America First

Trump Ain't Dismantling the American Empire

America First is a belligerent doctrine to get the world to do his bidding.


Is President Trump really rolling back the American empire?

His isolationist cheerleaders insist the answer is "yes." If you look past his bellicosity to his "America First" foreign policy, they say, you'll find the seeds of ending decades of neoconservative interventionism and limiting the country's military engagements to areas where some vital national interest is at stake. But they're fooling themselves. Trump is not diminishing America's military footprint; if anything, he's expanding it.

As evidence for their position, the president's boosters cite his pullouts from Afghanistan and Syria, as well as his willingness to meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un to negotiate his country's nuclear disarmament. But the latter diplomatic overture is shaping up to be a complete bust, and the former pullouts are just as partial as former President Obama's was from Iraq. Just as Obama ended up succumbing and leaving a rump American force in Iraq, Trump too, for all his tough talk, has flipped on his original promise to fully withdraw from Syria. He is saying now that he's "100 percent" on board with a residual troop presence. Likewise in Afghanistan, he's talking only about withdrawing half the American troops—not all.This is a shame. Given America's growing empire, it would certainly be nice if a president would pull back—and try and change the world by example instead of picking fights or aiding wars. Trump, unfortunately, is not the man for the job.

Trump's supporters are also ecstatic that he is questioning the NATO alliance—except that he's not. All he wants is that NATO countries reimburse America for its costs, not take responsibility for their own defense. In fact, The New York Times' Ross Douthat believes that Trump wants these countries to bear their military burden so that America's resources are freed up to deal with China, a country that for some reason has always rubbed Trump the wrong way.

In fairness, a NATO pullout would provoke considerable political resistance. So it may be understandable why Trump wouldn't prioritize it. But Trump doesn't want to pull out even from disputes such as Saudi Arabia's offensive against Houthi insurgents in Yemen where there is widespread consensus that America has no business getting involved. The Senate even passed a resolution 54-47 last week demanding that Trump stop using American forces to assist Saudis with midair refueling and target assistance, especially since he has no Congressional authorization to do so. Trump's response? A pledge to veto the bill.

But why exactly is Trump so gung-ho about helping Saudi Arabia, a monstrous regime that killed and dismembered an American resident because he had the temerity to criticize it? Apparently because Houthis are Shia Muslims like most Iranians — and Trump's hawkish advisers are telling him that if the Houthis take over Yemen they would ally with Iran against Israel, America's ally. But these are exactly the kind of geo-political considerations that "America First" was supposed to reject.

At least in Saudi Arabia's case Trump is providing "only" indirect military assistance. Not so in Somalia. The administration has escalated America's three-decade long military campaign against al-Shabab, an inconsequential Somali terrorist group whose less than 500 hard-core members pose virtually no threat to America.

The saving grace, if there is one, is that the administration at least designated Somalia as an "active area of hostilities," which will force Pentagon to disclose how many casualties its drone attacks cause. However, CIA drones bomb countries covertly all over the world without such a designation. President Obama at the tail end of his presidency issued an executive order requiring the agency to report these strikes along with assessments of the combatants and non-combatants it killed. But Trump last week scrapped this requirement so that the CIA can once again kill with impunity without worrying about bad publicity.

One reason why the American empire is on an unbroken growth trajectory is that a giant behemoth like the Pentagon has to justify its existence by inventing or exaggerating threats. Only a president determined to starve the beast would ultimately be able to shrink America's military presence around the world. And during his campaign, Trump lamented that if America had spent $6 trillion at home instead of the Middle East, "we could have rebuilt our country twice." However, now that Trump is in office he is doing the opposite.

His most recent budget proposed to cut domestic spending by 5 percent and boost defense spending by the same amount, never mind that America already spends more than the next seven powers combined on defense. To add insult to injury, Trump is boosting America's defensive capabilities less and offensive ones more, given that his budget seeks to cut spending on defensive missile systems by $500 million while increasing it on offensive systems such as hypersonic weapons by $2.6 billion.

Worst of all, Trump doesn't just want to use the American military to accomplish his foreign policy objectives; he is also enlisting the American economy, wielding sanctions and tariffs like weapons.

