in General

The Trump Doctrine: Donald Trump and the United States of Talking Points

Donald Trump’s current “will he, or won’t he” campaign for the upcoming 2010 United States Presidential election has many people wondering whether this time he will actually run for office.

Assuming he does run, you can bet money that he will use the “Obama, You’re fired!” line at the debates. There’s no doubt the placards will cover that line, and he’ll use that as his strap-line for his election campaign.

However, many political commentators and astute Reddit readers have pointed out that Trump has a habit of running “will he, or won’t he” campaigns in the recent past. Indeed, this will be his third such run.

For many though, this is just another Trump PR exercise, a rating’s push for his TV show, “The Apprentice” (United States version).

There is no doubt that Trump is an astute businessman with keen show-man like qualities that help promote the Trump brand. However, watching the various interviews of Trump on the Internet, I cannot help thinking that Trump is not politically astute enough to be President of the United States.

“Trade wars”

Case in point, his “25% tax on all imported goods on Chinese products” (CNN)

Trump claims that with the right messenger, China would come to the table and stop their practice of currency manipulation.

However, what would stop China turning this 25% import tax into a full scale trade war? And even if China calls Trump’s bluff, what will he do? Raise it to 30%, 40%, go to war?

What’s to prevent China asking for faster debt repayment in exchange of a reduced currency manipulation?

Let’s assume China’s currency manipulation is halted and there is an equilibrium which is reflected in the cost of goods/production; would this mean the 25% tax would be revoked?

And if it were to be “revoked” and there is an equilibrium in the valuation of China’s currency; it’d still be cheaper to produce goods in China; and if not there it’ll be cheaper to produce goods or farm the jobs out to countries such as Vietnam, Indonesia, Bangladesh, etc?

This leads to the question of whether this 25% tax really is a guise for American protectionism of goods, prices and labor costs. Is this really what Trump is advocating?

Trump also claims is that China is stealing all of America’s jobs, and that “we” (America) is rebuilding China and that a 25% tax would somehow attract companies and jobs back to America.

I’m really not sure how that works. How does putting a 25% tax on all products from China suddenly mean the jobs lost to China et al would return to America? There is no guarantee that’ll happen, if at all.

Indeed, why wouldn’t these companies simply move to another country like India, etc? Unless Trump is suggesting he’ll put a 25% tax on any product made outside of the USA?

“We should be screwing them…”

In a recent conversation with Fox News, Trump cited how he rented the Libyan President, Khaddifi, “a piece of land” and then screwed him on the deal and then said that’s what they (the USA) should be doing to them (Libya).

Firstly, I’m not sure if he really meant to say he has quite happily screwed people out of money (in a Youtube video Trump says he gave the money to charity), and secondly I’m not even sure if Trump realizes the full implication of a statement such as “we should be screwing them”.

The implication of this, is that Trump’s foreign policy will be based off who they can screw, a very frightening approach that will not furnish the kind of trust that is so desperately needed in the Middle East.

“Blood for Oil?”

Trump has stated to CNN and other media outlets that he would take Iraq’s oil, Libya’s oil, and in the case of Iraq – it would make us (the USA) a fortune (ibtimes)

Adding, “you know in the old days you’d win a war and to the victor’s go the spoils.” (ABCNews)

Seriously? Is Trump really legitimatising “pillage” so long as you get “the spoils”?

What’s worse is that if Trump’s America did “win the spoils”, it wouldn’t be her (America) that’d win the spoils as it has no nationalized resources (like Norway), rather it’d be in the hands of American plutocrats, and oligarchs.

Trump says he’d use the oil to pay off the debt (Medialite); so maybe Trump is actually saying he’d setup a nationalized resources? Who knows?

In the case of Libya, Britain and France both had long contracts for the oil in that respective country. So, if Trump is serious about “the victor’s go the spoils”, he’d be causing an issue with America’s own allies; if not the corporations being represented by those respective countries.

Is a war for “American oil companies vs UK oil companies” over rights to Libyan (or indeed anyone’s oil) really going to appeal to the American voting public, a public already weary of war?

Questioned about “How it would it impact our relationship with other Arab nations”, Trump responds…. ” Who cares? They’ve been taking advantage of us for years” (

What of the dignity of the Arab people to choose what happens to their oil? Both Iraq and Libya have nationalized resources (perhaps less so Iraq); but according to Trump it’s tough luck because America needs to be compensated for the “spoils” of war.

Also, if Trump is legitimizing “to the victor goes the spoils”, does that mean he wouldn’t have acted against Germany in the thirties because of “to victor goes the spoils”? What about Rwanda, would “to the victor go the spoils” really a legitimate reason for not to act?

I would even suspect America’s own Revolutionary war would not even have been waged if Trump were in power of the colonists because he’d cite “to victor goes the spoils”.

Indeed, what happens if other countries start behaving in accordance to Trump’s idea? For example, there is a multi-national agreement over the continent of Antarctica; would Trump lead a war over Antarctica for its resources?

Seriously, the whole thing is screwed up and there is so much fundamentally wrong with his entire view on Iraq, oil and waging wars on resources. I’m not even sure why he’s not challenged on it at all by the media in America.

Finally, what message does the “victor’s go the spoils” sends to the American troops based in those countries? Are we to read into his message that under Trump’s Presidency, the American troops will become nothing more than the armed extension of the plutocrats and oligarchs?

