Trump has proven to the American people that they cannot trust him with the nuclear codes.Trump fails the commander-in-chief test. His judgement and knowledge of foreign policy and affairs is dangerous, plain and simple.
Plans To Alienate Key Allies
Among (many) other things, Trump appears to have little to no appreciation of diplomacy and the central importance of the United States’ relationships with its allies.
- Trump has not only floated that the United States should leave NATO, but even proposed setting up a protection racket under which the U.S. would force allies to “reimburse us the way we should be reimbursed” by threatening to withdraw troops should they not increase payments.
- Trump has similarly trashed the United Nations, calling it a “disaster” that “[w]e get nothing from.”
Ignorance On Foreign Affairs
OK, so Trump doesn’t understand the value and importance of alliances. Far worse, however, is his striking ignorance of current foreign affairs, which he’s continued to display at every turn. For example:
Lack Of Understanding On Nuclear Policy
Donald Trump is in favor of nuclear proliferation, and it gets worse from there.
Admiration For Dictatorial Leaders
Trump has frequently spoken highly of autocratic, “strongman” leaders.
- Trump expressed admiration for Kim Jong Un, saying “you’ve got to give him credit” because “he wiped out his uncle.”
- Trump has defended Vladimir Putin against allegations that he killed rival politicians and journalists: “Nobody has proven that he’s killed anyone. … He’s always denied it.”
- Trump also spoke highly of Putin, commenting: “He’s running his country and at least he’s a leader, unlike what we have in this country.”
- Trump has also complimented the Chinese government’s actions against Tienanmen Square student protesters: “[T]he Chinese government almost blew it. Then they were vicious, they were horrible, but they put it down with strength. That shows you the power of strength.”
Advocacy Of War Crimes
Trump supports torture and the execution of terrorists’ families.
- “You have to take out their families,” Trump’s said of terrorists’ families, a violation of the Geneva Convention.
- Unsurprisingly, Trump’s also objected to the Geneva Convention as a whole, calling it “the problem.”
Violent And Bizarre Foreign Policy Advisors
As concerning as Trump’s clear lack of preparedness and uneven temperament are the foreign policy advisers he’s decided to surround himself with:
- One top adviser, Ret. Gen. Joseph Schmitz, is a member of a Crusades-era militia who resigned from his position as Pentagon Inspector General under a cloud of ethical suspicion and defended mercenary company Blackwater after it massacred Iraqi civilians in 2007.
- Walid Phares, a second adviser, formerly advised Lebanese Christian warlord Samir Geagea. Geagea had run hit squads before leading the Lebanese Forces, which were known for their atrocities during the Lebanese Civil War.
- A third adviser graduated college in 2009 and listed his Model United Nations experience as a qualification on LinkedIn.
Trump Alienating Allies
Trump has repeatedly stated his opposition to longstanding American alliances, often deriding them as taking advantage of the United States and pledging to extort more money out of allies:
✓ Trump proposed abandoning key American alliances by threatening to pull out of NATO
✓ Trump advocated for demanding protection money from U.S. allies, threatening to withdraw troops from allied countries without increased payments to the U.S.
✓ Trump demeaned the United Nations, complaining that America gets “nothing” from it, and he discussed renegotiating America’s “one-sided” security agreement with Japan.
Trump Called NATO “Obsolete,” Considered Leaving It
Trump: “NATO Is Obsolete. We’re Spending Too Much Money On NATO.” Interview.Trump: My answers are NATO is obsolete. We’re spending too much money on NATO. We’re paying the lion’s share. We’re spending tremendous amounts of money on something that was many, many decades ago. And the world has changed. It’s a different place. There’s no emphasis on terror with NATO. And frankly, if there is, you need different countries because it involves different countries. NATO is very obsolete and it should be readjusted for change and frankly other people should also bear the brunt. Why are we paying so much? [Fox News’s FOX & Friends, 3/28/16]
Trump: “NATO’s Obsolete. We Could Change It, Rejigger It, Or Frankly If We Had To, Get Rid Of It.” Interview. Trump: We need to bring back our money. We need to stop paying so much money to NATO and worry about our forces because we’re taking care of all these countries that are getting in many cases a free ride. And I’m the only one that brought it up. I brought up NATO. It’s a free ride for so many of these countries. It’s a disgusting free ride. And frankly NATO’s obsolete. We could change it, rejigger it, or frankly if we had to, get rid of it because we’re paying billions and billions of dollars to protect countries that frankly do nothing for us, and they do nothing in terms of payment. [WROK’s Newstalk, 3/29/16]
Trump On Security Umbrellas: “We Get Nothing Out Of It.” Interview. Bollig: Don’t we get something out of that too though, Donald? When we have a true presence in these foreign countries – allies, on their land – we can keep an eye on maybe some unfriendly countries that they’re adjacent to? Trump: We get nothing out of it. In my opinion, we get very, very little out of it. What they should do is at least reimburse us or reimburse us properly in a proper amount. [Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor, 3/28/16]
Falsely Claimed Allies Paid “Nothing” For U.S. Protection
Trump Claimed U.S. Allies Did Not Pay For U.S. Protection, Proposed Forcing Them To Do So