He tore up Obama's nuclear deal with Iran, re-imposing sanctions on the country and anyone that does business with it. And it's not just Iran. In 2017, Trump imposed a record 944 sanctions on foreign entities and individuals. And then he topped his own record and imposed over 1,000 sanctions last year. The Guardian's Simon Tisdall notes that soon any country not under economic attack by Trump will be the exception rather than the rule.

Using America's economy as a handmaiden of its foreign policy was always a neoconservative goal. Back in the 1990s, neocons vehemently opposed permanently normalizing trade ties with China because they wanted to make access to America's markets subject to China doing their bidding.

Trump's "America First," thus, isn't so much a departure from neo-conservatism as a different—and worse—version of it. In its zeal to impose America's will on the rest of the world, it is just as meddlesome and aggressive—but with less consensus-building abroad and accountability at home. Expecting Trump to rollback the American empire is a fool's dream.

This column originally ran in The Week

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  1. Doesn’t matter if they only pull out 5 guys, it’s still a win.

    1. The real win would have been Dalmia’s father pulling out.

      1. Hahaaaaaaa. Ew.

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      3. well done!

      4. well done!

      1. Pwning the libtards, of course.

        1. So you’re taking it personally.

        2. You literally said a week ago that Bernie was less hawkish on foreign policy “comparatively” even though he supported arming Ukraine and was silent on pulling out troops from Syria.

          1. Comparatively to some other of the Dem candidates.

          2. I never defended Bernie’s foreign policy positions, so I don’t know what the hell you are talking about. All I said the writer was correct in pointing out that Bernie’s foreign policy positions are comparatively less hawkish than many of the other Dem candidates. Which is not saying much, but it is correct.

    2. You gotta look at the overall picture. And the overall picture is that Trump increased military spending, pulled out of a nuclear treaty with Russia, axed the nuclear deal with Iran, supported the Saudis genocide in Yemen, and escalated the involvement in Somalia (even though there are no roads in existence there). So, Shikha is right.

      1. “pulled out of a nuclear treaty with Russia”

        It’s a good thing that his hand wasn’t forced with regards to Russia. Do you really want to play this game? I wonder if there wasn’t an unhinged conspiracy that people at this publication bought into absent all evidence that has forced him to embrace a hawkish stance toward Russia. Your other points are fair, but this one is purposely deceitful.

        If you think that Bernie is “comparatively” speaking non-interventionist (as you said a week ago) then I don’t know how in the world you could say Trump is not comparatively better than the recent string of presidents.

      2. The fact that you think trump pulling out of the nuclear treaty, one in which Obama allowed Russia to violate completely, is a dumb thing shows how ignorant you really are. Obama granted co sessions to Russia to decommission us nuclear arms while Russia was allowed to increase theirs. He allowed Russia to develop new tactical nukes while restricting us development of their own. The treaty was otherly worthless after Obama. It was more worthless than the Iran deal. So ending it was a good idea.

      3. Of course we should not have continued a horrific deal with Iran in which we got nothing, not allowed the Russians to continue cheating on the deal in which we are at a disadvantage. We needed to rebuild a military that really was weakened under the feckless Hawaiian. Yemen Somalia are both a couple of crap holes that aren’t our worry. Sounds like you and Dalmia both have the phony progressive libertarian blues..

    3. Every Dalmia article should be titled ‘Stupid Bitch Writes Stupid Article’.

      1. Yes why is she writing for a libertarian magazine when then are so much need at the Atlantic, Salon, WAPO and Mother Jones.

  2. “. But the latter diplomatic overture is shaping up to be a complete bust,”


    “and the former pullouts are just as partial as former President Obama’s was from Iraq.”

    So they don’t count I guess.

    Dalmia is worse than trash because trash can be composted and turned into something useful.

    1. Dalmia is the best libertarian writer working today.

      1. What makes this statement funny is that the reason staff likely actually believes it. All great comedy has an element of truth.


