Foreign Policy

The Shortcomings in Trump’s Foreign Policy

Donald Trump has been a very unique presidential candidate, to say the least, and his uniqueness stretches all the way to his positions on foreign policy issues. His position on foreign policy involves: building a wall on US Mexico border and making Mexico pay for it, defeating ISIS, and establishing new immigration controls to boost American wages. At face value all of these ideas, except maybe building a giant wall on the southern border, may seem like good ideas. After all, boosting American wages would mean that Americans can buy more stuff, right? Well, this is actually not true.

Boosting American Incomes

Trump’s plan to boost American wages would actually hurt the US’ economy and cause American incomes to decline. The reason for this unexpected outcome is that limiting the possibilities of immigrants to gain employment means that lower wage positions will go to Americans. These Americans will demand higher pay than the formerly employed immigrants. Since business owners will be forced to pay employees higher wages, the cost of goods will increase. This means that all Americans will be paying higher prices for goods. As a result, Americans would have less discretionary income. This would lead to demand for higher cost services declining and could further lead to a decrease in employment among higher salaried careers.

Building a Wall

Trump’s proposal to build a wall along the Mexico border would be incredibly costly, costing around $15 billion to $25 billion. Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto, has also said that Mexico is not paying for a wall at the US border. Despite President Nieto’s statements, Trump continues to say that Mexico will pay for the wall. However, Trump actually has no way to effectively force Mexico to pay for the wall. Additionally, Trump’s plan does not take into account the many underground trafficking tunnels, which could be used to smuggle drugs and people. These underground tunnels are at times very sophisticated and large. For example, US law enforcement officers found a tunnel that ran all the way from Tijuana, Mexico to San Diego, California.

Defeating ISIS

Trump’s plan to defeat ISIS is even worse than his plans to “boost American wages” and stop illegal immigration. This is because his plan to defeat ISIS is largely non-existent. The only thing it says on Trump’s website about defeating ISIS is that Trump will:

Work with allies in the Middle East and “pursue aggressive joint and coalition military operations to crush and destroy ISIS, international cooperation to cutoff their funding, expand intelligence sharing, and cyberwarfare to disrupt and disable their propaganda and recruiting.”

The big problem here is that Trump’s statement is not very specific; he does not explain how he will do any of the things he outlines. Trump claims that he isn’t being specific because he doesn’t want the enemy to know his plan, but I’m not buying this. I think Trump isn’t being specific because he does not actually have a plan to defeat ISIS, which is understandable since Trump does not have much experience, if any, in developing international policy. His experience is in business, not international politics. Additionally, if Donald Trump actually had a plan, then one would think that he would at least give a little outline or sneak peak of his plan, but he has yet to do this.

Overall, when looking at foreign policy, Trump does not seem to be well suited for the position of President of the United States of America. His foreign policies would not only hurt the US economy, but they also seem to be vague and not well thought out.

Image Source: IB Times

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Do Air Strikes Stop Terrorism?

Last month, a Pentagon official confirmed that ISIS’ Minister of Information was killed in an air strike. Earlier this year, other ISIS leaders were also killed in air strikes, including regional leader Hafid Saeez Khan and ISIS’ former number two in command, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani. Although several alleged terrorists have been killed with air strikes, ISIS has still been functioning well and terrorism in the west has not shown any signs of slowing down. So are the air strikes really stopping terrorism?

The air strikes are hurting ISIS’ oil supply, but they may also be creating unintended problems, such as helping ISIS and other terrorist organizations in recruiting more members and increasing the amount of lone wolf terrorist attacks. There are several reasons these air strikes may be leading to these unintended consequences. One reason is that many terrorist organizations recruit people by claiming that the West hates Muslims. US air strikes on Muslims certainly does not refute this assumption and could actually promote this accusation. Additionally, being killed in an air strike could be perceived as martyrdom. This perception of martyrdom could send a distorted message to individuals that terrorists are actually activists fighting against western oppression and are dying for a great cause. In effect, motivating individuals to support ISIS and other extremist groups by either going to Syria or carrying out lone wolf terrorist attacks.