Trump Called For Allies To Pay U.S. For Providing Protection: “We Have To Be Reimbursed, Substantially Reimbursed, I Mean, To A Point That’s Far Greater Than What We’re Being Paid Right Now.” According to The New York Times, “[TRUMP:] And I’m trying to figure out, why is it that we aren’t going in and saying, at a minimum, at a minimum it’s a two-part question, with respect to Maggie’s question. But why aren’t we going in and saying, ‘At a minimum, I’m sorry folks, but you have to, under no circumstances can we continue to do this.’ You know, we needed, we needed oil desperately years ago. Today, because – again, because of the new technologies, and because of places that we never thought had oil, and they do have oil, and there’s a glut on the market, there’s a tremendous glut on the market, I mean you have ships out at sea that are loaded up and they don’t even know where to go dump it. But we don’t have that same pressure anymore, at all. And we shouldn’t have that for a long period of time, because there’s so many places. I mean, they’re closing wells all over the place. So, I would say this, I would say at a minimum, we have to be reimbursed, substantially reimbursed, I mean, to a point that’s far greater than what we’re being paid right now. Because we’re not being reimbursed for the kind of tremendous service that we’re performing by protecting various countries.” [New York Times, 3/26/16]
Trump Said He Was “Willing” To Withdraw U.S. Troops From South Korea, Japan If They Did Not Increase Contribution To Paying For Troops: “I Would Not Do So Happily, But I Would Be Willing To Do So.” According to The New York Times, “HABERMAN: Would you be willing to withdraw U.S. forces from places like Japan and South Korea if they don’t increase their contribution significantly? TRUMP: Yes, I would. I would not do so happily, but I would be willing to do it. Not happily. David actually asked me that question before, this morning before we sort of finalized out. The answer is not happily but the answer is yes. We cannot afford to be losing vast amounts of billions of dollars on all of this. We just can’t do it anymore. Now there was a time when we could have done it. When we started doing it. But we can’t do it anymore. And I have a feeling that they’d up the ante very much. I think they would, and if they wouldn’t I would really have to say yes.” [New York Times, 3/26/16]
Trump Called For “Money Machine” Saudi Arabia To Reimburse The U.S. For Providing Protection, Because It Would Not “Be Around” Without U.S. According to The New York Times, “Now Saudi Arabia’s one of them. I think if Saudi Arabia was without the cloak of American protection of our country’s, of U.S. protection, think of Saudi Arabia. I don’t think it would be around. It would be, whether it was internal or external, it wouldn’t be around for very long. And they’re a money machine, they’re a monetary machine, and yet they don’t reimburse us the way we should be reimbursed. So that’s a real problem.” [New York Times, 3/26/16]
Trump On NATO Allies: “Either They Pay Up, Including For Past Deficiencies, Or They Have To Get Out. And If Breaks Up NATO, It Breaks Up NATO.” Trump: Many countries are not paying their fair share. Many many, of the 28, many many countries are not paying, most of them, but many countries are not paying their fair share. That means we are protecting them and they are getting all sorts of military protection and other things. And they’re ripping off the United States. And they’re ripping you off. I don’t care. I don’t want to do that. Either they pay up, including for past deficiencies, or they have to get out. And if breaks up NATO, it breaks up NATO. [Donald Trump Rally in Racine, 4/2/16]
Trump’s Claim About Americans Overpaying For NATO Rated False
Washington Post Fact Checker: “Trump’s Claims Of The U.S. Paying A Disproportionate Share, Or ‘A Lion’s Share,’ Are Wildly Exaggerated.” According to the Washington Post’s Fact Checker, “Here’s the full breakdown for the 2016-2017 budget period. (NSIP, one of three elements listed, refers to the NATO Security Investment Program). In 2012, the Congressional Research Service produced a report that looked at direct funding in detail. Despite Trump’s claim that the United States is spending ‘billions and billions’ on NATO, Defense Department budget documents show the annual direct contribution is under $500 million a year. […] By this metric, Trump’s claims of the U.S. paying a disproportionate share, or ‘a lion’s share,’ are wildly exaggerated. The U.S. pays the most, but not significantly more than the next country — and the formula for calculating the different shares is reasonable.” [Washington Post, 3/30/16]
Washington Post Fact Checker: Trump Awarded Three Pinocchios For “Certainly False” Claim About NATO Members Paying “Virtually Nothing.” According to the Washington Post’s Fact Checker, “To sum up, Trump is simply wrong on direct funding and is imprecise and possibly out of date on indirect funding. It’s certainly false to say that most of the other NATO members pay ‘virtually nothing.’ That results in a blended rating of between Two and Three Pinocchios. We tipped toward Three because he shouldn’t make such statements if his campaign is not prepared to explain them.” [Washington Post, 3/30/16]
Trump’s Claim That South Korea Does Not Pay United States For Troop Presence Rated False
2016: Trump’s Claim That “We Get Practically Nothing Compared To The Cost Of’ Keeping U.S. Military Forces In South Korea” Rated Mostly False, Since It Pays Over $800 Million Annually. According to PolitiFact, “Trump said, ‘We get practically nothing compared to the cost of’ keeping U.S. military forces in South Korea. Currently, South Korea pays well over $800 million annually to support the United States’ troop presence, an amount that doesn’t qualify as ‘practically nothing.’ And while Trump makes it sound like the United States’ willingness to pay the rest of the freight amounts to a gift to South Korea, he overlooks that the United States actually benefits significantly on a strategic level from the arrangement. We rate the claim Mostly False.” [PolitiFact, 1/10/16]
2011: Trump’s Claim That South Korea Does Not “Pay Us” Rated False, Since It Pays Hundreds Of Millions Of Dollars Annually. According to PolitiFact, “Trump’s statement that South Korea doesn’t ‘pay us’ is a sweeping statement that suggests they get U.S. protection for free. But in fact, they are paying the U.S. hundreds of millions of dollars a year. […] But Trump’s statement on The View is incorrect. South Korea has signed an agreement to cover labor, logistical and construction costs running into the hundreds of millions of dollars annually. That may or may not be a big enough payment, but Trump is wrong to suggest that South Korea bears no financial burden at all. We rate his statement False.” [PolitiFact, 4/1/11]
