Is Mark Halperin Right About Trump’s Foreign Policy Views?


Earlier this week Mark Halperin stunned us with his pro-Trump comment on his daily Bloomberg show “With All Due Respect”. Halperin said to his co-host John Heilemann that Trump’s foreign policy views contain refreshing innovative insight or words to that effect. Then he added that the insight is getting lost in the heat of other coverage about Trump. Halperin is the ONLY journalist who has said this on TV or even noticed the smart insight in Trump’s views. 

We became intrigued & interested in the Trump campaign last year because Trump was laying forth a new foreign policy approach. It was an approach that, in our opinion, America badly needs, an approach that is very different from the Bush-Obama approach used over the past 16 years. The two past presidencies have been a mirror image of each other – Bush team went after regime change in Iraq; Hillary-Obama (Hillama for short), went after regime change in Ukraine, Libya & Syria. Bush team did it for US “interests” & Hillama team did it for US “values”. Bush from the right wing & Hillama from the left wing but both essentially similar – just like a mirror image of each other.

Trump is the ONLY candidate who has clearly promised to change this failed approach, a horribly expensive approach in lives & money that has left America more hated & more unsafe. We discussed this first on October 31, 2015 in our article Is Donald Trump Right About Foreign Policy?  

A storm erupted in the American media about what Trump said to Anderson Cooper about nuclear weapons. As virtually every journalist attacked Donald Trump about what they saw as his “ignorance” about foreign policy, no one noticed the big news of the week, news that could enable another adversary to destroy all of the Unites States. 

1.China Develops its Longest Range Nuclear Missile

On Thursday, March 31, the Financial Times reported that China has developed a new long range ballistic missile, the first Chinese missile that “can strike any part of the US from anywhere in China“. This missile could reasonably be “deployed to PLA Strategic Rocket Force bases in 2016“.

A military vehicle carries DF-21D missile past a display screen featuring an image of the Great Wall of China at Tiananmen Square in Beijing on September 3, 2015, after a military parade to mark the 70th anniversary of victory over Japan and the end of World War II. China kicked off a huge military ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of Japan's defeat in World War II on September 3, as major Western leaders stayed away. China's unveiling of "carrier-killer" missiles and cuts in troop numbers underlined a shift towards naval strength amid growing Pacific rivalry with the US, analysts said. AFP PHOTO / GREG BAKER

Today Russia is the only country with the capability to destroy the USA with its nuclear ballistic missile force. We have seen in Ukraine and Syria what that capability does to enable military aggression from Russia and how it makes US cautious in directly challenging Russia’s military moves. This is despite the fact that Russia is no match for America in conventional military capabilities and in economic strength.

China is completely different. As the second largest economy in the world that is linked to America’s, China has deep & large economic strength. Chinese conventional military strength is growing rapidly and getting close to US strength at least in Asia. With the new missile, Chinese nuclear offensive capability will grow to match Russia’s, enough to destroy all of USA. 

This has immediate and direct impact on the difference between Trump & Hillary-Obama on Japan & China.

2. US-Japan-China – an Explosive & Catastrophic Danger

China has made it clear that the South China sea is exclusive Chinese territory. In their eyes, China is only doing what America did in 1823 when President Monroe pronounced Latin America as an American zone closed to European powers. The big obstacle in this policy are the Senkaku islands, currently in Japanese hands but claimed by China. China made it a hot issue in 2012 but then backed off because China lacked the military might to seize those islands & because China lacked the nuclear might to ward off America.

At that time, Leon Panetta, then Secretary of Defense, affirmed in both Japan and China that the islands fall under the scope of the U.S.-Japan treaty. And what are the obligations under this U.S.-Japan mutual security treaty?

  • “Each Party recognizes that an armed attack against either Party in the territories under the administration of Japan would be dangerous to its own peace and safety and declares that it would act to meet the common danger in accordance with its constitutional provisions and processes.”

This clearly says that an attack by China on Japan in Senkaku islands would be an attack on America and that America would be treaty-bound to go militarily to Japan’s aid. This is serious but not potentially catastrophic because today America can destroy China but China cannot destroy America. The new ballistic missile will change that in the next 5-7 years. By then China will have a large nuclear arsenal and the capability to launch them on all over America via the new ballistic missile.

So the next President may have decide whether to break the US-Japan treaty & let Japan fall under Chinese sphere or risk the very existence of America to defend 3 Japanese islands. How many Americans would be willing to risk the existence of their families, communities, cities & their country to prevent a Chinese attack on isolated Japanese islands or all of Japan?

This stark choice will be the result of today’s strategy and the result of the Hillary-Obama strategy for the next 4-8 years, the strategy of Mutual Assured Destruction of America & China. Donald Trump has a different view & a different strategy that can prevent being faced with such a stark choice.

3. Should Japan go Nuclear in its Defense? Would that Benefit America?

If you think for a moment, you will realize that it is in Japan’s interest to bring in America into Japan’s conflict with China. With that lifeline, Japan doesn’t need to build strong & deep military strength to defend itself against China. That’s great for Japan but not for America.

Trump is asking the right question – why can’t Japan build a defensive nuclear capability that would deter China? A nuclear weaponized Japanese military is China’s greatest strategic nightmare. China knows Japan and clearly understands the tenacity & potential brutality of the Japanese society. And Japan has the seppuku-harakiri tradition that would enable Japan to engage in mutual destruction of China & Japan. 

