Donald Trump

So Much for the Delusion That Donald Trump Could Be Some Kind of Non-Interventionist

Chooses Mike Pence as VP


Nima Taradji/Polaris/Newscom

Since first announcing his candidacy last June (and even before then), Donald Trump has had a knack for shooting off his mouth in a way that ends with him on multiple sides of the same issue. It didn't quite offer voters a blank slate like Obama's 2008 campaign did, but did let voters project their own preferred political views on the candidate. Based on Trump's comments critical of the Iraq war and its role in fomenting terrorism in the Middle East, a few non-interventionists believed Trump to be one of them.

Last week, in another in a series of self-inflicted controversies, Donald Trump appeared to praise Saddam Hussein for curbing terrorism in Iraq, calling Iraq in his absence the "Harvard" of terrorism. Yet this morning, he selected Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, who served in the House from 2001 to 2013. Not only was Pence one of the 214 House Republicans to vote for the Iraq war in 2002 (only 6 Republicans voted against it), he argued that removing Saddam Hussein was critical to reducing the threat of terrorism. From a January 2002 AP article:

The United States' war against terrorism will not be complete until Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein has been removed from power, U.S. Rep. Mike Pence says. 

Even though there is no proof Iraq played a role in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, there is no doubt the nation was directly involved in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the 2nd District Republican said Thursday during an appearance before the Anderson Suburban Rotary Club.

As a result, the longer Hussein remains in power, the longer he will continue to support terrorism targeting the United States and it allies, Pence said.

"Until Hussein is done, the war is not over," Pence said.

Today, U.S. intervention in Iraq is widely understood to have contributed to the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS) in the region, even if some defenders of the war insist on blaming the 2011 U.S. withdrawal not the 2003 invasion. Syria did not require a U.S. intervention to slip into chaos, but the availability of post-Hussein, post-invasion Iraq as a training ground for terrorists made the militants destabilizing Syria a lot more potent.

The Republican ticket now has a bona fide supporter of the Iraq war to match the often contradictory Trump. The Democratic ticket is set to have a supporter of the Iraq war, and other interventions, at the top, and may yet be filled out by another politician who helped make the disastrous Iraq war happen.

It didn't have to be that way. Bernie Sanders at least voted against the Iraq war in 2002, while Sen. Rand Paul, running for the Republican nomination, insisted to other Republicans that it was hawks in their party who were most responsible for ISIS. Yet some so-called libertarians praised Trump for being more forcefully non-interventionist than Paul for making stronger criticisms of George W. Bush than Paul. Now they get Mike Pence and good old fashioned 21st century Republican interventionism. They should've known better.

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  1. Couldn’t Trump just ignore Pence’s stance on the war? It’s not like the VP has any power.

    1. Trump overtakes Hillary with narrow lead.

      It’s probably the highest we’ll see him get.

      1. Probably, she’s had a bad couple weeks, people will forget and she’ll bounce back.

        I don’t think Trump’s VP pick really will help or hurt him but the idea that it proves something about his stance on the Iraq war seems silly.

        1. No, Hillary’s not going to bounce back from this. In fact I think it’ll take a month before it fully sinks in & percolates down. She’ll get a convention bounce & then 2 weeks later be back at the bottom that she’ll have finally found from Comey’s speech. Trump’s not going to come up much if at all in that time, but his lead over Hillary will grow. Conceivably Clinton could wind up coming in “3rd” in some states, but only if you some all “Other” to make a “virtual 2nd” place, because Johnson won’t get it all.

      2. I think so, too.

        Hillary in May (when things got ugly with Sanders) and in the last couple weeks had it probably the worst of her campaign and the most Trump claim is a narrow lead (which seems to be people simply going undecided from supporting Hillary rather than deciding to support him).

        He’ll likely get another temporary boost from the convention assuming it isn’t a complete shit-show, but I don’t see anything else on the level of a contentious primary or the FBI Director calling her “extremely reckless” to drag her ratings down.

        1. She could make a few more campaign appearances with Elizabeth Warren.

      3. It’s probably the highest we’ll see him get.

        Until election night.

      4. Disagree. She is so bad. Nobody is going to forget that she’s a liar.

      5. I’m making over 17k dollar a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do…

    2. That was my reaction too. Pretty minor stuff – I doubt he’s picking Pence for anything but political reasons, same as any other candidate does.

    3. Yeah, saying that choosing Pence makes Trump an interventionist is like saying that choosing Biden makes Obama retarded.

      1. Well…

    4. Trump ignores everyone else, why would he listen to his VP?

  2. I always got the impression that Trump didn’t much care about the morality and/or efficiency of the Iraq War, he just saw it was now unpopular and criticizing it fit well with his “our leaders are stupid” narrative.

    Which, hey, still makes him better on foreign policy than Clinton, who is determined to learn nothing from interventions regardless of their unpopularity or objective failure!

    1. Does anyone have the slightest doubt that his foreign policy will make Obama’s look considered and deliberate?

      1. I take that back. His rhetoric is going to be borderline schizophrenic but I’m willing to bet his generals will drag their feet and push back much more than they did Obama or Bush.