Trump Believed America Received No Benefit From United Nations
Trump: “We Get Nothing From The United Nations.” Interview. Trump: And I’m going to make sure that the United Nations, which is a disaster – they never give us anything. We get nothing from the United Nations. And look at the kind of cost that that is. Either it’s going to work for us, or what’s the purpose of us making the big payment? We make the big payment. Other people, take a look at what they pay for the United Nations. Some of them pay nothing. And we always seem to be on the wrong end of the rulings. And how often is the United Nations involved in disputes? You take a look at all of these disputes all over the world, do you ever see the United Nations getting in there and solving it? It’s just a political organization for themselves. [WROK’s Newstalk, 3/29/16]
Trump Considered Renegotiating “One-Sided” Security Agreement With Japan
Trump Thought The U.S.-Japan Security Agreement Was “One-Sided” And “A Real Problem.” According to The New York Times, “[Trump:] You know, one of the things with the, with our Japanese relationship, and I’m a big fan of Japan, by the way. I have many, many friends there. I do business with Japan. But, that, if we are attacked, they don’t have to do anything. If they’re attacked, we have to go out with full force. You understand. That’s a pretty one-sided agreement, right there. In other words, if we’re attacked, they do not have to come to our defense, if they’re attacked, we have to come totally to their defense. And that is a, that’s a real problem.” [New York Times, 3/26/16]
Trump Said He Would Consider Renegotiating U.S.-Japan Defense Treaty: “That’s Not A Fair Deal.” According to The New York Times, “SANGER: O.K.. We wanted to ask you a little bit, and Maggie maybe you may have something on this as well, about what standards you would use for using American troops abroad. You’ve said you wouldn’t want to send them in against ISIS, that that should be the neighbors. But you did say this morning that if we have a treaty obligation under NATO to protect the Baltics, you would do that. When you think of your standards under which you would put American lives… TRUMP: Well I think, I do think I’d want to renegotiate some of those treaties. I think those treaties are very unfair, and they’re very one-sided and I do think that some of those treaties, just like the Iran deal. But I think that some of those treaties would — will be — renegotiated. SANGER: Such as the U.S.-Japan defense treaty? TRUMP: Well, like Japan as an example. I mean that’s not a fair deal.” [New York Times, 3/26/16]
Trump Ignorant Of Foreign Affairs
Trump has repeatedly shown himself without a grasp of the basic foreign policy knowledge necessary to serve as president:
✓ Trump complained that Iran was purchasing goods from other countries besides the United States after signing its international nuclear deal, ignorant of the fact that the United States prohibited Iran from purchasing its goods.
✓ Trump was unable to distinguish the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s elite Quds Force – U.S.-designated supporters of terrorism – from the Kurdish ethnic group. He also failed to differentiate between the terrorist groups Hezbollah and Hamas.
✓ Trump has referred to his “very good brain” as a top foreign policy advisor.
✓ Trump claimed he learned about military and foreign policy from Sunday cable news shows.
Trump Did Not Know That Iran Was Prohibited From Purchasing American Goods
Trump Said It Was “Stupid” That The U.S. Gave Iran Money In Iran Deal But Did Not Allow Iran To Spend The Money In The U.S. According to The New York Times, “[TRUMP]: They are, they are now rich, and did you notice they’re buying from everybody but the United States? They’re buying planes, they’re buying everything, they’re buying from everybody but the United States. I would never have made the deal. SANGER: Our law prevents us from selling to them, sir. TRUMP: Uh, excuse me? SANGER: Our law prevents us from selling any planes or, we still have sanctions in the U.S. that would prevent the U.S. from being able to sell that equipment. TRUMP: So, how stupid is that? We give them the money, and we now say, ‘Go buy Airbus instead of Boeing,’ right? So how stupid is that? In itself, what you just said, which is correct by the way, but would they now go and buy, you know, they bought 118 approximately, 118 Airbus planes. They didn’t buy Boeing planes, O.K.? We give them the money, and we say you can’t spend it in the United States, and create wealth and jobs in the United States. And on top of it, they didn’t, they in theory, I guess, cannot do that, you know, based on what I’ve understood. They can’t do that. It’s hard to believe. We gave them $150 billion and they can’t spend it in our country.” [New York Times, 3/26/16]
When Informed By New York Times Reporter David Sanger That U.S. Law Prohibits Selling Products To Iran, Trump Said “Uh, Excuse Me?… So, How Stupid Is That?”According to The New York Times, “[TRUMP]: They are, they are now rich, and did you notice they’re buying from everybody but the United States? They’re buying planes, they’re buying everything, they’re buying from everybody but the United States. I would never have made the deal. SANGER: Our law prevents us from selling to them, sir. TRUMP: Uh, excuse me? SANGER: Our law prevents us from selling any planes or, we still have sanctions in the U.S. that would prevent the U.S. from being able to sell that equipment. TRUMP: So, how stupid is that?” [New York Times, 3/26/16]