        1. Nonsense, it’s Doherty, 2-chilli, and then KMW. That’s my impression of the ancap scale, anyway.

          1. You are not on the reason staff. I bet the staff thinks Dalmia is the bomb.

            1. She does writes great pieces that I enjoy, like this one.

              1. Even I can’t top trolling like that.


              2. Some people enjoy trainwrecks. Good for you Chipper that you can.

                1. A train wreck in what sense, John? She uses a different definition of ’empire’ than you. But is her conclusion faulty, given her starting premise? Are her facts wrong? Does she make non-sequitors? What else, other than her different definition, can you validly criticize?

                  1. “non-sequitors”

                    Is that anything like a non-sequitur?

                  2. She doesn’t use any definition of empire. That is the problem. To claim the US has an empire now, you have to define empire as guaranteeing security for large parts of the world, because that is all we do. And you can’t square tearing up treaties and telling countries to learn to defend themselves with expanding or not reducing that empire. The article makes no sense. It is just Dalmia throwing whatever argument comes into her head up and hopint it works.

                    1. C’mon John. You know facial analysis is the common inspection by reason writers these days. Who needs common definitions? Just change definitions until it matches your intended facial analysis. It’s the post modernist way.

                    2. To claim the US has an empire now, you have to define empire as guaranteeing security for large parts of the world, because that is all we do.

                      It’s not our job to “guarantee security” for the rest of the world, if that’s what you want to call it. I don’t see that anywhere in the Constitution. If we were committed to a common-sense definition of “national security”, we could probably cut our military budget to 10 percent of what it is today and be just fine. Instead, Trump wants to raise it even more. Maybe spending more than the next seven countries combined on our military doesn’t satisfy your definition of “empire”, but it’s definitely insane, and we can’t afford to keep doing it forever.

                  3. Yes. She’s a complete idiot who is largely divorced from reality.

                  4. She is reinventing ideology. She is a progressive/socialist who apparently has this magazine fooled into thinking she is a Libertarian. She is a South Asian Socialist who hates this country and will do anything possible to help destroy the Republic. While I sincerely love the Indian immigrant community in this country. I am very involved with the Indo-American Chamber in several cities and know what a positive message they bring. Unfortunately there is a faction of Indians in this country who prefer Socialism and dislike Constitutional Republics. She is one of them.

          2. “Nonsense, it’s Doherty, 2-chilli, and then KMW. That’s my impression of the ancap scale, anyway.”


      2. I understand continued pot smoking can heightened a type of psychosis in which progressive twits think they are libertarians.

    2. Where is Barrack Hussein Obama when we most need him. It was so much better having him groveling to dictators and apologizing for all our sins as the worst country ever. I so miss putting America last.

    3. Where is Barrack Hussein Obama when we most need him. It was so much better having him groveling to dictators and apologizing for all our sins as the worst country ever. I so miss putting America last.

    4. Where is Barrack Hussein Obama when we most need him. It was so much better having him groveling to dictators and apologizing for all our sins as the worst country ever. I so miss putting America last.

    5. Where is Barrack Hussein Obama when we most need him. It was so much better having him groveling to dictators and apologizing for all our sins as the worst country ever. I so miss putting America last.

  3. and try and change

    Why do you people constantly make this error? It’s ‘try to’ not ‘try and’.

    1. What do you want, good grammar or good taste?

      1. It doesn’t really matter if I’m not going to get either, does it?

        1. Well then, please be my guest and go and try and change it then!

          In passing, I will note that you inverted the antecedent prepositional suppository clause of your past-tense hypotenuse, but I am generally in favor of letting the small stuff slide…

          What I REALLY meant to say is, ending a sentence with a preposition is an error, up with which I will not put!


          1. Bravo, Most Righteous Feelz!

            It is a syntactical error of the highest magnitude to terminate a sentence with a preposition.

            1. Yes!

              And mutherfor, as I was trying to explain to my least favorite of all my legions of TSA agents, “Please do NOT touch my subjunctive!!!”

            2. More severe than a split infinitive? I hear it is a capital crime in some jurisdictions.

      2. I want good grammar that tastes good.

    2. It’s not an error, it’s vernacular English. I’m sorry you’re ignorant of things you pretend to know about.

      1. Are you still mad about the bitchfight you got in last night with another troll? It was pretty humorous.

        1. No I’m pointing out that you’re ignorant.

          Read bro.

