Trump and Putin’s Nineteenth Century Foreign Policy

I have serious doubts about the credibility of the dossier alleging Russian influence over the Trump campaign that Buzzfeed irresponsibly dumped (I won’t do them the favor of linking to it), especially the most salacious element that got all the publicity, but there was one part of it that rang very true to me. Near the beginning of the document we find this:

“Source C, a senior Russian financial official said the TRUMP operation should be seen in terms of PUTIN’s desire to return to Nineteenth Century “Great Power” politics anchored upon countries’ interests rather than the ideals-based international order established after World War Two.”

Ummm… well yeah? Been sayin’. As a non-interventionist I would prefer an Eighteenth Century policy based on a “minding our own business” politics, but the above would be a good start. Maintaining that “ideals-based international order” has been a pretty nasty business.

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Donald Trump expressed a very similar sentiment to move away from an ideals-based international order, which we are both footing the bill for and suffering under, in his inaugural address:

“From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first, America first. Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers and American families… Great Again: How to Fi... Donald J. Trump Best Price: $1.36 Buy New $8.61 (as of 03:40 EST - Details)

We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world, but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first. We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example. We will shine for everyone to follow.”

It is because Putin and Trump share a common vision for what is best for their respective countries that Trump is not knee-jerk hostile to Putin and Russia, not because Putin has the goods on him. Some of us recognized the nature of Trump’s foreign policy preferences long before there were any silly allegations that he is Putin’s puppet. See for example this article by Brookings Institute scholar Thomas Wright tellingly titled “Trump’s 19th Century Foreign Policy” to which the title of this article is a shout out even though Dr. Wright and I are on opposite sides of the fence. Wright writes:

“…Trump believes that America gets a raw deal from the liberal international order it helped to create and has led since World War II. Trump seeks nothing less than ending the U.S.-led liberal order and freeing America from its international commitments.” Make America Great Aga... Buy New $10.99 (as of 06:00 EST - Details)

Hmmm… it all kind of makes sense now doesn’t it? I make no claim that Trump is a doctrinaire Ron Paul style non-interventionist, but he clearly represents progress (actually regress) from the status quo on the foreign policy front. The reigning global order is not going to be dismantled easily or go down without a fight. Heck, the above-referenced #fakenews dossier was part of a soft coup attempt by the deep state in an effort to derail Trump before he even took office, so the Powers That Be clearly recognize the threat Trump’s alternate vision represents. Trump’s America first mindset is likely the best us non-interventionist can hope for now, and we should welcome it.

As I pointed out in the article linked above, the reason interventionists view Putin and Russia with particular antipathy is because they see Putin’s Russia as the major remaining roadblock to Davos uber alles hegemony, and this is why they view Trump’s apparent friendliness toward Putin with such alarm, not because they actually believe Trump is compromised. It is those whose sympathies lie more with an abstract new international order rather than their own country and fellow countrymen whose loyalties should be questioned, not Donald Trump’s.