Trump Would Not Say Whether Or Not He Would Lift Iranian Sanctions To Allow Iranians To Purchase American Goods. According to The New York Times, “SANGER: So you would lift the domestic sanctions so they could buy American goods TRUMP: Well, I wouldn’t have given them back the money. So I wouldn’t be in that position. I would never have given them back the – that would never be a part of the negotiation. I would have never, ever given it to them, and I would’ve made a better deal than they made, without the money, and I would’ve made a better deal.[…] Right, David, so I wouldn’t talk in terms of not buying because I would’ve never, ever given them the money. Go ahead.” [New York Times, 3/26/16]
Trump Confused The Quds Force With The Kurds
Trump Mixed Up Iran’s Quds Force With The Kurdish People. According to BuzzFeed, “Trump was unable to explain the difference between Hamas and Hezbollah and mixed up Iran’s Quds Force with Kurdish people in the interview with Hewitt, conducted on the same day that Trump signed a loyalty pledge with the Republican Party promising not to run as an independent. Hewitt told Trump he was going to ‘turn to some of the commander-in-chief questions’ and asked him about Qasem Soleimani, the the commander of the Quds Force, a special operations force of the IRGC. ‘He runs the Quds Forces,’ Hewitt said. ‘Yes, okay, right,’ Trump responded. ‘The Kurds, by the way, have been horribly mistreated by …’ ‘No, not the Kurds, the Quds Forces, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Quds Forces,’ Hewitt interjected.” [BuzzFeed, 9/3/15]
- 2007: U.S. Designated Quds Force As Material Supporters Of Terrorism.According to the United States Treasury Department, “Today, the Department of State designated under Executive Order 13382 two key Iranian entities of proliferation concern: the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC; aka Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps) and the Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL). Additionally, the Department of the Treasury designated for proliferation activities under E.O. 13382 nine IRGC-affiliated entities and five IRGC-affiliated individuals as derivatives of the IRGC, Iran’s state-owned Banks Melli and Mellat, and three individuals affiliated with Iran’s Aerospace Industries Organization (AIO). The Treasury Department also designated the IRGC-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) under E.O. 13224 for providing material support to the Taliban and other terrorist organizations, and Iran’s state-owned Bank Saderat as a terrorist financier.” [U.S. Treasury Department, 10/25/07]
Trump Could Not Differentiate Between Hamas And Hezbollah
Times Of Israel: Trump Could Not Differentiate Between Hamas And Hezbollah.According to the Times Of Israel, “Trump spoke with Hugh Hewitt, a popular conservative radio host, who asked the real estate mogul some ‘commander-in-chief questions’ about the region. When asked about the two militant groups, Trump said the difference between Hamas and Hezbollah does not matter to him yet. ‘[The difference] will [matter] when it’s appropriate,’Trump said. ‘I will know more about it than you know, and believe me, it won’t take long.’ Hamas is a Palestinian Islamist organization based in the Gaza Strip. Hezbollah is a Shiite Islamist militant group and political party based in Lebanon. Both are avowedly committed to Israel’s destruction.” [Times Of Israel, 9/5/15]
Trump Said He Got Advice From Sunday News Shows, His “Very Good Brain”
[Video] Trump Said He Got His Military Advice From The Sunday News Shows. “Chuck Todd: Who do you talk to for military advice right now? Donald Trump: Well, I watch the shows. I mean, I really see a lot of great– you know, when you watch your show and all of the other shows and you have the generals and– Todd: So you do the– Trump: And you have certain people that you like.” [“Meet the Press,” NBC, 8/16/15]
Trump On His Foreign Policy Advisors, 2016: “I’m Speaking With Myself, Number One, Because I Have A Very Good Brain And I’ve Said A Lot Of Things.” According to the Washington Examiner, “Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump finally named one of his foreign policy advisers: himself. ‘I’m speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain and I’ve said a lot of things,’ Trump said during a telephone interview on MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe’ Wednesday morning.” [Washington Examiner, 3/16/16]
Trump On His Policy Advisors, 2016: “I Speak To A Lot Of People, But My Primary Consultant Is Myself.” According to the Washington Examiner, “The billionaire businessman then cited his 2000 book The America We Deserve, in which he references Osama bin Laden prior to the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. ‘I know what I’m doing, and I listen to a lot of people, I talk to a lot of people, and at the appropriate time I’ll tell you who the people are,’ Trump said. ‘But I speak to a lot of people, but my primary consultant is myself, and I have a good instinct for this stuff,’ he added.” [Washington Examiner, 3/16/16]
Trump Wrong On Nuclear Policy
Trump’s views on the use of nuclear weapons and nuclear proliferation would upend decades of American strategy:
✓ When asked what he which leg of the nuclear triad he would prioritize, Trump failed to answer and said “for me, nuclear is just the power, the devastation is very important to me.”
✓ Trump believed the world may be safer if Japan and South Korea built their own nuclear arsenals to, in turn, threaten North Korea.
✓ Trump claimed that “our nuclear arsenal doesn’t work.”
Trump Failed To Answer Question On Nuclear Triad
When Asked Which Leg Of Nuclear Triad He Would Prioritize, Trump Said: “I Think, For Me, Nuclear Is Just The Power, The Devastation Is Very Important To Me.” According to a transcript of the December 16th, 2015 Republican presidential debate produced by TIME Magazine, “HEWITT: Of the three legs of the triad, though, do you have a priority? I want to go to Senator Rubio after that and ask him. TRUMP: I think — I think, for me, nuclear is just the power, the devastation is very important to me.” [TIME Magazine, 12/15/15]
