Donald Trump believes Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy has caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. Here’s the transcript of his interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday.
Trump: You look at what she did with Libya, what she did with Syria. Look at Egypt, what happened with Egypt, a total mess…We don’t back any of our allies…She was truly, if not the, one of the worst Secretaries of State in the history of the country. She talks about me being dangerous, she’s killed hundreds of thousands of people with her stupidity.
Chris Wallace: What do you mean, she’s killed hundreds of thousands?
Trump: She was secretary of state, Obama was president…Look at what happened. The Middle East is a total disaster under her. She traveled back and forth, but look at all the problems. Look at, as an example, Iraq. Total disaster. They didn’t get us in, but they got us out badly. We spend $2T, thousands of life, wounded warriors all over…
Trump’s criticism is valid, but my only problem is he isn’t explaining what his alternative would be. If Trump is talking about not getting involved in foreign wars the U.S. has no business being involved in, then great, I agree with him. But it doesn’t appear that’s what Trump is talking about. His comments about “they got us out badly” when it came to Iraq, shows he was in favor of staying in. There will be some who say Trump has a point, but the Iraq issue can’t just be pinned on keeping U.S. troops in the country. The strategy used by leaders like General David Petraeus during the “surge” was horrific because all it did was give weapons to Sunnis. Those same Sunnis are now supporting ISIS. ISIS also got more power because former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki decided to crack down on Sunni dissent. Saddam Hussein was Sunni, while Maliki is Shiite. The chaos was going to come one way or another, so just blaming Obama and Clinton doesn’t really work. Nor does it work to blame George W. Bush for going to War with Iraq in the first place. The U.S. policy in the Middle East has been muddled for decades.
Libya and Syria are even more of a conundrum. Trump said during the second GOP debate he thought Syria and ISIS should just fight each other and the U.S. should stay out of it. That’s a good policy to have because there’s no reason for the U.S. to be involved. But he’s also pushed for the U.S. to bomb ISIS and take away their oil. So it seems like he’s being a little inconsistent by saying, “we shouldn’t be involved,” then “bomb the hell out of them.” What’s going on in Syria is awful, but no amount of troops or bombs would stop it. It’s not the U.S.’s fight and never should be. It’d be curious to find out what Trump would have done with Libya and whether he would have been involved in it or not. If Trump thinks NATO shouldn’t have done airstrikes in Libya, and just waited to see what happened, then he’s right If he thinks NATO should have sent troops to Libya to maintain “law and order,” then he’s dead wrong. I’ve already written why staying in Libya was a bad idea, and to suggest otherwise is fruitless.
Egypt is even more of an issue because the U.S. wasn’t really involved in it. They pushed Hosni Mubarak to allow peaceful protests and to help with the transition, but didn’t get involved militarily. Unless Trump wanted the U.S. to get involved militarily to defend Mubarak, then his criticism on Obama and Clinton’s Egypt policy doesn’t make a ton of sense. Trump needs to be more clear in saying why he thinks Clinton has killed “hundreds of thousands” before making the statement again.
This isn’t defending the Obama Administration’s foreign policy because it’s been inconsistent. The “apology tour,” the decision to get involved in Libya and Syria, the deteriorating relationship with Israel, and pulling out of Iraq (then going back in whilst denying being “at war”) all deserve criticism. I’m just not 100% sure it’s smart for Trump to sit there and say Hillary Clinton has, “killed hundreds of thousands of people with her stupidity.” It’s doubtful comments like this will do anything but get his supporters more amped up than they are. Outside of that, it gets him attention which is maybe what he wants.