Originally posted July 7, 2016.
In TAC’s July/August cover story, TAC founding editor Scott McConnell tells readers, “In one form or another, this nationalist-versus-globalist division is being reproduced in almost every country in the West facing the pressure of working-class decline and mass immigration.”
Scott continues, “Trump is obviously part of this pan-Western nationalistic/populist wave, and may be the first to break through in a major Western country.” Below I give you a synopsis of TAC publisher and my Cato Institute-associated friend Jon Basil Utley’s excellent Trump and Washington’s Wars.
For all one’s doubts about Trump, his main appeal is that of restraining Washington’s war machine…. The establishment Republican leadership that Trump is challenging is virtually addicted to perpetual war, while Democrats are so afraid of being called wimpy that they too end up supporting more wars. Just consider how many nations Obama now bombs. Yet Hillary Clinton would be even worse; it was she who pushed Obama into attacking Libya and was an architect of his Syria policy….
Although Trump’s foreign-policy talk is all over the map, he dared to attack the Republican establishment’s consensus support for the Iraq War and, alone among major Republicans, talked of restraint in launching new wars….
Trump’s sheer joy for life, his instinct for “making deals” with enemies, and his desire for rapprochement with Russia would all check the establishment’s dangerous belligerence….
Trump’s threats towards Americans of non-European racial or cultural heritage may cost him the election, unless he is able to convince immigrants, women, and millennials—among all of whom his negative rating is overwhelming—that his policies, compared to Hillary’s, are worth the cost of his personality….
It’s important to remember that presidents are constrained by the separation of powers—except when it comes to starting wars. Congress and the courts would be a brake on his more extreme programs, including trade and immigration…. [Ed. note: In fact Utley contested Trump’s trade views in an earlier article online, Trump’s Trade Deficits.]
Even if a Trump win cost Republicans their Senate majority, that’s not entirely bad. Remember that the worst policies—think the Iraq War and Obamacare—often come about when one party controls both the presidency and Congress….
For all his drawbacks and the constitutional constraints that would limit his power, a President Trump could create some very positive policies:
- Cut defense spending for new wars.
- Demand more European sharing on NATO spending.
- Get Japan and Korea to pay for their own defense.
- Work on an Israel-Palestine settlement.
- Support the Iran nuclear agreement.
- Stop kowtowing to Saudi Arabia’s dictators.
Perhaps only Trump has the strength of will to cut the Gordian Knot in Washington. He may yet crash as a result of his chaotic management style….But today there is no doubt that he threatens the Beltway establishment—and that challenge is what most Americans want. Should he shock everyone by winning in November, we must trust our system of checks and balances to constrain his worst impulses.
I hope you will join me in supporting The American Conservative by becoming a TAC member. Membership starts at just $60 per year and comes with a free print or digital subscription (theamericanconservative.com/membership). Or you can join TAC’s inner circle by becoming a member of the Publisher’s Club, which is open to those who support TAC by giving $500 or more annually (theamericanconservative.com/pubclub). Together we can do our part to help The American Conservative increase its audience and influence.
Richard C. Young
Chairman, Young Research & Publishing Inc.