Washington Post’s The Fix: “Trump Clearly Had No Idea What The Nuclear Triad Was.”According to a The Fix post on The Washington Post, “He just couldn’t keep it up for the whole debate. Trump showed his thin skin when, under attack from Jeb, he dismissed the Florida governor with this polling slam: ‘I’m at 42 and you’re at 3.’ Later in the debate, Trump clearly had no idea what the nuclear triad was and, in a transparent attempt to cover his tracks, resorted to his ‘we need to be so strong’ crutch.” [Washington Post – The Fix, 12/15/15]
Rolling Stone On Trump’s Answer To Nuclear Triad Question: “He Doesn’t Understand Even The Most Basic Premise Of A Relatively Simple Question.” According to Rolling Stone, “Donald Trump and I have something in common: When right-wing radio host Hugh Hewitt asked the GOP frontrunner about America’s nuclear triad at Tuesday night’s debate, neither of us had heard that phrase before. […] The problem isn’t simply that Trump doesn’t have detailed plans to make sure our nuclear weapons are safely maintained. The problem is that he doesn’t understand even the most basic premise of a relatively simple question. He couldn’t muster a ‘I’ll make sure we have the most modern, best nuclear arsenal the world has ever seen,’ because he didn’t know what he was being asked.” [Rolling Stone, 12/16/15]
Trump Considered Supporting Japan, South Korea As Nuclear Powers
Trump On Japan And South Korea: “Maybe They Would Be Better Off […] With Nukes.”Interview. Trump: It’s not like, gee whiz, nobody has them. So, North Korea has nukes. Japan has a problem with that. I mean, they have a big problem with that. Maybe they would in fact be better off if they defend themselves from North Korea. Wallace: With nukes? Trump: Maybe they would be better off — including with nukes, yes, including with nukes. Wallace: In South Korea, with nukes? Trump: South Korea is right next door, just so you understand. [Fox NewsSunday w/ Chris Wallace:, 4/3/16]
Trump: “At Some Point We Have To Say, You Know What, We’re Better Off If Japan Protects Itself Against This Maniac In North Korea, We’re Better Off, Frankly, If South Korea Is Going To Start To Protect Itself.” Town Hall. Cooper: So you have no problem with Japan and South Korea having… Trump: I thought… Cooper: … nuclear weapons. Trump: At some point we have to say, you know what, we’re better off if Japan protects itself against this maniac in North Korea, we’re better off, frankly, if South Korea is going to start to protect itself, we have… [CNN’s Town Hall, 3/29/16]
Position Lampooned By Arms Control Experts
Dartmouth’s Jennifer Lind On Trump’s Comments Considering Support For Japan, South Korea To Acquire Nuclear Weapons: “With One Blasé Comment, This Entire Foundation Of US Grand Strategy Is Just Blasted Away.” According to Vox, “Of all the outrageous things Donald Trump has said, his proposal to withdraw US military support from Japan and South Korea, and even encourage them to acquire nuclear weapons, might not sound particularly egregious. But this would be a big deal, overturning 70 years of American foreign policy with potentially sweeping implications. ‘This is basically like, ‘Hey, maybe we should think about communism,’’ Jennifer Lind, a professor at Dartmouth who studies East Asia, tells me. ‘With one blasé comment, this entire foundation of US grand strategy is just blasted away.’” [Vox, 3/31/16]
Arms Control Association’s Kingston Reif: “If South Korea And Japan Were To Acquire Their Own Nuclear Deterrents, That Would Send An Incredibly Dangerous Signal To Our Allies In The Middle East.” According to Business Insider, “Kingston Reif, the director for disarmament and threat-reduction policy at the Arms Control Association, made a similar point. ‘If South Korea and Japan were to acquire their own nuclear deterrents, that would send an incredibly dangerous signal to our allies in the Middle East,’ he told Business Insider. ‘It would be incredibly destabilizing development,’ he added.” [Business Insider, 3/30/16]
Arms Control Association’s Kingston Reif: China Would Likely Accelerate Its Nuclear Modernization, Increase Arsenal Size If South Korea And Japan Acquired Nuclear Weapons. According to Business Insider, “China’s ‘doctrine regarding when it might employ nuclear weapons might be described as one of minimum deterrence,’ [Kingston Reif, the director for disarmament and threat-reduction policy at the Arms Control Association] said. ‘China right now is believed to have no more than 300 total nuclear weapons, which is a small arsenal relative to what the US and Russia possess.’ He continued: But in the event that South Korea and Japan acquire independent nuclear weapons, it’s highly likely that China would revisit its minimum deterrence posture and likely accelerate its ongoing nuclear modernization efforts and consider increasing the overall size of its nuclear arsenal.” [Business Insider,3/30/16]
Trump Falsely Claimed America’s Nuclear Arsenal “Doesn’t Work.”
[Video] Trump Claimed “Our Nuclear Arsenal Doesn’t Work.” “Our enemies are getting stronger and stronger by the way, and we as a country are getting weaker. Even our nuclear arsenal doesn’t work. It came out recently they have equipment that is 30 years old. They don’t know if it worked. … Boy, does that send signals to Putin that they don’t know what they’re doing.” [Donald Trump, Presidential Campaign Announcement, New York, NY 6/16/15]
- PolitiFact Rated Trump’s Claims About The Nuclear Arsenal “False.” [PolitiFact,6/18/15]
Trump Leaning Towards Dictatorship
Trump’s consistent admiration for other countries’ “strongman” dictators, as well as his disregard for international law, posses an active challenge to American values:
✓ Trump has praised foreign dictators for their strength, offering his admiration for North Korea’s Kim Jon Un for murdering his family, Russia’s Vladimir Putin for being “a leader,” and Chinese leaders during the Tiananmen Square atrocity. He also criticized Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev for not ruling the Soviet Union with a “firm enough hand” in the 1980s.
✓ Trump called the Geneva Convention a “problem” and had pledged to order the U.S. military to violate the Convention to carry out his commands until he reversed his position and pledged to abide by the law.
✓ Trump supported the execution of terrorists’ families.
