Americans Have the Power to Vote for Peace
By Karl Pomeroy
September 13, 2016
There should be no confusion about who to vote for in the 2016 US elections. Donald Trump is the peace candidate, Hillary Clinton the war candidate. This is the logical conclusion.
On US Foreign Aggression
First of all, Trump has never deviated from his noninterventionist stance. Whether or not he can fully overcome status quo opposition to his foreign policy, his America First principle has been unwavering. Martin Sieff describes it this way (War or Peace: For Whom Do We Vote on November 8th?):
“There can be no guarantee that Trump will succeed in achieving his expressed goals in foreign policy. He will certainly not be a dovish or disarming president. But he has been totally consistent in his expressed determination to be a more cautious and responsible one. By contrast, a vote for Hillary Clinton will ensure, at the very best, more of the existing collection of aggressive and dangerous US global security policies posing, to the apparent contentment of the American public as ‘responsible’ ones of ‘containment’ and ‘stabilization.'”
The Republican candidate’s only exception to a cautious noninterventionist policy is his determination to destroy ISIS (Daesh), whose rise was an unintended—or possibly an intended—consequence of US aggression promulgated by G.W. Bush, Obama and H.R. Clinton, as well as presidents before them.
Kenneth R. Timmerman describes Clinton’s active role in the creation of ISIS (The Media Elites Feel That Shiver Up the Spine—And It’s Not Victory, September 11, 2016):
“I have already ‘fact-checked’ Trump’s claim that Clinton and Obama were ‘founders of ISIS’ and found it to be true not just because the precipitous U.S. withdrawal created a security vacuum for ISIS to exploit, but because it was the policy of the U.S. government at the time to reinforce and arm the groups that morphed into ISIS, as a now-declassified Defense Intelligence Agency report from August 2012 shows.”
The fact that hypocritical US military policy is responsible for the rise to ISIS does not mean we’ve lost the moral right to fight jihadists today. Stopping the spread of ISIS is arguably a matter of self-defence for Christians and the whole secular world. ISIS, not Russia, will be the military target of Donald Trump as Commander-in-Chief.
American political historian Eric Zuesse emphasizes this distinction between the policies of the two nominees (Clinton vs Trump on War with Russia, September 6, 2016) :
“The biggest difference between the two major-Party U.S. Presidential candidates is that Hillary Clinton wants to continue the Obama-Administration’s policy of regime-change in nations that aren’t hostile towards Russia (such as Iraq, Libya, Ukraine and now Syria), and that Donald Trump doesn’t. Trump wants to focus U.S. national-security policies instead upon eliminating jihadists (a problem that the U.S. and Saudi governments actually gave birth to in Pakistan and Afghanistan starting in 1979, in order to cripple the Soviet Union—which ended in 1991). Trump says that the Cold War is over, but Hillary says ‘Russia must pay a price’.
“However, neither candidate has provided any fleshed-out position on the matter. Hillary Clinton doesn’t need to do so, because she has already shown by her actions in public office, that she has consistently favored overthrowing heads-of-state who were either neutral or else downright friendly toward Russia, of which there have been four cases that are especially prominent: Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, Viktor Yanukovych, and Bashar al-Assad. Clearly, fighting Russia is Hillary Clinton’s top foreign-policy priority. However, Donald Trump can be evaluated only by what he has said, and by the consistency of his statements on the matter. He has consistently said: America must, for the first time since the end of the Cold War, concentrate its national-security focus upon only one enemy: jihadism—no longer international communism (which ended anyway)….
“The issue between Trump and Clinton, regarding the military, is that Trump wants to focus against jihadists, whereas Hillary wants to focus against Russia. Not only does the focus determine the target, but it determines what the alliances can be. It affects everything in international affairs. It profoundly affected Hillary Clinton’s actions while she was the U.S. Secretary of State, and it will profoundly affect the type of person who will be occupying the Oval Office starting in 2017; so, it will affect not only the future and character of our nation, it will affect whether or not there will be a nuclear war.”
