With Donald Trump running for the US presidency, the summer promises to be a hilarious one.
Comedians, bloggers, and pundits are ecstatic about Donald Trump throwing his toupee in the ring for the Republican nomination at the US presidential election. The stories write themselves. But the Republican Party establishment is appalled, because Trump will create an image for the party that will hurt it in the general election.
Despite doing well in 2012 at the level of the House of Representatives and the Senate, the Republicans lost the US presidency and some seats because of the clownish things some of their prominent figures kept saying—about rape, abortion and immigration.
Statistically speaking, you pretty much have to get 44% of the Latino vote to be president. The angry white men running for Congress make it hard for the Republican standard bearer to pull that off. And the Grand Old Party (GOP) has a 10% gender gap with the Democrats, for whom many more women vote.
Trump’s maiden speech was a doozy, and it will not have made the Latinos happy. As for women, Trump’s past pronouncements on their issues still stick in the craw.
In his speech, Trump accused Mexico of stealing our jobs, along with China, which has also apparently stolen our money. (Trump doesn’t seem to understand the difference between China holding nearly $1 trillion of US debt—not very much, actually—and China robbing all our banks.)
He said: “You have a problem with ISIS [Islamic State], you have a bigger problem with China. And in my opinion, the new China, believe it or not, in terms of trade is Mexico.”
This is bizarre. Daesh, or the Islamic State (IS), took 40% of Iraqi land, displaced millions and arbitrarily killed thousands. China and Mexico aren’t anything like that. The US isn’t even running much of a trade deficit with Mexico anymore.
Trump said: “That’s right—a lot of people up there can’t get jobs. They can’t get jobs because there are no jobs because China has our jobs and Mexico has our jobs. They all have our jobs.”
Mexico doesn’t actually, of course, have “our jobs.” Trump told anecdotes about US and foreign corporations situating factories in Mexico rather than in the US. He blamed this on Mexico, when the real problem is that US law doesn’t penalize US corporations for relocating abroad to evade taxes. President Barack Obama and his secretary of the Treasury have been working on this. But Trump wasn’t offering a serious analysis. He was just riling up the angry white men.
Trump on the Middle East
Trump interspersed a few observations on foreign policy among his various tirades. He said of Obama: “Take a look at the deal he’s making with Iran. He makes that deal, Israel maybe won’t exist very long. It’s a disaster and we have to protect Israel.”
There is no obvious way in which Obama’s Iran deal—to restrict Tehran’s nuclear program to being solely for civilian purposes—can be used to cause Israel not to exist for very long. But note that most Republican candidates say the same thing, as does Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. That is, Trump’s stream of conscious serial falsehoods do not actually end up differing much from GOP orthodoxy.
Trump is also unhappy with Saudi Arabia:
“I’ll give you another example: Saudi Arabia. They make a billion dollars a day, a billion dollars a day.
I love the Saudis, many are in this building. They make a billion dollars a day. Whenever they have problems, we send over the ships. We send, we’re going to protect—what are we doing? They got nothing but money.
If the right person asked them, they’d pay a fortune. They wouldn’t be there except for us.
And believe me, you look at the border with Yemen—you remember Obama a year ago, Yemen was a great victory. Two weeks later the place was blown up. Everybody.
And they kept our equipment. They always keep our equipment. We ought to send used equipment, right? They always keep our equipment, we ought to send some real junk because, frankly, it would be—we ought to send our surplus. We’re always losing this gorgeous, brand-new stuff.
But look at that border with Saudi Arabia. Do you really think that these people are interested in Yemen? Saudi Arabia without us is gone. They’re gone.
And I’m the one that made all of the right predictions about Iraq. You know, all of these politicians that I’m running against now, it’s so nice to say I’m running as opposed to if I run, if I run—I’m running.
But all of these politicians that I’m running against now, they’re trying to dissociate. I mean, you look at Bush—it took him five days to answer the question on Iraq. He couldn’t answer the question. He didn’t know.”
So Donald Trump wants to charge Saudi Arabia for the US security umbrella, the way George H.W. Bush charged them for the Gulf War.
I couldn’t tell you what he meant about Saudi Arabia not actually being interested in Yemen. I don’t think it is true.
Trump wants to deal with IS by finding the right general, finding a MacArthur. But the Islamic State is a guerrilla problem that cannot be dealt with by infantry of the sort that MacArthur commanded in Korea. It doesn’t make any sense that Martin Dempsey, who is an Iraq War veteran, wouldn’t know best the terrain and strategy for Iraq.
So to sum up: start trade wars with China and Mexico; charge Saudi Arabia money for providing it with security; find a general for Iraq; stop Iran.
It is going to be a hilarious summer.
*[This article was originally published on Juan Cole’s blog.]
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.