At noon today Donald Trump is going to give a foreign policy speech. The reporting indicates that these are prepared remarks that he will present with the assistance of a teleprompter. It will be interesting to see how much nuance and polish his aides, and specifically whoever was tasked to assist him with preparing this speech, will have been able to apply to the off the cuff remarks he has been hammering in regards to foreign policy. The key items to look for, and to compare and contrast today’s remarks with how he usually presents them, are:
- The economic impacts of our foreign policy, specifically the defense components of maintaining an expeditionary force posture with significant overseas basing, exercise, and operational commitments. Mr. Trump has repeatedly asserted that our allies, partners, and clients have been taking advantage of us, they are costing us tremendous amounts of money, and that they will have to start paying up and beefing up their own defenses or they could find themselves without American military support.
- NATO. Mr. Trump has repeatedly asserted that NATO is obsolete, too expensive, and not doing much for the US but getting it into trouble. Interestingly enough this is very close to the position held by Vladimir Putin. It should be interesting to see how Mr. Trump presents this portion of his speech since hiring Mr. Manafort as his senior advisor. Mr. Manafort’s has ties to Vladimir Putin, originally via Victor Yanukovych, for the purposes of shaping opinion in regards to Russia’s actions in Crimea and the Donbass.
- Nuclear Weapons. Mr. Trump has repeatedly argued that nuclear weapons are a terrible threat and at the same time argued that if Japan and South Korea don’t open their wallets and start paying the US to secure them, then it would make sense for them to develop their own nuclear deterrent for dealing with North Korea.
- China. Mr. Trump has relentlessly and repeatedly hammered that China is killing us economically while saying he alone could do proper and profitable, Nation to Nation, business with China. It will be interesting to see and hear what, if any, actual strategy Mr. Trump has to accomplish this.
- Terrorism. Mr. Trump has repeatedly argued he is the only one who will get properly tough with terrorists, especially the Islamic State and its supporters. He has asserted that he would bring back water boarding and then transition to worse, would target the families of terrorists, and would knock the Islamic State out so fast. Here too it will be interesting to see what, if any, specifics are brought forward and how coherent they are or are not.
Here’s a link to the live feed, which I’m going to try to embed below. I’ll be back later tonight with an policy and strategy analysis of his remarks (and hopefully a link to the full transcript provided a transcript is released).