    2. He does not appear to have publicly opposed the war prior to its starting but he started criticizing within months of its starting at a time when most Americans were still thinking we had won

  3. President do what Presidents want, not what Vice Presidents want

    Or as former Vice President Garner once said, the job is not worth a “Warm bucket of spit”

    1. Right, because there have never been instances of the VP taking over and starting or expanding a fucked up war.

      1. DJT will be the next JFK!!

  4. Hah, of course that amcon article is Justin Raimondo.

    1. Unfortunately, even Raimondo jumped on the “Libertarians” for Trump tardwagon.

      1. He was too young to start “Libertarians for Mussolini”.

  5. “Until Hussein is done, the war is not over,” Pence said.

    Does follow then that the war is over now that Hussein is done?

    1. Sounds like a plan.

    2. Mission Accomplished.

  6. “Syria did not require a U.S. intervention to slip into chaos” wait you think the uprising was some sort of grass roots movement? From Qatar paying people to organize in the streets to US shipping Libya’s whole arsenal and fighters through Benghazi, I’d say it wouldn’t have amount to a minor blip if not for our and the gulf countries trying to overthrow the regime.

    1. Well, then it apparently depends on how you define “intervention”, isn’t it?

  7. The Pence decision seems designed to make everybody go “Who?” and immediately forget that he even has a running mate. Maybe placate a couple of the establishment Never-Trumpers, though I have no idea if they have any particular affection for Pence. I do seriously doubt we’ll see many signs/ads etc reading “Trump/Pence” rather than just “Trump”.

    1. The Pence decision seems designed to make everybody go “Who?” and immediately forget that he even has a running mate.

      Yeah, this.

      I was talking to my pops the other day, and I said, “if he goes with Newt, its because he wants someone to “fix his weaknesses” – if he goes with anyone else, he wants them to simply stand nearby and not get in the way”

    2. I’m from Indiana, I know who he is. We’re glad to be rid of him.

  8. there is no doubt the nation was directly involved in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing

    Uh what? Pretty sure this theory was pretty well-doubted well before the US invaded Iraq in 2002 (and completely debunked after that).

  9. The policies and thoughts of the VP are meaningless (unless and until the day he’s sworn into the big chair). The choice of VP has nothing to do with issues ever. It’s all just a circus to keep people entertained.


    1. Lemme just say two words: Dick Cheney

    2. Or to break ties in the Senate. Which could be a big deal after 2018.

  10. So Much for the Delusion That Donald Trump Could Be Some Kind of Non-Interventionist

    Now if you only confronted the reality is that no one in the business of politics (including Gary Johnson) identifies as a “non-interventionist”…. nor is “non-interventionism” a widely-recognized school of foreign policy with any obvious practical applications…. you might finally stop being so constantly and ostentatiously ‘disappointed’.

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  12. SIV is probably rationalizing that the ploy was so meta that it’s honesty was meant to make you think it was someone else

    He’s gonna tell us how this is all great and better than Weld. Money in the bank.

  13. Sigh. It’s Krayewski who’s reading way too much into this if he thinks that the VP pick’s positions on every issue are informative of the candidate’s views. Short of a candidate picking a clone of themselves, you never attain 100% agreement, so saying that Trump will be interventionist because, years ago, Pence was in favor of the Iraq invasion (as, Krayewski admits, nearly all Republicans were), or was in favor of taking out Saddam (again, as nearly all Republicans were, at the time), is a pretty silly bit of induction.

  14. So Much for the Delusion That Donald Trump Could Be Some Kind of Non-Interventionist
    Chooses Mike Pence as VP

    Intervention is a time honored tradition the USA enjoys down through the centuries, and our beloved fascist candidate, Trump the Grump, is continuing this wonderful policy. One only has to look at the numerous successes of of last and this century to recognize what great success the idea of interventionism is and how it endears foreign peoples and their governments to the good ol’ USA. An added bonus is the emptying the US Treasury and the high cost of human suffering (both in the countries we invade and at home) to correctly conclude that interventionism, whether it be by a republican or a democratic regime is always a good idea based on sound principles.

  15. Yet some so-called libertarians praised Trump for being more forcefully non-interventionist than Paul for making stronger criticisms of George W. Bush than Paul.

    Those stupid fucking fakers actually gave Trump props for being more vocally non-interventionist than Paul. Like OMG. Now that he’s got a running mate that supported the Iraq War, it’s almost certain that Trump pulled a complete 180 and now plans to nuke Toronto because as we all know, the Vice President sets the foreign policy or something something. Only a fake libertarian gives credit where credit is due.

  16. Still something of a coin flip for a Trump presidency going to war, in my book.

    Now Clinton?? On war, she’s a game of Russian Roulette with six bullets in the chamber.

  17. “Ah, fuck it. Might as well just be Pence,” Donald said. He dropped the microphone and walked off stage.

    (Fuck you, Trump. I had a good story going. Ruiner. I hope you get raped in the eyes.)