          1. You could have just said yes.

            1. I’m sorry you’re mad that I pointed out your ignorance.

              1. OK

                1. It’s cool, it’s normal for people to get mad when their ignorance is pointed out like yours was.

                  Just try and do better.

        2. That debacle between Hihn and Tulpa last night was a sad example of what this commenting board is becoming. A cat fight in an insane asylum over the last cup of expired apple sauce.

          1. Don’t forget your accompanying moralizing and tiresome bitching.

            1. Yes, Tulpa, humor requires understanding how to connect with another human being and to see things from a perspective different than your own. That’s why you are so terrible at it.

              1. By the way your reply was a “non-sequitor” lololol

              2. Not that he-who-shall-not-be-named is actually human.

          2. A cat fight in an insane asylum over the last cup of expired apple sauce.


          3. Hihn should really consider harming himself.

        3. Which story was the bitchfight? I need to kill some time…

          1. Some dumbass was trolling so I trolled him back.

            It’s not worth revisiting, and one wonders why these two are so butthurt about it.

          2. The one about Jordan Peterson. Tulpa got bitchslapped which is why he’s running around like a broke-dick dog today trying to reestablish his cred.

            1. See? I make fun of his mom being a cumdumpster and he cries about me.

              It’s fucking sad.

              1. To be fair, you are both retarded.

      2. A.C. Doyle used it.

        1. Yeah, I know…doctors’ prescriptions are illegible.

  4. One of my many pet peeves is when people use words without understanding their meaning. Dalmia, being an all purpose half wit, does this quite often. She does it here by misusing the term “empire”.

    The US has an “empire” only in the sense that it acts as the gaurantor of security for large areas of the globe. The US doesn’t rule colonies the way older empires did. But, the argument is that the influence and power it obtains by being a guarantor of the security of so many nations, it effectively has an empire. I am not sure I buy that argument but it is not an unreasonable argument. If the US doens’t have an “empire” in every aspect, it without question has the expense of having one because of its desire to act as guarantor for the security of so many places.

    So Trump tearing up treaties and telling countries they can no longer rely on the US as their gurantor of their security and will have to defend themselves, is dismantling the US empire. Having a large and robust military is not the same thing as having an empire. At the very least, a writer has the obligation of understanding their own position. And this is an obligation Dalmia consistently fails to meet. She just emotes. She doesn’t think.

    1. Further to your point:

      “The German government is poised to renege on its pledge to raise military spending, the latest gesture of defiance by Chancellor Angela Merkel toward President Donald Trump.

      If confirmed at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, the move would mark a fresh step in the gradual estrangement between the U.S. and its erstwhile loyal European ally and comes after Mr. Trump’s repeated attacks of North Atlantic Treaty Organization leaders for not meeting a 2% military-spending target.”…..552922721?

      It’s an American “empire” that begs its closest allies to provide for their own national defense.

      1. That is because being a part of the American “empire” has meant that you could have free access to American markets with no duty to open yours to American products and could rely on America to defend you as you openly worked against American interests and loathed the nation and its people. Not a bad deal if you can get it. And certainly not one that a place like Germany is going to give up voluntarily.

      2. If America is an empire, it is the absolute worst empire in history. We have recently had arguably the greatest military advantage of any country or empire in history, yet we do use it to get involved in regional disputes and naive military interventions instead of military conquests. Is it bad still? Sure. But we need a new word for it. “Empire” just doesn’t work.

        1. “Sumpire”?

          1. “Limpire”?

      3. Germany (and all NATO countries) pay their share of expenses for NATO. NATO is what defends them.

        The 2% is about projecting European force OUTSIDE Europe. They are not interested in that – and they view that as old-fashioned ‘imperialism’ (if they were to do that for their own interests) or ‘tribute’ (if they were to do that to serve US interests)

        1. “Germany (and all NATO countries) pay their share of expenses for NATO.”


          1. According to this text which is the official document from NATO, you are dead wrong and the 2% is explicitly for defense, and definitely NOT for “projecting European force OUTSIDE Europe” as you claim.

