Archive for the ‘Trump’s foreign policy’ Category

Will Trump “lead from behind?”

July 18, 2016

Last night on 60 Minutes Trump reiterated his position that ISIS must be wiped out.  Leslie Stahl asked if he would send in American troops to accomplish this.  Trump immediately responded that he would not.  He insisted that NATO and other countries adjacent to Syria and Iraq would be engaged to accomplish this.

In an article in the New Yorker, April 26, 2011 Ryan Lizza first suggested that the phrase “leading from behind” might describe the policy being followed by President Obama, particularly in the Libyan situation.  Based on some statements of Nelson Mandela, Lizza described the heart of the idea as “empowerment of other actors to do your bidding, especially, when other nations would withhold their cooperation if the United States acted unilaterally.

Once Lizza linked this phrase to President Obama’s foreign policy, Republican conservatives jumped all over this phrase not only because for them it summed up the weakness of Obama in the foreign policy arena, but also suggested that Obama himself perceived the United States to be operating from a position of weakness.  To this day, the phrase is enthusiastically used by Obama’s critics.

But in suggesting that American troops should not be used to wipe out ISIS,  but that NATO and other countries should take on the major task of accomplishing this, is Trump not suggesting that the United States should “lead from behind?”  Will Republican critics be as quick to criticize Trump for this stance as they were to criticize President Obama?  And, by the way, “Who will pay for the wall between the US and Mexico?”  In this case, too, it appears that Trump is ready to lead from behind.

 

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