Welcome to Trump’s World. You better get to know it. This is really happening. Trump Think-Tank, Trump Staffers – they’re all on their way. The billionaire looks set to clinch the Republican nomination. There are already Trump governors: Maine’s Paul LePage has now joined New Jersey’s Chris Christie – and three former governors from Arizona, Alaska and Minnesota. Not to mention two Trump congressmen.
Pay attention. Even if the Republican donor class can snatch the nomination back from him – Trumpism is here to stay.
This is no flash in the pan. And if the Donald loses – don’t rule out a Trump 2.0 in 2020. Or a Trump clone running with his blessing. So, what is Trump’s view of the world? One that rips up the Republican rulebook. The Donald is Putin-friendly, ambiguous on Israel, a trade protectionist, furious at America’s freeloading allies, seethingly anti-Chinese, and above all anti-Mexican. Not to mention of course that this is a man who cares little about democracy promotion or human rights, and would play at war as roughly as Russia – rather than with the usual United Nations rules of engagement in mind.
The Donald is ready to make America new friends. The Trump Embassy would be courting – not castigating – Russia. Putin is someone Trump thinks he would “get along with him very well for the good of our country”. America, it sounds like, would go for Trump reset with Russia: “I don’t think you’d be having the kind of problems that you’re having right now,” he said recently. American-Russian proxy war in Syria? It’s over with Trump in charge: “let him bomb,” says the Donald.
Neither, according to the man himself, would Russian dissidents or other irritants get in the way of a Trump-Putin bromance. The Kremlin’s killings of opposition journalists? “Our country does plenty of killings too,” says the Donald, who joked he too has been tempted to shoot the odd troublesome journalist. And as for Putin – “it’s never been proven that he’s killed anybody”.
Trump has no truck with America’s old friends. The Europeans? He sees them as a bunch of freeloaders, with Germany the freeloader-in-chief. “Here’s this big monstrous country,” he says, “Germany, and they hardly speak up. They accept [Putin’s] oil and gas and lots of other things and here we are fighting like hell [in Ukraine.” The same goes for America’s Asian protectorates: “We have 28,000 people separating South Korea from this maniac in North Korea. We get nothing… We get nothing. They’re making a fortune.”
This is Trump’s bottom line: America’s military alliances – from NATO to Tokyo – aren’t worth the Pentagon’s mega-budgets. “If somebody attacks Japan,” says the Donald, “we have to immediately start World War III. OK? If we get attacked, Japan doesn’t have to help us. Somehow, that doesn’t sound so fair. Does that sound good?” But what about America’s very close and very expensive ally – Israel? Trump has said he wants to be it’s best friend ever. But what about when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Trump doesn’t sound one bit a Republican: “Let me be a sort of neutral guy, let’s see what – I’m going to give it a shot.”
Trump wants America to stop playing sheriff. Big, expensive wars? History, under President Trump. He sells himself as the anti-Bush. 9/11? It was Bush’s fault – and had Trump been in charge it would have brrn averted pre-emptively, apparently. Iraq? “A big fat mistake.” Weapons of mass destruction? “They lied.” Afghanistan and America’s other interventions? Never again. “We’ve spent $4 trillion trying to topple various people that, frankly,” said Trump, “if they were there and if we could have spent that $4trn in the United States to fix our roads, our bridges, and all of the other problems we would have been a lot better off, I can tell you that right now. We have done a tremendous disservice not only to the Middle East — we’ve done a tremendous disservice to humanity.”
These are America’s real enemies. The countries that have sucked up the United States’s industrial base. “Our country is going to hell,” says Trump. “And we have a problem with China. We have a problem with Japan. And we have a problem with Mexico.”
Trump’s America is over free trade: Trumpland is a protectionist USA. The first task of the Trump administration? Ripping up NAFTA (The US free-trade pact with Canada and Mexico) and introducing the Trump Tariff.
The Donald is planning economic war: he wants to brand China a “currency manipulator” and slap unspecified restrictions on corporates “outsourcing” jobs. It should make Michael Gove and Boris Johnson shiver: the thought of negotiating a free-trade pact with a Republican America over free trade.
Trump’s great battle will be close to home – “building the wall, the great, beautiful wall” – along the border with Mexico. Trump would throw the security establishment into a gigantic policing operation – deporting America’s 11 million illegal immigrants. Though dumping a population larger than Belgium, Sweden, or Greece by the planeload into the airports of South and Central America would cost an estated minimum $420bn.
“He reminds me of Hitler,” said Vicente Fox, the former Mexican president recently. Imagine the turmoil, and the reaction in Mexico City, as Trump tears their economy – utterly dependent on American remittances and outsourced American factories – to pieces.
So, this is what Trumpism really is. Make America Great Again – by shrinking the American empire. The Trump Doctrine simple. America’s is rolling back that global imperium – because it’s a failing, underperforming regional power with regional problems – “too many immigrants” – and a main regional foe. Moscow can relax. Trump’s America is going for Mexico.