A nuclear Japan would not only deter China but it will also remove from America the burden of defending Japan at the risk of America’s own destruction. Isn’t this worth a discussion, a serious discussion between America and Japan?

Absolutely we say. But the entire foreign policy establishment, meaning the Bush-Obama-Hillary crowd, are dead set against it. It threatens their view of America as the unconstrained, undisputed solitary superpower in the world, the sole power that can intervene anywhere anytime without any risk to the American homeland.

If they look closely, that America doesn’t exist anymore. Today’s America is deep in $20 trillion of debt with massive need of rebuilding both its physical & the economic infrastructure. Powers like Russia have become much stronger and a new superpower is coming up in China, a power that can challenge America in Asia both economically & militarily, a China that can threaten America with existential destruction in the next 5-7 years.

Donald Trump is the only candidate who is awake to the new realities of America & the world. That is why Trump is asking deep & profound questions about how American policy should be changed to fit the new & far more dangerous world. 

4. China in the Korean Peninsula

Just think how China is threatening its next door neighbor, India, the only country in Asia with the size and potential to challenge Chinese hegemony in Asia. Not directly but via building up NonPakistan’s nuclear capability. 

What is to stop China from building up North Korea’s nuclear capability, especially when China becomes capable of nuclear destruction of America. Instead of challenging America directly, why not let North Korea threaten South Korea and create a nuclear conflict possibility? America will be forced to rush to South Korea’s defense, even nuclear defense. How dumb is that?

What if South Korea were to possess just enough nuclear capability to threaten North Korea with mutually assured destruction? A capability that would enable US to withdraw its 28,000+ troops from their current position as sacrificial goats for a North Korean attack, a capability that would remove the necessity of America entering another war in the Korean Peninsula. 

Such a capability would transfer all the risks of a intra-Korean war from America to China. As the neighbor of North Korea, China would have to bear the brunt of the consequences of such a conflict, not America. 

Today, America is at risk everywhere in Asia and China has freedom to create conflicts without much risk. Letting Japan & South Korea develop limited nuclear capabilities would rescue America from its current stupidly risky position and embroil China in the mess. Would that not be smart for America? Is that not worth a serious discussion between America, Japan & South Korea?

Donald Trump is the only candidate who is raising these smart & forward thinking possibilities. All other candidates, especially Hillama, seem stuck in the 20th century type strategic quagmire that has only brought grief & misfortune to America.  

This is what CNN’s Anderson Cooper should have realized or at least probed. Because he is a real journalist, a professional journalist.

5. Chris Mathews on Nukes in Middle East & Europe

Unlike professional journalist Anderson Cooper, Chris Mathews of MSNBC is a journalistic thug. We actually say this with respect. After all, we know more about the meaning of “thug” than most. Because the term “thug” is a transliteration of the Indian term “thak”. The Thak were bandits who robbed & sometimes killed travelers on Indian roads centuries ago. Their modus operandi was based on catching the travelers unaware through guile & misdirection.

Anderson Cooper uses his anchor seat to get information to his viewers. Chris Mathews uses his anchor seat to practice thuggery on unsuspecting guests for his own enjoyment & ratings. As we said, we respect the man’s skill. Donald Trump should have been wary and prepared. He was not and paid the price as travelers on Indian roads paid centuries ago. Chris Mathews poured scorn on Trump for not ruling out use of nukes, theater nukes, in the densely populated Middle East & Europe.

Either Chris Mathews is ignorant or feigned ignorance in his thuggish gotcha performance. Because Chris Mathews should have known that last year Putin publicly threatened to use theater nukes in both Syria & Ukraine. In fact, Putin made it clear after Turkey shot down the Russian fighter-bomber that the Russian cruiser parked off Syrian waters contained theater nukes with just enough power to “clean out” the border area between Syria & Turkey. 

And Chris Mathews has forgotten what then Secretary of State James Baker had bluntly stated in January 1991 to Tariq Aziz, Saddam’s foreign minister – the USA would use nuclear weapons against Saddam if Saddam used his chemical weapons against American troops massed on the Iraqi border. Baker meant theater nukes, small nukes designed to limit the destruction & nuclear fallout. 

That was 25 years ago. Today’s theater nukes have to be miniaturized weapons designed for pinpoint use with very limited fall out. President Truman used two massive nukes to destroy two large Japanese cities to prevent thousands of American casualties in an invasion of Japanese mainland. Should President Obama have used a tiny nuke to take out the ISIS HQ in Raqqa after the public beheading of James Foley in August 2014? We don’t know enough to answer that. But we do know that such a strike might prove necessary in the future and that the next US President has to develop a policy for such use.

But before a policy is developed, a serious discussion needs to take place. And only one candidate is beginning such a discussion, Donald J. Trump. The rest are merely pandering to the Bush-Obama establishment and their own donors.

Kudos to Mark Halperin for his smarts & his guts in venturing praise for the innovative thinking he saw in Trump’s quick comments. He was the only journalist to do so. As a viewer, we like the thuggery of Chris Mathews but as a citizen we know that journalists like Mark Halperin are needed to keep American journalism smart, honest & ethical. 



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