There’s also nearly no way air strikes could deter terrorist behavior. Similarly to there not being any evidence that a death penalty stops crime, creating deterrence by killing terrorists doesn’t even make sense, since many modern day terrorists are willing to commit suicide. If a terrorist is willing to commit suicide, then how would an air strike deter the individual from engaging in terrorist behavior. Additionally, some terrorists believe that they will be rewarded in the afterlife for carrying out terrorist attacks. If the individual truly believes that they will be rewarded for their terrorist behavior, then threatening to kill the person would not stop the person from committing terrorist acts.

So if air strikes don’t deter terrorism, lower morale, or stop ISIS’ ability to function, then what is the point of using the extra judicial tactic of air strikes? I don’t know. Maybe the US government believes that air strikes are a good tactic in the war against terrorism. But, I’m not sure if air strikes are really that effective, or even ethical.

Image Source: CNN

A Brief Psychoanalysis of Donald J. Trump

The U.S. president elect, Donald J. Trump, has surprised many people with his appointments, appointing Stephen Bannon as his chief strategist, Ben Carson as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and Rick Perry as the Secretary of Energy. But should we really be surprised by these appointments? Probably not. Throughout Trump’s campaign he has exuded classic narcissistic characteristics, including a sense of insecurity (obsessing over people insulting him and the size of his hands) and a strong sense of self grandiosity (believing that he knows more about terrorism than military generals and that “nobody knows more about debt” than him). In light of Trump’s propensity for egocentric behavior, it is reasonable to make predictions about Trump based not only on his past behavior, but also on the narcissistic personality.

Overview of the Narcissistic Personality

A key part of the narcissistic personality is splitting, seeing things in more of a black and white view. Things cannot be somewhat good or somewhat bad, one or the other is the only option. Trump exemplifies this by vilifying entire groups of people. For instance, Trump once said, in regards to Mexicans, “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.” Trump has also taken hard line stances on most issues, failing to acknowledge that several political issues, such as international trade, have both positives and negatives.

Narcissists also create an enhanced self-image to cope with their own insecurities. Some of Trump’s insecurities are obvious, such as his insecurities over the size of his hands. In fact, when a magazine published something about the size of Trump’s fingers, explaining Trump as “a short-fingered vulgarian,” Trump repeatedly sent photos to the publication in order to explain that his hands were not “abnormally stubby.” Trump’s insecurities are also exemplified in his interactions with the media. For example, in regards to the scrutinization and satirization that politicians often go through, Trump has shown an uncanny ability to take the satirization and scrutinazation as personal insult, similar to authoritarian leaders. An example of this is Trump’s behavior towards Saturday Night Live and other satirical outlets.

What We Can Expect From Donald Trump

Due to Trump’s need for reaffirmation, to build up his grandiose self, Trump will likely surround himself with sycophants. Surrounding himself with people that tell him what he wants to hear has already been happening, evident in Trump’s political appointments. Why would Trump choose Rex W. Tillerson as Secretary of State instead of Mitt Romney? One reason may be that Romney has a history of disagreeing with Trump, which means that Tillerson is more likely than Romney to tell Trump what he wants to hear. We can expect the same behavior from Trump in the future; political positions are most likely to go to the sycophants not the most qualified.

It may also be tough for Trump to communicate diplomatically with other political leaders, considering that Trump may see adversarial leaders as purely bad, which could lead to increased military activity. Increased military activity seems more likely when taking into consideration the amount of military generals appointed to Trump’s cabinet. Additionally, foreign policy may become increasingly reactionary, meaning that Trump may react more strongly and negatively toward specific behaviors, such as terrorism and anything seen as an attack on him or his fellow Americans. Glimpses of these reactionary policies can already be seen. For example, Trump has advocated torturing the families of terrorists and banning Muslims, two policies that can actually increase terrorist recruitment rates.

Conclusion

Trump will certainly be different from previous US presidents. The biggest difference may not be that Trump had a career as a business man or that Trump has no experience in politics, it may be Trump’s psyche, which seems to be further down on the narcissistic side of the scale than many past US presidents. However, only time will tell what Trump will actually do, but I would be very surprised if Trump switched emotional course and became less egocentric.

Image Source: Time Magazine