If you watch the below exchange, you can see that Donald Trump is clearly staking out the the position of peace candidate.
It would seem to be a very shrewd move. For those old enough to remember (and most Republican voters are plenty old), the Donald built his public persona back in the Go Go 1980’s era of Reaganomics. Not only did the Supply Siders supply the perfect environment for Trump to increase his fortune, he seems to have learned a thing or two from the Gipper about being a popular politician.
Ronald Reagan was popular primarily for three reasons: 1). The economy stupid. 2). The communists were imploding and many were giving him credit. 3). He “rebuilt” the military, but didn’t get involved in any prolonged no-win wars.
What’s Trump’s appeal?
1. The economy. Just like Reagan, he wants to lower taxes and regulation, but he’s not an ideologue. So he’s not proposing any of the usual GOP schemes to “privatize” social security or anything like that. Like Reagan, he wants to shore it up.
2. ISIS and Islamic terrorism in general. Reagan set aside all the humanitarian concerns of the Carter administration and focused solely on Communism and winning the Cold War. Hew was more than happy to support right wing dictators as long as they were anti-Soviet. Similarly, Trump is calling out the liberal interventionists and neocons on their insane strategy to fight ISIS while also fighting their enemies Iran, Assad, and (almost unbelievably) Russia. ISIS is the one scaring American voters by cutting off people’s heads and blowing up Europeans. If Russia wants to fight them, then Trump says let the Russians fight them.
At the same time Trump wants stop letting Muslims into the USA until ISIS is brought under control. This may be blasphemy to Obama’s disciples. But to most Americans, particularly Republican primary voters, it sounds like common sense.
3. No more foreign quagmires. Reagan had actually supported the Vietnam War, but he and his handlers were smart enough to learn from their mistakes. So other than a weekend in the Caribbean, he refrained from sending US soldiers into combat. He did a lot of bad things, like supporting Bin Laden in Afghanistan, but there were no high-casualty, prolonged land wars on his watch. Trump is making it clear he has no intention of plunging the Military into any further wars of choice. The popularity of “peace through strength” seems to have made an impact on him.
Despite Reagan’s many faults, every president since has been light years worse when it comes to intervening overseas with costly military adventures.
Bush I: Panama, Gulf War, Somalia.
Clinton: Escalated Somalia, Balkan “peacekeeping,” Kosovo, Iraq sanctions.
Bush II: Afghanistan, Iraq II.
Obama; Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria.
They’ve also all taken part in expanding NATO and meddling in the affairs of Russia’s neighbors, ruining the peace that was achieved with the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Maybe Trump, who refuses to demonize Putin and is basically the most anti-Neocon candidate in the race, might just represent a return to normalcy on the international stage. I for one, would welcome it.