Saturday, February 20, 2016

Trump Talks Syria and Iraq

Trump got a chance to lay out his Middle East policy in a bit more detail during the last debate, and it was interesting.
MODERATOR: So, you’ve been elected president. It’s your first day in the Situation Room. What three questions do you ask your national security experts about the world?

TRUMP: What we want to do, when we want to do it, and how hard do we want to hit? Because we are going to have to hit very, very hard to knock out ISIS.

We’re going to also have to learn who our allies are. We have allies, so-called allies, we’re spending billions and billions of dollars supporting people — we have no idea who they are in Syria. Do we want to stay that route, or do we want to go and make something with Russia?
Later on
TRUMP: ... Putin called me a genius, I like him so far, I have to tell you. Let me just tell you this.

Look, let me just tell you something, Jeb — Jeb is so wrong. You got to fight ISIS first. You fight ISIS first. Right now you have Russia, you have Iran, you have them with Assad, and you have them with Syria. You have to knock out ISIS. They’re chopping off heads. These are animals. You have to knock ’em out. You have to knock them off strong. You decide what to do after, you can’t fight two wars at one time.

If you listen to him, and you listen to some of the folks that I’ve been listening to, that’s why we’ve been in the Middle East for 15 years, and we haven’t won anything. We’ve spent $5 trillion dollars in the Middle East with thinking like that. . . .

Obviously, the war in Iraq was a big, fat mistake. All right? Now, you can take it any way you want, and it took — it took Jeb Bush, if you remember at the beginning of his announcement, when he announced for president, it took him five days.

He went back, it was a mistake, it wasn’t a mistake. It took him five days before his people told him what to say, and he ultimately said, “It was a mistake.” The war in Iraq, we spent $2 trillion, thousands of lives, we don’t even have it. Iran has taken over Iraq, with the second-largest oil reserves in the world.

Obviously, it was a mistake. George Bush made a mistake. We can make mistakes. But that one was a beauty. We should have never been in Iraq. We have destabilized the Middle East.

MODERATOR: But so I’m going to — so you still think he should be impeached?

TRUMP: You do whatever you want. You call it whatever you want. I want to tell you. They lied. They said there were weapons of mass destruction, there were none. And they knew there were none. There were no weapons of mass destruction.
There goes Trump again, mixing folksy wisdom (one war at a time), ultra-tough rhetoric, and the telling of truths that few Republicans have wanted to admit. I know why Obama, Hillary et al. won't accept Trump's plan of allying with Assad and Iran to defeat ISIS, but I think that plan has a better chance of succeeding than any other I have heard. And I especially like his questioning whether our "allies" (Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Israel) are really helping us in this fight; you may hate Putin, but maybe Trump is right that in this case his interests are closer to ours, so he might actually be a more useful ally.

Trump's appeal has a lot to do with personality and rhetoric, but there are issues on which he really has taken on the establishment. He is an extremely strange person and, I suspect, a narcissist in the clinical sense. But he is not an idiot. If you are a conservative American who wants to shake up the government and the Republican Party, your choices boil down to Trump and the slimy Cruz. Is it any wonder that Trump is winning?

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