            NPR describes the situation as it is now

            “There is no ledger that maintains accounts of what countries pay and owe,” says former Obama administration National Security Council staffer Aaron O’Connell. “NATO is not like a club with annual membership fees.”

            NATO members did make a commitment four years ago to spend at least 2 percent of their GDP on defense by 2024. Just nine of the military alliance’s 29 members are expected to reach or surpass that target this year.”

          2. NATO

            NATO itself splits that funding into buckets:
            Direct – stuff hierarchically within the NATO organization itself

            Indirect (Rule 5 activated) – stuff hierarchically within each nation but that is required for ‘collective defense’ under the treaty terms – right now this is only NATO/ISAF/Resolute Support ops in Afghanistan

            Indirect (non-Rule 5 but existing now) – stuff hierarchically within each nation but is not required even though NATO itself has approved operations – right now this includes operations in Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Turkey and non-ISAF Afghanistan (previously Libya).

            Indirect (non-Rule 5 but an expanded capability if everyone did 2%) – stuff hierarchically within each nation that would enable NATO to approve more operations or expand existing operations. Those would ALL be outside Europe.

            NO ONE (esp not the US) has any interest in putting any of their forces inside NATO itself. NO ONE has any interest in subordinating their national army to some other nation’s generals in fighting wars outside NATO territory. Even within EU – in a hypothetical purely-European army, Germany doesn’t trust France that they wouldn’t get the EU involved in former French colonies in Africa.

            Is there some operational free-loading? Yes. Is anyone serious about fixing that? No. It’s all Kabuki.

      4. ” its erstwhile loyal European ally”

        Germany was occupied after being defeated in WWII, and has been a US protectorate since. They’ve been bitching and carping under the freedom and security we’ve provided for them for decades.

        Time for them to provide for their own security.

    2. I might add that “empire” suggests there’s an emperor, and Trump ain’t no emperor. He’s been repeatedly frustrated by Congress. He’s even been undermined by figures within his own party, from John McCain undermining him on foreign policy before he even came to office to Rand Paul and others refusing to give him ObamaCare reform.

      If the British had an “empire”, at least they had a queen who ruled places like Africa and India. We have nothing of the sort–certainly not because Trump is president.

      1. The British empire LOL.

        Its a reality show. The Brits are dopes

      2. The Deep State is our collective Emperor, not Trump.

        But there’s still time in Trump’s administration to overthrow the Deep State.


    3. Shorter John: my own personal definitions for words are the only ones that matter. Anyone that uses a different definition is a half wit.

      1. What’s your definition of “empire”?

      2. Doesn’t seem to be John’s personal definition. John seems to be using the generally accepted and dictionary definition of the word “empire”:

        1a(1) : a major political unit having a territory of great extent or a number of territories or peoples under a single sovereign authority especially : one having an emperor as chief of state
        (2) : the territory of such a political unit
        b : something resembling a political empire especially : an extensive territory or enterprise under single domination or control
        2 : imperial sovereignty, rule, or dominion

        What definition are you using again?

        1. I am using Ron Paul’s definition.

      3. No. I am using the definition of “empire” used by those who claim the US is one. The US doens’t have colonies or directly rule nations the way older empires did. So to say it is an empire, you have to define empire to means something other than that that includes things the US is actually doing. And the way you do that is to define “empire” to mean as I define it.

      4. As I noted last night in the Jordan Peterson thread in response to post by Diane, John’s criticism, generally, of Reason scribes is accurate and credible because he measures the substance and the tone of a given writer’s column against libertarian principles.

        Yes, John is not an ancap; nor, does he profess to be a libertarian. Nevertheless, he is certainly capable of assessing whether Robby or the Jacket or Dalmia’s screeds square with libertarian precepts.

        Last night in his piece, Robby’s virtue signaling was purely gratuitous – he did not need to add that he doesn’t much agree with Peterson. It served no purpose and therefore, he should be hammered.

    4. That is a distinction without a difference. The American people are profoundly uninterested in the trappings and pomp that accrue to being the center of an overt empire. We don’t care who speaks English or who uses the dollar or where the sun never sets. And we don’t have a monarchy which is where those titles of empire would rest.

