America’s Cycles of Change

Plenty of Reasons to Still Worry about Trump’s Foreign Policy Team

Wed, 30 November 2016

As I write, President-elect Donald Trump appears to be turning towards picking General David Petraeus as his Secretary of State rather than former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Both men are likely to be very hawkish on Russia.

Petraeus has accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of trying to recreate a gigantic Russian Empire across Eurasia. He has supported a no fly zone in Syria despite the risks of conflict that would inevitably generate between the United States and Russia.

Petraeus has also repeatedly made clear he sees US competition with Russia across the Middle East as a zero-sum game. No working together with Moscow to combat ISIS and al-Qaeda for him.

Romney had the entire Bill Kristol-Charles Krauthammer- Podhoretz and Kagan clans of neocon intriguers all lined up quietly and confidently behind him, ready to sweep in and take over the organs of power had he won in 2012.

Had Romney won in 2012, or John McCain in 2008, the entire Northern Hemisphere of the Earth might be nothing more than radioactive dust today.

Any pick of Petraeus – or of Romney – would be a potentially mortal wound to hopes of winding the Doomsday Clock of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists back from the Three Minutes to Midnight it currently displays as a warning of the imminent possibility of thermonuclear Armageddon.

Of the likely available choices for Secretary of State, I would far prefer Newt Gingrich or Rudy Giuliani – both strong American nationalists with an intellectual independent ability to weight up evidence and trust the conclusions of their own minds.

It was Giuliani’s independence of mind that made him anathema for the power brokers of the Republican Party and their neocon court of armchair warriors back in 2000. They all far preferred the unlimited stupidity and malleability of George W. Bush.

Easily the best and most qualified candidate as Secretary of State – both to fight Islamist terror around the world and build a new era of security and cooperation with Russia would be Representative Dana Rohrabacher of California. But he does not appear to be on Trump’s radar screen for any top level national security or foreign policy appointment.

In his keynote foreign policy speech at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington in April 2016, Trump showed an admirable awareness of the need to defuse nuclear tensions with the superpowers.

His post-election victory phone conversations with President Putin and with President Xi Jinping in Beijing were further welcome confirmations of the adult, serious perspective he brings to these most fundamental issues.

However, all this vision and wisdom could still be lost if Trump casually hands off control of foreign policy to an uncontrollable firebrand like Romney or Petraeus. John Bolton would be unimaginably worse.

The paucity of politically presentable picks for Secretary of State available to Trump reflects the degree to which the Republican Party, since the accession of the awful George W. Bush, has fallen into the hands of simplistic ideological idiots and insanely reckless warmongers who pose a risk to the entire human race.