“Death from above”

In a recent interview with Time, when asked would President Trump take the United States out of Afghanistan, he responded

“Well, nothing’s simple. Because I don’t believe in foot soldiers. They get blown up on streets. But I do believe in airplanes that are 50,000 feet up […] I’m not gonna have soldiers walking down on the street and get blown up and get shot at by snipers and killed, so we have to call the parents and say, “Your son was just killed on a street in Afghanistan.” But those people will have a lot more problems with me than they’re having right now. But I do it through the air and we’re not gonna have casualties.” (Time)

Sorry but you’re going have casualties. The campaigns of Iraq, Afghanistan and now Libya are testament to this. Indeed, the current Libyan conflict has no troops on the ground (well not officially anyway) and uses air power. But even this is causing casualties.

It is a strange duality that in one instance a President Trump would not have boots on the ground, but would use air power; but in the case of Iraq (or wherever there is natural resources that would benefit the United States) then the troops would go, and stay, probably indefinitely.

What’s weird about the whole take all Iraq’s oil deal is that the Iraqi campaign was an invasion, (or liberation); so who on their side is going to accept a deal which would remove 50% (or more) of its natural resources? It simply doesn’t add up.

Yes, perhaps if there was a loan type deal similar to the post-war Marshall Plan; then perhaps you would have a structured argument that would resolve this need for reparations that Trump is adamant that America should be getting; however even that has its unintended consequences.

A future under a President Trump sounds increasingly like a plutocracy backed by military force.

“The Twelve Men of OPEC”

On the subject of oil, Trump has alluded to OPEC‘s manipulation of the price of Crude oil; saying that he’d send one or two messengers to say, “Fellas, it’s time. It’s over. You’re not going to do it anymore.” (ABCNews)

Firstly, I’m not sure if what these “messengers” have in terms of leverage over OPEC (unless they take baseball bats with them), and secondly OPEC don’t answer to Trump, and they’d probably just laugh his “messengers” out of the room.

Even if OPEC suddenly start listening to Trump; a Presidency only lasts 4 years (if not less) – how would Trump guarantee low oil (or gas) costs in perpetuity after his Presidency?

If he’s serious about OPEC, a President Trump would require much more leverage than sending “messengers”, he’d need the full co-operation of America’s allies, if not OPEC members themselves.

Further more, would isn’t the manipulation of low oil costs just as bad as the manipulation of high oil costs?

“The Trump Doctrine”

Given Trump’s well known hatred of the Iraqi invasion and occupation under former US President, George W Bush (CNN); I find it strange that suddenly he is speaking from a position that he deems the war in Iraq is valid and implies an imperialistic rhetoric where he’s for war only if America gets compensated for it.

Waging war on foreign lands for compensation is a dangerous prescient that Trump needs to think long and hard about. Is he really saying that America, under his guidance, will only wage a war if it gets compensated for it?

Not only is it dangerous, it will lead to the United States to look increasingly towards Mercenaries, such as the Blackwaters of this world, to wage wars on her behalf for financial gain.

We all know “war is a racket“, but under his concept it’ll be legitimized and legal.

Does America, or Trump really want to be known as the “world’s mercenary”?

“Resource wars”

In saying that “to the winner goes the spoils”, Trump is not only committing troops to current wars but all potential future wars where American interest may lie; whether its oil, water, or food, according to Trump’s doctrine, not only is it fair game; but you better be on his side.

If this reminds you of the whole “with us, or your with the Terrorists” thing Bush had; then I believe it based off Trump’s interviews that’d not only it’d be worse under his leadership, but shows the value he places on the people he will inevitably attack and, presumably kill.

What strikes me odd about this, is that Trump was anti Iraq war, and hated Bush because he believed he increased the Anti-American fervor around the world, but at the same time doesn’t see that his own doctrine would not only exacerbate the situation, but inflame the Middle East and give rise, popularity and legitimacy to those radicals who claim that America is the enemy.

“Politically astute?”

My main issue with Donald Trump’s proposed run at the US Presidency is that he spends a lot of time making a lot of talking points but has no real policies, and those that he has have not been thought through.

Indeed, if Trump were to be elected the President of the United States’, I’m confident that the CIA and other Political mentors will cite the potential blowback of any foolhardy Trump endeavor.

From foreign to economic policy, Trump seems more inclined to pander to right wing Talking Points than draw up any real policies that would actually solve the particular problems America faces.

Indeed, American politics seems so laden with talking points from both Republican and Democrat politicians that I believe the 2012 US Presidential election will be won not on policy, but who has the most provocative talking point that best serves the 24 hour news cycle.

The fact that the American media seems almost passive in their reporting/journalism over this seems very strange; perhaps the need to fill the 24 hour news cycle with talking points and breaking news is part of the reason why people are increasingly moving to the Internet, and Al-Jazerra English for their news.

But, if Trump is serious and will run for the highest office in American politics, there are ways to address the issues I’ve raised.

One. Go on a panel show for one hour with a Middle Eastern audience and listen. Al-Jazerra English’s “Empire” is a good show, Listening Post is also good. Being seen on the World stage doesn’t make you a Liberal, nor does it look like your on a world-wide apology tour. At the very least it would add gravitas to Trump’s campaign (if he decides to run that is).

If anything, a panel show with a Middle East audience would really help the situation, and perhaps even expose Trump to views outside of the American political bubble; and perhaps even make him a better candidate.

Two. State unequivocally what his policies are. No talking points. No birther stuff. No repeating what Fox people are saying. Be serious about your plans and how you will fund them, if at all.

Whether Trump is serious and will run, or whether its yet another publicity tour for his TV show is yet to be seen; but whatever happens, one can only hope that the Billionaire’s real estate mogul can avoid building policies on a foundations built of sand.