Trump Admires, Praises Foreign Dictators
2016: Praised Kim Jong Un, Said “You’ve Got To Give Him Credit” For Murdering His Uncle
Trump On North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, 2016: “It’s Incredible. He Wiped Out The Uncle. He Wiped Out This One, That One. I Mean, This Guy Doesn’t Play Games.” According to Business Insider, “The Republican presidential front-runner said Kim [Jong Un]’s willingness to push aside generals and ‘wipe out’ his uncle demonstrated why the US needs to treat North Korea’s nuclear arsenal as a serious threat. ‘And all of a sudden — and you know it’s pretty amazing when you think of it — how does he do that? Even though it is a culture and it’s a cultural thing, he goes in, he takes over, and he’s the boss,’ Trump recalled. ‘It’s incredible. He wiped out the uncle. He wiped out this one, that one. I mean, this guy doesn’t play games. And we can’t play games with him. Because he really does have missiles. And he really does have nukes.’” [Business Insider, 1/9/16]
- [Video] Trump Said Kim Jung Un Was “A Maniac,” But “You’ve Got To Give Him Credit” For Mudering His Uncle And Seizing Power. “If you look at North Korea, this guy, I mean, he’s like a maniac, OK? And you’ve got to give him credit. How many young guys — he was like 26 or 25 when his father died — take over these tough generals. He goes in, he takes over, and he’s the boss. It’s incredible. He wiped out the uncle. He wiped out this one, that one. I mean, this guy doesn’t play games. And we can’t play games with him. Because he really does have missiles. And he really does have nukes.” [Donald Trump, Rally, Ottumwa, IA, 1/9/16]
2015: Defended Putin Against Accusations That He Murdered Journalists, Political Opponents
Trump On Putin, 2015: “At Least He’s A Leader, Unlike What We Have In This Country.”According to CNN, “Donald Trump on Friday praised Vladimir Putin and appeared to defend the autocratic Russian president when pressed about his alleged killing of journalists and political opponents critical of his rule. One day after Putin called Trump a ‘bright and talented’ and the ‘absolute leader of the presidential race,’ the Republican presidential front-runner returned the compliments, hailing Putin as a ‘leader’ and pointing to his high favorability numbers in Russia. ‘He’s running his country and at least he’s a leader, unlike what we have in this country,’ Trump said when asked by ‘Morning Joe’ Republican host Joe Scarborough about Putin’s alleged killing of journalists and political opponents.” [CNN, 12/18/15]
Trump On Allegations That Putin Assassinated Politicians, Journalists: “It’s Never Been Proven That He’s Killed Anybody.” According to the Washington Post, “Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump defended Russian President Vladimir Putin against accusations that he has assassinated political adversaries and journalists, responding to criticism from his rivals over his embrace of praise from the Russian leader. ‘Nobody has proven that he’s killed anyone. … He’s always denied it. It’s never been proven that he’s killed anybody,’ Trump said on ABC’s ‘This Week’ on Sunday. ‘You’re supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, at least in our country. It has not been proven that he’s killed reporters.’” [Washington Post, 12/20/15]
Trump On Allegations Putin Killed Journalists, 2015: “Do You Know The Names Of The Reporters That He’s Killed? Because I’ve Been – You Know, You’ve Been Hearing This, But I Haven’t Seen The Names.” According to NBC News, “The Republican front-runner Donald Trump on Sunday pushed back on the notion that Russian President Vladimir Putin has killed journalists, saying that it’s ‘terrible’ if it’s happened but he hasn’t seen proof that it has. ‘In all fairness to Putin, you’re saying he killed people. I haven’t seen that. I don’t know that he has. Have you been able to prove that? Do you know the names of the reporters that he’s killed? Because I’ve been – you know, you’ve been hearing this, but I haven’t seen the names,’ Trump said on ABC.” [NBC News, 12/20/15]
1990: Praised China’s Treatment Of Tiananmen Square Students
Trump On Chinese Government At Tiananmen Square, 1990: “They Were Vicious, They Were Horrible, But They Put It Down With Strength. That Shows You The Power Of Strength.” According to Playboy, “[TRUMP:] That’s my problem with Gorbachev. Not a firm enough hand. PLAYBOY: You mean firm hand as in China? TRUMP: When the students poured into Tiananmen Square, the Chinese government almost blew it. Then they were vicious, they were horrible, but they put it down with strength. That shows you the power of strength. Our country is right now perceived as weak….as being spit on by the rest of the world” [Playboy, 3/1/90]
1990: Disliked Gorbachev For Not Having “Firm Enough Hand”
Trump, 1990: Soviet Union Will Soon Undergo Revolution; “That’s My Problem With Gorbachev. Not A Firm Enough.” According to Playboy, “PLAYBOY: What were your other impressions of the Soviet Union? TRUMP: I was very unimpressed. Their system is a disaster. What you will see there soon is a revolution; the signs are all there with the demonstrations and picketing. Russia is out of control and the leadership knows it. That’s my problem with Gorbachev. Not a firm enough hand.” [Playboy, 3/1/90]
Trump Advocates For War Crimes As Key Elements Of Foreign Policy
Trump Pushed For Execution Of Terrorists’ Families
Trump On Terrorists, 2015: “You Have To Take Out Their Families.” According to the National Review, “On Fox and Friends this morning Trump talked about ISIS and was asked about civilian casualties. ‘We’re fighting a very politically correct war,’ he said. ‘The other thing is with the terrorists, you have to take out their families. When you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families. They care about their lives, don’t kid yourself, but they say they don’t care about their lives. So you have to take out their families.’” [National Review, 12/2/15]