      Which COULD mean that we would prevent such a thing, but we are also profoundly uninterested in that as well. Short of our own Napoleon deciding to declare himself Emperor. I’d argue that the main reason Congress has been so willing to just hand over unchecked power to the Presidency for a century now is precisely because Americans don’t truthfully care about any of that – as long as we can maintain a fictional narrative that America is exceptional and unique and therefore definitionaly CAN’T have an empire because we can’t have an emperor because we can’t have a monarch. We’re special.

      We DO what empires have always done. And with the exception of our government now naming ‘America’ – ‘Homeland’ – for purposes of defense (which has now been accepted by Americans), we’ve done so without the previous monarchical trappings that required the term ’empire’.

      1. If all of that is true, then Trump is reducing that empire. You seem to have missed the entire point of what I was saying.

        1. No he isn’t. He is not remotely reducing American hegemony or the projection of our power around the world. That is the core necessity of an empire (regardless of whether it can be labelled a monarchic true ’empire’ or is the rarer in-all-but-name) and the core thing that would have to be reversed if we were ‘reducing that’.

          idk what his actual goal is – nor does he need one if he’s just thinking transactionally.

          1. Telling other countries to be more able to defend themselves necessarily reduces US hegonomy. Moreover, the ability to project power alone is not what makes an empire even by this screwy definition. The ability to project power just makes the US a great power.

            1. You are assuming your own conclusion.

              They aren’t ‘defending themselves’ if THEY AREN’T THE ONES BEING THREATENED. What the US is actually saying is that everyone else should chip in to pay for military endeavors that are defined to be in the US interest and which will be controlled by the US.

              And yes – that is the actions of an ’empire’. Best (maybe only) example of an empire that was NOT a monarchic ’empire’ was the Delian League under Athens. That started as ‘collective defense’ against the Persians. Where everyone contributed – and kept contributing after Persia stopped being a threat – so Athens used that ‘tribute’ to counter Sparta instead. Which is why historians now call that the Athenian Empire.

              the ability to project power alone

              not talking about the ability to project power. I’m talking about ACTUALLY projecting power.

  5. Oops! I’ve spent the last several weeks arguing that, at Putin’s direction, Drumpf was pursuing a foreign policy of cowardice and retreat. I repeatedly denounced his planned Syria withdrawal as a reckless “cut and run.”

    Now I learn that Drumpf actually isn’t doing the things I criticized him for???!! Hmmmmm. I stand corrected. Disregard my previous foreign policy comments. (Except the parts about how Drumpf serves Russia’s interests and Hillary would have been better ? those are of course still true.)

    1. Trump’s “America First,” thus, isn’t so much a departure from neo-conservatism as a different?and worse?version of it.

      OK, this is consistent with what I’ve been saying. The neocons of the Bush years were clearly better than the Drumpf regime. Drumpf has unleashed violence against black and brown bodies that dwarfs anything Bush did in Iraq.


      1. So, what’s in that paper bag you’re holding? Paint or glue?

        1. Meth I think

        2. Painted glue?

        3. makes great combo.

  6. Trump says we are going to fully withdraw from Syria. Democrats, the Pentagon, our allies, retards everywhere (redundant?) all throw hissy fits. Trump faces massive opposition including threats of resignation. Trump says Jesus hell OK we’ll keep some presence. Dalmia says Trump wants to expand the empire, he bad.


    1. Trump is trying to expand the empire. That is why all of the people who support that empire such as it is hate him and are doing everything they can to stop him.

      This is what Dalmia thinks passes for rational thought.

    2. “Trump says”

      That’s the problem. Trump talks a good game, but his actions often fail to back it up. I don’t care how much I like what somebody says when they lack the skills or commitment to actually follow through. The Banana Republicans are constantly telling me about how strong Trump is, so why does he constantly cave when the ‘tards throw their hissy fits? They tell me how smart he is, so why does he keep appointing people whose agendas are incompatible with what he claims to want?