Self-defence, in this case against ISIS, is of course consistent with a platform of peace. Foreign invasion and regime change are not. Hillary Clinton has pushed repeatedly for US military intervention and foreign regime change—in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Ukraine, and now even possibly Iran.
Patrick Armstrong analyses Clinton’s exceptionalist psychopathology (Trump is a Deal Maker, Which Means Less Risk of War If He Wins, September 10, 2016):
“To me, the choice in the US election is utterly simple: the most important thing is stopping the perpetual wars of the New American Century. President Clinton means more wars. Deeply implicated in the wars in Yugoslavia, Libya and Syria, she is contaminated by the noxious gospel of American Exceptionalism; the arrogant (and profoundly ignorant) assumption that the US is morally justified in doing anything anywhere to anyone at any time because its intentions are pure.
“‘American Exceptionalism’ is manifested today chiefly by armed force: military bases around the world, US special forces active in half the countries and war after war since the close of the Cold War a quarter of a century ago. It should be clear—even if it isn’t to the Exceptionalists—that the US is losing these wars, that each sets up the conditions for the next and that their consequences, far from the ‘stability’ fantasised by the Exceptionalists, are uniformly disastrous. Clinton will end none of them and will start new ones.”
Bruce Fein of The Huffington Post slams Clinton’s policies as first-degree murder, a category of crime neconservative hypocrites rarely apply to foreign victims (A Vote for Hillary is a Vote for War with Russia and China, September 9, 2016):
“We can deduce Ms. Clinton’s conception of peace, progress, and freedom by examining her actions and advocacy as a United States Senator, secretary of state, and presidential candidate. She supported and continues to support United States wars, i.e., the wholesale legalizations of first-degree murder, in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen Somalia, Libya, and against ISIL and Al Qaeda everywhere on the planet. If she had her way, we would also be at war with Syria. In all of these conflicts, however, the promotion of freedom is a pretext for global dominance …”
The GOP candidate, in contrast, opposes foreign military aggression, thereby defying the neoconservative concensus. Michael Tracey of the New York Daily News, in his review of NBC’s September 7 “Commander-in-Chief Forum” says:
“By assessing the full body of Trump’s statements … it’s possible to glean a pattern of deviation from the U.S. foreign policy consensus. As far back as 1987, Trump publicly questioned the utility of maintaining vast U.S. military commitments abroad (an impulse which has manifested years later in his skepticism of orthodoxies around the proper role of NATO). He may not have full-throatedly denounced the Iraq War until 2004, but even doing so at that time separated him from most U.S. national politicians—especially Republicans, whose vociferous support for the war then was near-universal….
“At the Wednesday forum, Hillary alleged that there is ‘no difference’ between her position on the 2011 Libya intervention and Trump’s. This is on-its-face ludicrous. There’s simply no equivalence between her explicit role in the carrying out the military engagement—agitating within the Obama administration for it as secretary of state over the objections of wary colleagues—with Trump’s position … It’s also worth recalling that the Obama administration initially sold the intervention as a limited humanitarian effort to save civilians on the verge of being slain by Gadaffi. However, it later morphed into a full-fledged regime change boondoggle, at Hillary’s behest. Trump never voiced support for such an expanded mission.”
The Russian “Threat”
Secondly, Trump has consistently advocated friendship with Russia, while Clinton seeks to escalate tensions. Some analysts see Clinton’s hawkish stance as a flirtation with nuclear war. Paul Craig Roberts explains it as follows (Trump vs. Hillary: A Summation, August 25, 2016):
“We know that Hillary is a warmonger. We know that Hillary made the most irresponsible statement ever uttered by a presidential candidate when she declared the President of Russia to be the ‘new Hitler,’ thereby raising tensions between the nuclear powers to a higher level than existed during the Cold War. We know that Hillary is allied with the neoconservatives and that her belief in the neocons’ ideology of US world hegemony is likely to result in war with Russia and China….