    1. What, you can’t turn your Trump/Gingrich slashfic into a three-way love triangle? How did Pence, generic evangelical that he is, turn Trump’s smoldering gaze from his lizardy lover? Enquiring readers want to know.

  18. Yet some so-called libertarians praised Trump for being more forcefully non-interventionist than Paul for making stronger criticisms of George W. Bush than Paul.

    You’re link is to a piece written by Justin Raimondo at the American Conservative. Sorry, but Raimondo is a hundred times more principled than anyone that writes for Reason. He actually prioritizes non-interventionism over ‘gay marriage’, ‘trans bathrooms’, and other non-pressing issues.

    1. Of course an uber conservative like Raimondo would prioritize in that order.

      1. I know, his priorities all wrong. Who cares if our endless wars are bankrupting our moral fabric and financial balance sheet? We have more important things to deal with at home. Like, did you hear about how North Carolina passed a ‘bathroom bill’?

        I think the Founders would care a little more about bathroom than silly endless wars being waged overseas. I’m pretty sure that George Washington’s farewell address discussed ‘foreign entanglements in washrooms’.

    2. And how exactly have you concluded that Reason believes gay marriage and bathroom issues are a higher priority than foreign interventionism?

      They report the news, they don’t decide what’s going to happen. And gay marriage and whatever the fuck the problem is with bathrooms are things that happened. An end to ill advised foreign military adventures didn’t.

      1. All I was saying was that Raimondo discusses real issues that concern liberty. Reason has endless opportunities to discuss foreign policy- there are two wars going on right now with real killing. Reason doesn’t seem to want to discuss our perverse foreign policy in Syria that has contributed to the rise of ISIS. Reason doesn’t want to talk about our support for Saudi Arabia’s brutal war in Yemen. Reason wants to talk about legalizing pot and trans bathrooms, because real issues concerning liberty are uncomfortable for cosmotarians.

        And that’s why Raimondo is considerably more principled than anyone that writes for Reason.

  19. Well, that’s one solitary thing in his favor, then.

    Sorry, not an isolationist, not gonna be one, don’t believe libertarians have to be.

    (And yes, “never intervening until actually attacked” is exactly “isolationism”, which is what “not an interventionist” sort of has to mean.

    No matter how much Reason wants to keep saying “not isolationist!” I ain’t seeing any difference in the editorial line, between what is said and “isolationist”.

    It’s defensible on libertarian principles, absolutely.

    But nobody has to agree with it.)

    1. Well, shit, I guess every country on earth has an isolationist relationship with America, seeing as there are no foreign military bases in any of the states.

    2. “Isolationist” usually implies policies of economic isolation as well as military non-interventionism. In that sense, isolationism is not very compatible with libertarianism at all (unless everyone just happens not to want to trade with the outside world).

  20. Sure, Ed, ISIS is all about us and has nothing to do with Islam. If we would only let them kill all the Jews, maybe they would leave us alone? Well, kill all the Jews and subjugate all of the women. Dastardly Americans!

    1. Yeah, that’s what he said. Are you being deliberately obtuse, or do you really think that it has to be explicitly stated every time ISIS is mentioned that they are motivated by fucked up Islamic ideology? Doesn’t that go without saying at this point?

      1. I mean, is it really so hard to understand that things are complicated and absolutely everything has many causes that are nearly impossible to separate out? Saying that US foreign policy had something to do with the emergence of ISIS in no way denies that it is also inspired by Islam. There are reasons why ISIS is happening now and not 20 years ago.

  21. From what I’ve read Trump picked Pence because he’s a Christian establishment Republican which will shore up his base. I seriously doubt will get his foreign policy advice from Pence.

  22. Forrest Trump!

    Run, Forrest, run!!

  23. Very weak reasoning.

  24. So Much for the Delusion That Donald Trump Could Be Some Kind of Non-Interventionist
    Chooses Mike Pence as VP

    Trump chooses Pence, so he can’t be a non-interventionist?

    Weak tea, baby.

    He’s throwing rank and file establishment types a bone, and targeting the rust belt with a ceremonial post. That the choice of Pence somehow defines Trump on interventionism is just silly.

  25. Interventionist – is a good definition of any politician.
    Scary isn’t it? . . . . Because they seek the power to intervene – everywhere!
    Constitutional restraint . . . are you kiddin” me?

  26. “Today, U.S. intervention in Iraq is widely understood to have contributed to the rise of the Islamic State (ISIS) in the region”

    Only by people who have no understanding of how ISIS came to be. Hint: they didn’t invade Syria from Iraq.

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  28. Trump was NOT Praising Saddam Hussein – he was merely stating a FACT – that Many others have said as well, while Saddam Hussein was in Power Iraq was not an Out of Control Environment run Amok with Terrorist organizations like Al-Qaida & the Islamic State ISIS. Besides we all know Saddam Hussein was a Puppet Dictator put in power by the USA and when he refused to play ball anymore they took him out.

  29. As usual, we rate the republican nominee by the advisors and other people they appoint. That’s a relief. I’m glad Trump didn’t pick Joseph Goebbels.

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