history of failed marriages, an ego the size of Mars, and, oh yes, a bankruptcy or two.
If he was not independently wealthy he would have to more or less fool the establishment until the day he became president. Fool them that he was in favor of spending $700 billion on defense, of sending $3 billion a year to Israel, of sending $7 billion to Africa. The guy who wants to cut PEPFAR (AIDs care in Africa) will be branded a cruel racist. The guy who wants to cut aid to Israel will not get elected, period. After leaving office the independent man would not benefit at all from the sort of ex post facto bribery which made Bill Clinton and Al Gore gazillionaires within six years of retirement, despite not having a shred of business experience between them.
For all we know maybe John McCain was that guy. Perhaps his support for amnesty was a ruse to help him win office, when he'd suddenly decide to deport 12 million illegals and secure the border for good. Problem is that since I don't know that, I didn't vote for him, and neither did a lot of other Republicans in 2008.
This country has gotten too big and too rich for its own good. That has made its government a target for every parasite known to man. Fending off those parasites may well be impossible.
Unfortunately, Trump is a poster boy of the "heads I win, tails you lose" financial shenanigans that continue to enable this nation's decline as we speak. (Take a look at his bankruptcy history...) He's a showman, he's not the real thing.