“All we know about Trump is that the oligarchs, who sent America’s jobs overseas, who flooded the country with difficult-to-assimilate immigrants, who destroyed public education, who bailed out Wall Street and the ‘banks too big to fail,’ who sacrificed American homeowners and retirees living on a fixed income, who intend to privatize both Social Security and Medicare, who have given the public killer cops, relentless violations of privacy, the largest prison poplulation in the world, and destroyed the US Constitution in order to increase executive power over the American people, are violently opposed to Trump. This opposition should tell us that Trump is the person we want in the Oval Office. … If Hillary gets into the Oval Office, nuclear war is likely before her first term is over. A vote for Hillary is a vote for nuclear war.”
Geopolitical commentator Andre Akulov of Strategic Culture Foundation further substantiates Trump’s desire for friendly relations with Moscow and stresses the danger of increased provocation (US Military Vets Come Out in Support of Donald Trump, September 9):
“It should be mentioned that Donald Trump is also backed by Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, the former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, who favors better relations with Russia. Visiting Moscow last year, Flynn told Russia Today in an interview that the United States and Russia should work together to resolve the Syrian civil war and defeat Islamic State. ‘Americans must understand that Russia also has a foreign policy and a national security strategy, and that Moscow launched the campaign against ISIS in Syria after its «unstated red lines were crossed,’ he said adding that ‘…the best way forward is for us to mutually agree that we have common interest and we’ve got to figure out how to work together, to achieve those common interests’ …
“On September 7, the rival presidential nominees appeared back-to-back at an NBC News town hall in New York—a forum highlighting their differences on matters of concern to the military audience. … The Republican candidate renewed his support for Russian President Vladimir Putin, noting among other things his ’82 percent approval rating’. And Trump accused Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton of having a ‘happy trigger’, a suggestion that she is too eager to insert the United States into international conflicts. Both candidates agreed the 2003 invasion of Iraq was a mistake. Clinton had to admit she was wrong voting for the war as a senator. Donald Trump sharply criticized the US intervention in Libya.The event shows the GOP candidate enjoys broad support among military for his stance on the foreign policy issues, including the relationship with Russia. … Many Americans with military experience know better than others how dangerous the current downturn could be. And they are trying to do what they can under the circumstances. One of the ways to address the issue is to support the GOP candidate who stands for better relations between Russia and the US.”
Ramping up tensions with foreign nuclear powers, an apparent Clinton obsession, brings the world closer to Armageddon. Gilbert Doctorow elucidates the hazards and explains why we should trust Trump’s promises (War or Peace: For Whom Do We Vote on November 8?):
“[The] issue is precisely America’s future foreign policy and whether we face 4 years of peace with Donald and his accommodative approach to world governance or a high probability of nuclear war with Hillary and her constellation of Neocon advisers egging us on to ever more provocative assertions of a global hegemony, and in particular, to brazen attempts to ‘contain’ both Russia and China. The question for our panel is whether and why we can trust Donald Trump to deliver a peaceagenda once he is in the Oval Office? Do we take on good faith or do we have demonstrable reasons to believe his promises to get along with Russia and China, to pull back from America’s over-exposed positions in NATO, especially in defense of the Baltic States against a fictive Russian aggressor? Should we be ready for yet another bait-and-switch election as we had with Obama eight years ago? My personal reassurance that I am backing the right man is to look at his enemies. The whole US foreign policy Establishment, led by its Neocon cheerleaders, is doing what it can to prevent his election. Is that enough of an insurance policy?”
