Monday 23 Jul 2018 | 19:39 | SYDNEY
Monday 23 Jul 2018 | 19:39 | SYDNEY

Dropping all illusions


Andrew Carr


21 April 2011 13:41

According to some polls, Donald Trump is now the leading GOP Presidential candidate. He has some rather frank views on foreign policy:

TRUMP: Somebody said, what would be your theory or what would you do in terms of Libya? I'd do one thing. Either I'd go in and take the oil or I don't go in at all. We can't be the policeman for the world.
CROWLEY: You'd just take their oil?
TRUMP: Absolutely. I'd take the oil. I'd give them plenty so they can live very happily. I would take the oil. You know, in the old days, Candy –
CROWLEY: Well, wait, we can't go –
TRUMP: - Candy, Candy, in the old days, when you have a war and you win, that nation is yours.

Trump's frankness in his rejection of international norms and law, could help bring some clarity (and colour) to the 2012 election debate about US foreign policy.

Will other Republican candidates agree to Trump's specific examples of taking the US outside the post-WWII international framework (a notion they've nudged and winked at) or disown it as dangerous, if not impossible to achieve? (Similarly, Trump's advocacy of 'birtherism' is forcing candidates to clarify their positions on that issue).

Likewise, should Obama face such a challenger holding Trump-like views, he will have the opportunity to make afresh the argument that the security of the US lies in its embrace of international law and norms. 

Various commentators have dismissed Trump's chance to win the Republican nomination (though he is considering an independent run), but his mere presence could provide greater clarity to the debates about how the US should act in the world. 

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Gage Skidmore.