      About the only places I see Trump following up his words with actions are trade and immigration. Why does he only grow a pair in support of his worst, stupidest policies?

  7. i don’t think Trump has ever claimed to be an isolationist however the left has and just like everything else the left claims about him has turned out to questionable

    1. Not an isolationist.

      Not looking for an Empire to rule, but willing to serve as global cop protecting the international order, and probably willing to help knock off an enemy regime or two should the opportunity arise, but without invasion/occupation. Willing to make countries pay a price for being enemies of the US, and push our allies to pony up for the benefits of international order and security we provide them.

      Not harmless to our enemies. Not patsies to our friends.
      America First.

  8. I actually think that Trump is one of those guys that at a lumberjack contest, would win the log rolling event in the pond every time. He can reverse spin faster than you can and he can throw you farther off balance than you can throw him. And he waves to the crowd while doing it!

  9. This chick is a fucking idiot.

  10. tearing up existing treaties without signing new ones.

    Using CNN as the guilded truth, the only Treaty Trump is “tearing up” is the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

    I don’t know much about the reasons why, and I have heard very little in the news about it because the greatest threat to humanity was his withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord which, was not a treaty, nor was the Iran Nuclear Deal– or pretty much everything else on the list.

    1. The Russians have been violating the IRNFT for years. Trump is just recognizing reality rather than pretending words and treaties have magic powers over reality. Our foreign policy establishment is about the magic power of words more than anything else. They honestly believe that having a treaty is a good thing in itself such that it doesn’t matter if one side is ignoring it.

    2. He also tore up the Paris Climate Treaty and the Iran Nuclear Treaty, but to pretend either of those were really treaties, you’d have to pretend that they were ratified by the Senate.

      1. Don’t be such a fuddy-duddy. A few unnamed individuals making international bargains on behalf of 320 million people is forward thinking!

  11. What is the point of this chick being a writer on Reason?

    I guess open border support is the only criterion?

    1. Diversity of thought!

    2. A mole of the Alt-Right tasked with discrediting “libertarian” immigration policy.

  12. What is the point of this chick being a writer on Reason?

    I guess open border support is the only criterion?

    1. Open borders are the only thing Reason really cares about.

      1. Then why are all there all these other articles about all these other topics on the front page right now?

        1. Writing articles is not the same thing as caring. There is a concept called revealed preference versus stated preference. Reason has all kinds of stated preferences. But it only has one preference that it will take at the expense of all other preferences and that is open borders. You can hold any view you like and still be acceptable to reason as long as you are pro open borders. And if you are not pro open borders, reason isn’t going to publish you no matter how Libertarian you are on other subjects.

          1. Lol. John has a direct view into the hearts of all the Reason writers. Please demonstrate how the Reason writers have revealed they only care about open borders.

            1. I know the difference between a metaphysical certainty and a reasonable inference.

              Why do you think otherwise?

      2. It’s certainly one of their more voluminous topics and is definitely one of their bigger priorities. When something happens regarding immigration, you can bet there will be an article about it. Not so much about many other topics libertarians would care about.

  13. It is difficult to see President Trump as anything other than a disaster on the foreign front. I attribute a lot of the problems to the fact he is lazy and unfocused. Our relations with other countries take long term strategies and instead we have a day trader running the show. It is not even that we are still talking empire it is that that empire is an unfocused mess. We have troops deployed without purpose. He talking to other leaders like he trying to sell them a box of Trump steaks. All we can hope for is that he doesn’t start a new war that will last for another 20 years.

    1. Trump was a day trader?

      For the love of god, shutup4ever

    2. How exactly is he a disaster? If he hasn’t succeeded in ending wars, he at least has succeeded in not starting new ones, which is more than any President since Carter can say. Meanwhile, he got us out of Obama’s horrific Iran deal and has forced North Korea to the negotiating table, which while it still hasn’t panned out is still an improvement over what he inherited. When is the last time he lobbed a missile over North Korea?

      Trump has been a success abroad.