Patrick Armstrong elucidates further, pointing out Trump’s talent as an experienced business negotiator (Trump Is A Deal-Maker, Which Means Less Risk of War If He Wins):
“Given [Hillary Clinton’s] extreme rhetoric, there is the non-zero possibility of bringing us to World War Last against Russia and China. Trump, on the other hand, boasts of his skills at negotiating The Deal. This deserves more attention than it has received. ‘American Exceptionalism’ never negotiates because there is nothing to negotiate about: there’s the Exceptionalist way, the correct way, and there are all the other ways and they’re all wrong; other countries’ national interests count for nothing against the Exceptional. For the Exceptionalists a ‘negotiation’ is a command to do it our way—the right way—or we bomb you. This is not what Trump is talking about: in a real deal both parties feel that they have achieved a good result; a real negotiator respects the other side’s interests and takes them into account; a real deal doesn’t need to be bombed into place.”
Provoking tension is especially disingenuous when the targeted nuclear power poses no threat to any nation. Those who contend that Russia invaded Ukraine and is therefore a threat to Europe are either ignorant, brainwashed, employed in the weapons business, or cozy with the Bilderberg New-World-Order clique. After all, it was the US, not Russia, that arranged the coup in Kiev.
Peace through Strength
Thirdly, the fact that Trump champions a strong military does not signal he plans for military aggression. Quite the reverse. Weakness invites attack, and attack necessitates war. There is no contradiction between peace and strength, an obvious truth missed by some observers.
Saddam Hussein is a case in point. As soon as he gave up his advanced weapons program, no amount of diplomacy could save Iraq from destruction. Vladimir Putin is another case in point. Moscow has no intention of attacking other nations, yet Russia has built up impressive military strength.
The Question of Looming Threats
If Trump is a peace candidate, why doesn’t he say so? A lot of people would vote for peace.
The subtle answer is, the billionaire businessman is too smart to give away his intentions. The world, after all, is not without threat. Treachery abounds, especially from China. Whether it’s politically correct to say so or not, China is a danger to the world at large. Moscow gave up all the foreign countries it governed in the twentieth century. Beijing did not. China still occupies Tibet and Xinjiang, an area larger than Argentina and almost the size of India. And the Beijing regime enacts hideous oppression of Tibetans and their ancient religious traditions.
China works on long time scales. But don’t be fooled by that. Chinese philosophers have claimed for centuries that the whole world belongs to China, that China is lending it to the rest of us as a temporary act of benevolence, and that someday they will take it all back. So when Beijing claims foreign lands are “ancient provinces of China”, they believe this applies to the whole world. China’s advance into the South China Sea is not a benign development. It’s an expansionist strategy spanning milennia.
Trump has not dwelled on the issue of Chinese military expansionism. I mention this to point out threats that might loom in the future, in order to emphasize the need for discretion in what candidates reveal today.
Trump’s stated policies and his eventual accomplishments as President may of course be two different things. Patrick Armstrong, however, gives plenty of reason for optimism:
“Can President Trump deliver on his promise to step away from confrontation and wars? There’s a very good reason to expect he can. The years of the so-called ‘imperial presidency’ have shown us that while American presidents have to struggle to achieve anything domestically they can start wars ad libitum—especially now that the secret of disguising neocon aims behind a froth of humanitarian rhetoric has been discovered. So all President Trump has to do is not start them. Therefore Trump is the obvious candidate to hope for and there are good reasons to think Trump can deliver: his starting approach is to negotiate and all he has to do to prevent a new war is to not start it. The other differences between the two candidates fade into froth and bubbles: no more Exceptionalist wars trumps—if my feeble pun may be accepted—everything else.”
Some media journalists, after viewing NBC’s Commander-in-Chief program, leaped to the conclusion—or so they claim—that Trump wants war as much as Hillary. Not so. The transcript of the event proves this is false. The GOP nominee only reiterated his desire to work with Russia:
“TRUMP: I think I would have a very, very good relationship with Putin. And I think I would have a very, very good relationship with Russia. As I said, take a look today. Take a look at what happened with their fighter jets circling one of our aircraft in a very dangerous manner. Somebody said less than 10 feet away. This is hostility. And I saw, just two or three days ago, they looked like they were not exactly getting along, but I looked at President Obama and Putin staring at each other. These were not two people that were getting along. And, you know, the beautiful part of getting along, Russia wants to defeat ISIS as badly as we do. If we had a relationship with Russia, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could work on it together and knock the hell out of ISIS? Wouldn’t that be a wonderful thing?”
