To The Daily Sun,
What is isolationism? Is it drawing back from trade with those outside our borders? Is it dissolving regional defense commitments? Is it withholding aid to starving people around the world? Is it shutting out those seeking asylum from war-torn areas of the world? I say it is all of the above.
We need to evaluate carefully the responses we make to those beyond our borders.
Shortly, we will be involved in the budget process. It would appear that there is a big push for a significant increase in military spending. Can we justify the outlay for these stated defense priorities, or are we ramping up to another foreign conflict? When you have a strong military, there is a temptation to start acting like the global cop. Victory in conflict is only a part of the problem resolution. Once you remove a tyrant there is an obligation to maintain order in the aftermath. Both the victory and the maintenance of order cost money, lots of it!
As our new secretary of state visits in foreign lands, is his message one that assures both friend and enemy that we come in peace? Or, does he go out to those nations with a threat of sanctions?
Harold Laswell, in his book "World Politics Faces Economics," held that there are four types of statecraft: propaganda, diplomacy, military force and economic statecraft. What can we draw from the Trump/Tillison
performance thus far? Trump certainly understands the use of propaganda. He used it quite well in his presidential campaign. We see that even our allies are confused by his pronouncements. His efforts on the diplomatic scene have, as yet, not been tested. One thing he must not do is work at cross purposes with Rex.
Where the Trump administration may get in the greatest trouble is in the use of military force and economic statecraft. His stated aim in reference to the use of the military is the need to make it stronger so those who oppose America will never do so overtly. If anyone out there really believes that line, we must assume they have slept through the last 50 years.
Trump's ideas relating to economic statecraft aren't very understandable. His "make it in America" philosophy makes less sense than what the British are doing to themselves. Does he really think that we can turn back the clock on how trade is conducted? He is going to find a different kind of wall in China. They will smile politely at him and then completely ignore him. They have been making deals a lot longer than he has. Also, in case he hasn't noticed, China has bought a lot of our paper over the years. Their investment in our borrowing process is well known and may come back to haunt us in the not too distant future. They may do a little economic statecraft of their own; just to calm him down a bit, so to speak.
It will be an interesting year, for sure.