      1. What was the problem with the Iran Treaty? It was a multinational treaty that has kept the Iranians from developing nuclear weapons. It also reached out to moderates in the Iranian government. The exact people we want to work with in that country. Yes, I know that everyone criticized the treaty, but I also noticed that most of them wanted to stay in the treaty. I believe most foreign experts knew it was a good deal, but did not want to give President Obama credit. President Trump bailed on it because he had a bad day an wanted to make news. No, he has no successes in the field of foreign affairs.

        1. What was the problem with the Iran Treaty?

          it was worthless and did nothing to stop them from getting the bomb mostly. Beyond that, they started breaking it from day one. All that treaty did was give them the money to spend a few years developing their missile technology to fit with the atomic weapons they would build once the period of the treaty ended. It was a disaster and close to treason on Obama and Congress’ part in signing and aproving it.

          And our leaving the treaty and the resulting sanctions has tanked the Iranian economy making the Mullahs much weaker and the government much closer to collapse, which are very good things.

          1. ” Beyond that, they started breaking it from day one.”

            No they did not break the treaty. On January 29, 2019 the Intelligence Chiefs for the Trump Administration reported to Congress that the Iranians were in compliance with the treaty. There is no reason to break this treaty. It was a dumb move.

          2. “What was the problem with the Iran Treaty?”

            Other than the part of it not being a treaty?

  14. Am I to admire the previous president starting multiple illegal wars and signing treaties with terrorists?

    “Sure, he’s better than the last guy, who I’ll pretend we at Reason didn’t cream ourselves over, but let’s ignore all that because he cares more about the brown people in the border than outside it”

    1. “Fighting the military industrial complex is easy” – Libertarians who haven’t done anything for anyone

  15. A publication that printed articles from Brink Lindsey in support of the Iraq War and then pushed Russia Fever Dreams along with having a front page cover about imposing sanctions against Russia for lolz is not really in a position to pretend as if they care about foreign policy. Cosmos have never cared about murdering people overseas if it upsets their need for “respectability”.

    1. I still find it hard to believe that there is a real person named “Brink”.

      1. It was supposed to be “Drink” but mom and dad were both pretty hammered at the time and the naming ceremony did not go well.

        1. Ah, Night Angel. A little obscure

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  17. Reading this, if I didn’t know any better, I’d walk away from the article thinking the libertarian principle in foreign policy is that the federal government should be highly co-ordinated with other nation states to impose cosmopolitan technocratic standards while leveraging national resources in broad multi-lateral strategies. That isn’t what it is, Shikha. It never has been.

    1. You’re not down with the open borders progressive/ left libertarian utopia?

      Someone’s not getting a unicorn when the globalists distribute them

      1. But then what would I eat?

    2. Ruling International Bureaucracy First!

  18. It’s America first until it involves the evangelical’s pet country, Israel. So, there goes the Iran treaty, there goes Yemen, and anything else that makes Netanyahu uncomfortable, which I imagine would include taking our occupation forces out of any country that is unfriendly to Israel.

  19. America has no empire. Fact is, if the US had conducted itself these many years as an actual imperial power, it would have been far more successful in its alleged aims.

    It ain’t, and it hasn’t.

    You want to see real empire in action, check out the British. Hell, even the French and the Germans knew how to implement a pervasive hegemony, suppress and simultaneously co-opt local groups, and commercially exploit vast areas of the globe.

    The US is a feckless Neo-Maxi Zoomdweebie by comparison.

  20. “America First is a belligerent doctrine to get the world to do his bidding.”
    “I hate self government, especially for Americans.”

    “Trump wants these countries to bear their military burden so that America’s resources are freed up to deal with China, a country that for some reason has always rubbed Trump the wrong way.”

    Once upon a time, Reason writers wouldn’t have found it a mystery why a US President would oppose a communist dictatorship which posed the chief threat to world freedom, and would have joined in the opposition.

    Reason’s increasing bootlicking of Dictator for Life Xi is revolting.

  21. “Worst of all, Trump doesn’t just want to use the American military to accomplish his foreign policy objectives; he is also enlisting the American economy, wielding sanctions and tariffs like weapons.”
    “Corporate Profits Uber Alles! Corporate Profits are Holy and Sacred! Better to nuke foreign countries than cut into the profits of the globalist oligarchs!”

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