Trump also emphasizes his disagreement with the Libya invasion:
“LAUER: You said in the speech today, you said history shows that when America is not prepared is when the danger is the greatest.
“TRUMP: And we’re not prepared.
“LAUER: Will you be prepared on day one, if you’re elected president of the United States, to tackle these complex national security issues?
“TRUMP: One hundred percent. Hey, Matt, again, she made a mistake on Libya. She made a terrible mistake on Libya. And the next thing, I mean, not only did she make the mistake, but then they complicated the mistake by having no management once they bombed you know what out of Gadhafi. I mean, she made a terrible mistake on Libya. And part of it was the management aftereffect. I think that we have great management talents, great management skills.
“LAUER: But you are prepared?
“TRUMP: And I have to tell you—totally prepared. But remember this. I found this subject and these subjects of interest all of my life, Matt. This hasn’t been over the last 14 months. I’ve found these substantiates of tremendous interest. That’s why they were asking me about Iraq 14 years ago. They were asking me these questions. They don’t ask businesspeople those questions.”
A full inspection of the Commander-in-Chief Forum transcript shows no change in Trump’s views. The GOP candidate said in his Foreign Policy speech of April 27, 2016:
“Unfortunately, after the Cold War our foreign policy veered badly off course…. Logic was replaced with foolishness and arrogance, which led to one foreign policy disaster after another. We went from mistakes in Iraq to Egypt to Libya, to President Obama’s line in the sand in Syria. Each of these actions have helped to throw the region into chaos and gave ISIS the space it needs to grow and prosper…. It all began with a dangerous idea that we could make western democracies out of countries that had no experience or interests in becoming a western democracy. We tore up what institutions they had and then were surprised at what we unleashed. Civil war, religious fanaticism, thousands of Americans just killed [and] lives, lives, lives wasted…. The vacuum was created that ISIS would fill.
“[T]he legacy of the Obama-Clinton interventions will be weakness, confusion and disarray, a mess. We’ve made the Middle East more unstable and chaotic than ever before. We left Christians subject to intense persecution and even genocide…. Our actions in Iraq, Libya and Syria have helped unleash ISIS, and we’re in a war against radical Islam, but President Obama won’t even name the enemy, and unless you name the enemy, you will never ever solve the problem.
“After Secretary Clinton’s failed intervention in Libya, Islamic terrorists in Benghazi took down our consulate and killed our ambassador and three brave Americans. Then, instead of taking charge that night, Hillary Clinton decided to go home and sleep…. Clinton blames it all on a video, an excuse that was … proven to be absolutely a total lie. Our ambassador was murdered and our secretary of state misled the nation.
“We desire to live peacefully and in friendship with Russia and China.”
The issue couldn’t be any clearer.
A vote for Trump is a vote for peace.
Hillary’s Ill Health
The issue of Clinton’s failing health has become critical since her collapse on Sunday. Her doctor claims she has pneumonia, but some journalists report she has no more than 18 months to live. This raises questions about how the Democratic Party will handle the campaign. Will Hillary be well enough to conduct the debate on September 26, now less than two weeks away? If not, Trump will be cheated out a chance to compete against her.
Will the Democratic party select a new candidate? And if so, who would that be? Bernie Sanders is a likely pick, and in his case the foreign policy question becomes blurred. I was never sure Bernie is really willing to oppose the neocons; his statements on the subject are vague. A true politician, he seems ready to placate existing powers.
But that’s a topic for another day.