- [Video] Trump: “With The Terrorists, You Have To Take Out Their Families.”“We’re fighting a very politically correct war. And the other thing is with the terrorists, you have to take out their families. They, they care about their lives. Don’t kid yourself. But they say they don’t care about their lives. You have to take out their families.” [“Fox and Friends,” Fox News, 12/2/15]
Trump, 2015: Terrorists “May Not Care Much About Their Lives, But They Do Care, Believe It Or Not, About Their Families’ Lives.” According to a transcript of the December 16th, 2015 Republican presidential debate produced by TIME Magazine, Donald Trump said, “Frankly, that will make people think because they may not care much about their lives, but they do care, believe it or not, about their families’ lives” [TIME Magazine, 12/15/15]
Actions Would Constitute War Crimes, Violate Geneva Convention
Politifact Headline, 2015: “Geneva Conventions Bar Donald Trump’s Idea Of Killing Terrorists’ Families, As Rand Paul Says.” [PolitiFact, 12/17/15]
Politifact, 2015: “A Range Of Experts In International Law Agreed That At Least Two Elements Of The Geneva Convention Would Contravene A Policy Of Killing Family Members Of Terrorists.” According to PolitiFact, “A range of experts in international law agreed that at least two elements of the Geneva Convention would contravene a policy of killing family members of terrorists, and that the United States has demonstrated a commitment to adhering to both provisions.” [PolitiFact, 12/17/15]
Former Counter-Terrorism Expert For Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu On Trump Comments, 2015: “Any Deliberate Attacks Aimed Against Civilians Is A War Crime, Regardless If They Are Family Members Of Terrorists Or Presidents Or Presidential Candidates.” According to CNN, “A leading Israeli counter-terrorism expert says Donald Trump’s call to ‘take out’ the families of terrorists would run afoul of international law and degrade the moral standing of the U.S. ‘Any deliberate attacks aimed against civilians is a war crime, regardless if they are family members of terrorists or presidents or presidential candidates,’ said Boaz Ganor, a former consultant to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. ‘Adopting this policy is immoral and against the common liberal democratic values,’ added Ganor, the founder and executive director of the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism in Israel. ‘Deliberate attacks against the terrorist families is blurring the moral differences between the terrorist organizations and the state which is fighting terrorism. This by itself might benefit the terrorists which are trying to claim that they are fighting a moral war against relentless and immoral entity.’” [CNN, 12/3/15]
Trump Called Geneva Convention “Problem”
Trump: “The Problem Is We Have The Geneva Conventions.” Rally. Trump: We can’t waterboard, but they can chop off heads. They can drown people, fifty people in a cage, a big steel cage right? But we can’t waterboard. I think we’ve got to make some changes, some adjustments. Because you know what, if we’re not going to play… The problem is we have the Geneva Conventions, we have all sorts of rules and regulations, so the soldiers are afraid to fight. They don’t want to go to jail because they’re killing the enemy. They were too tough. [Donald Trump Rally In Appleton, 3/30/16]
Trump: “The Problem Is We Have The Geneva Convention, All Sorts Of Rules And Regulations, So The Soldiers Are Afraid To Fight.” According to Politico, “Donald Trump believes American troops are afraid to fight for fear of violating the Geneva Conventions, he said Wednesday. ‘The problem is we have the Geneva Conventions, all sorts of rules and regulations, so the soldiers are afraid to fight,’ Trump said at an afternoon town hall during remarks on torture. ‘We can’t waterboard, but they can chop off heads,’ Trump said, referring to the United States and the Islamic State, respectively. ‘I think we’ve got to make some changes, some adjustments.’” [Politico, 3/30/16]
Trump Pledged To Order Military To Violate Geneva Convention Before Changing His Mind
Trump Defended His Plan To Violate International Laws, Claiming “When I Say They’ll Do As I Tell Them, They’ll Do As I Tell Them.” According to NBC News, “Pressed at a debate on March 3 over whether the American military would obey his order to violate international laws and the Geneva Convention to do such things, Trump insisted they’d listen to him, despite condemnation from military leaders and conservatives. ‘Frankly, when I say they’ll do as I tell them, they’ll do as I tell them,’ he said.” [NBC News, 3/30/16]
One Day Later, He Said He Would Not Order Military Officials To Break Those Laws After All. According to NBC News, “He then reversed this position the very next day, on March 4, in a statement to the Wall Street Journal, saying he ‘will not order military or other officials to violate those laws and will seek their advice on such matters.’” [NBC News, 3/30/16]
Trump’s Bizarre, Violent Foreign Policy Advisors
As someone with no political experience, much less foreign policy experience, Donald Trump would naturally rely on his cadre of foreign policy advisors as president. The violent, xenophobic, and ethically challenged people he has chosen to advise him are deeply concerning:
✓ One top Trump foreign policy advisors, Ret. Gen. Joseph Schmitz, is a member of a Crusades-era militia who resigned from his position as Pentagon Inspector General under a cloud of ethical suspicion and defended mercenary company Blackwater after it massacred Iraqi civilians in 2007.
✓ Another top Trump foreign policy advisor, Walid Phares, formerly advised Lebanese Christian warlord Samir Geagea. Geagea had run hit squads before leading the Lebanese Forces, which were known for their atrocities during the Lebanese Civil War.
✓ When Trump first announced his foreign policy team in March 2016, none of its members had ever spoken to Trump, and he could not pronounce their names correctly.
Pro-Crusades Trump Advisor Joseph Schmitz Was Disgraced Former Pentagon Investigator General Who Later Defended Blackwater Civilian Massacre
March 2016: Trump Named Retired Gen. Joseph Schmitz As Member Of His Foreign Policy Advisor Team. According to the BBC, “Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has revealed the first members of his foreign policy team. The advisers include academics and former military officers with expertise on the Middle East and energy issues. Mr Trump told the Washington Post that he would name more advisers in the coming days. Several of his advisers have served as experts for other Republican presidential candidates such as Mitt Romney and Ben Carson. On Monday, Mr Trump named retired Lt Gen Keith Kellogg, Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, Walid Phares and retired Gen Joseph Schmitz.” [BBC, 3/21/16]
Ethically Challenged Pentagon Watchdog
Newsweek, 2016: Joseph E. Schmitz “Was Forced Out Of His Job As The Pentagon’s Top Watchdog A Decade Ago Amid Accusations That He Protected Top Officials In The George W. Bush Administration Suspected Of Wrongdoing.” According to Newsweek, “Joseph E. Schmitz, named by Donald Trump as a key foreign policy adviser on Monday, was forced out of his job as the Pentagon’s top watchdog a decade ago amid accusations that he protected top officials in the George W. Bush administration suspected of wrongdoing. Trump, the Republican front-runner for the presidential candidacy, named Schmitz as one of his five top foreign policy advisers during an editorial meeting at The Washington Post on Mondaymorning. The group will be chaired by Republican Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama.” [Newsweek, 3/21/16]
LA Times, 2005: “Schmitz Slowed Or Blocked Investigations Of Senior Bush Administration Officials, Spent Taxpayer Money On Pet Projects And Accepted Gifts That May Have Violated Ethics Guidelines.” According to Newsweek, “‘Schmitz slowed or blocked investigations of senior Bush administration officials, spent taxpayer money on pet projects and accepted gifts that may have violated ethics guidelines, according to interviews with current and former senior officials in the inspector general’s office, congressional investigators and a review of internal e-mail and other documents,’ The Los Angeles Times reported in 2005.” [Newsweek, 3/21/16]
Member Of Crusades-Era Militia
Schmitz Was Member Of Sovereign Military Order Of Malta, An 11th Century Christian Militia And Holy Order Dedicated To Defending “Territories That The Crusaders Had Conquered From The Muslims.” According to Newsweek, “Scahill also reported in his 2008 book Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army that on his official biography, Schmitz proudly listed his membership in the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, ‘a Christian militia formed in the eleventh century, before the first Crusades, with the mission of defending ‘territories that the Crusaders had conquered from the Muslims.’’” [Newsweek,3/21/16]
Defended Blackwater After Civilian Massacre
Newsweek On Schmitz: “When He Resigned As Inspector General, He Took A Job With The Parent Company Of Blackwater USA, The Controversial Defense Contractor Whose Operatives Killed 17 Civilians And Wounded 20 In Baghdad In 2007.” According to Newsweek, “But that wasn’t the end of controversy surrounding Schmitz, whose job put him in charge of eliminating waste, fraud and abuse in Pentagon programs. When he resigned as inspector general, he took a job with the parent company of Blackwater USA, the controversial defense contractor whose operatives killed 17 civilians and wounded 20 in Baghdad in 2007.” [Newsweek, 3/21/16]
Newsweek: Schmitz On Blackwater Massacre Of Iraq Civilians, 2008: Lawsuits Against Blackwater Should Not Go Forward In The United States Because The Shootings Took Place In Iraq, Where Islamic Sharia Law Predominates. According to Newsweek, “But that wasn’t the end of controversy surrounding Schmitz, whose job put him in charge of eliminating waste, fraud and abuse in Pentagon programs. When he resigned as inspector general, he took a job with the parent company of Blackwater USA, the controversial defense contractor whose operatives killed 17 civilians and wounded 20 in Baghdad in 2007. In 2008 Schmitz argued that lawsuits against Blackwater should not go forward in the United States because the shootings took place in Iraq, where Islamic sharia law predominates, according to a report by Jeremy Scahill in The Nation magazine.” [Newsweek, 3/21/16]
Trump Hired Walid Phares, Islamophobe And Former Advisor To Arab Warlord Who Ran Hit Squads, As Top Foreign Policy Advisor
March 2016: Trump Named Walid Phares As Member Of His Foreign Policy Advisor Team. According to the BBC, “Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has revealed the first members of his foreign policy team. The advisers include academics and former military officers with expertise on the Middle East and energy issues. Mr Trump told the Washington Post that he would name more advisers in the coming days. Several of his advisers have served as experts for other Republican presidential candidates such as Mitt Romney and Ben Carson. On Monday, Mr Trump named retired Lt Gen Keith Kellogg, Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, Walid Phares and retired Gen Joseph Schmitz.” [BBC, 3/21/16]
Walid Phares Served As Top Adviser To Christian Warlord Samir Geagea And His Christian Militia That Ran Hit Squads During Lebanese Civil War. According to Newsweek, “Another new Trump foreign policy adviser, Walid Phares, is connected to anti-Muslim sentiments and causes. A Lebanese Christian, Phares served as a top adviser to a Christian militia blamed for atrocities during the Lebanese Civil War, according to investigative reporter Adam Serwer. ‘He was also a close adviser to Samir Geagea, a Lebanese warlord who rose from leading hit squads to running the Lebanese Forces,’ Serwer wrote for Mother Jones magazine in 2011. At the time, Phares was a counterterrorrism adviser in Republican Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign.” [Newsweek, 3/21/16]
Trump’s Newly Named Advisor, Walid Phares, Previously Received Criticism For His Blunt Islamophobic Rhetoric. According to The New York Times, “Perhaps the most prominent of the group is Mr. Phares, who is regularly accused by Muslim civil rights groups of being Islamophobic and of fear-mongering about the spread of Sharia law. He took to Fox News on Tuesday to discuss the terrorist attacks in Brussels and warned, ‘Basically we don’t know who’s jihadist and who’s not’ but would not say what advice he has been giving the campaign.” [New York Times, 3/22/16]
Trump Did Not Know Who His Foreign Policy Advisors Were, Had Not Met With Them Before Hiring Them
March 2016: None Of The Named Trump Advisors Had Not Spoken To Trump Himself.According to The New York Times, “And others could say little about how they were helping Mr. Trump. None have spoken to their new boss.” [New York Times, 3/22/16]
Trump Misstated The Last Name Of His Foreign Policy Advisor Bert Mizusawa During Interview With The New York Times. According to The New York Times, “TRUMP: We have some others that I really like a lot and we’re going to put them in. Maj. Gen. Gary Harrell. Maj. Gen. Bert Mizuwawa. (Ed. note: It’s Mizusawa.)” [New York Times, 3/26/16]
Trump On His Foreign Policy Advisor Read Adm. Chuck Kubic: “Very Good, Nice, Supposedly.” According to The New York Times, “HABERMAN: These are the additional ones? TRUMP: Rear Adm. Chuck Kubic. Yeah. He’s Navy, retired. Very good, nice, supposedly.” [New York Times, 3/26/16]
Published: May 10, 2016