As happy as I’ve been about Donald Trump winning the presidential election, I’ve got to admit that reports about the likely front-runners for the position of Secretary of State have put a damper on my mood. It turns out notorious warmongers like John Bolton, Rudy Giuliani and even friggin’ Mitt Romney are considered the top contenders for the job. And while Trump’s own foreign policy instincts are generally good, having an advocate for perpetual war in charge of foreign policy cannot possibly bode well.
We’ve already seen this happen with the current president – Obama originally campaigned as a firm opponent of the Iraq war who wanted to focus on nation building at home – but due in no small part to elevating warmonger like Hillary Clinton and then John Kerry to Secretary of State, his actual foreign policy has been aggressive and interventionist. Hell, even George W. Bush used to talk about a humble foreign policy prior to becoming president. Assuming that a pro-war Secretary of State, along with an extremely pro-war deep state, won’t be able to corrupt Donald Trump as well shows a dangerous level of complacency.
Thankfully, there are some encouraging signs as well, and none more so than Trump’s meeting with anti-war Democratic congresswoman and military veteran Tulsi Gabbard in a talk focused on foreign policy. I hadn’t actually heard about Tulsi Gabbard before this, despite being something of a political junkie, and I can understand why – her foreign policy views are definitely not something the pro-war Establishment and the MSM would want to see go mainstream.
First of all, Gabbard is 100% right about how the US should handle Syria’s civil war. She’s strongly opposed to arming the so-called Syrian rebels, correctly pointing out that they’re nothing but Islamists and terrorists.
I have long called for an end to arming &assisting the Syrian “rebels,” aka Al-Qaeda & allies, affiliates &offshootshttps://t.co/jKWxjmaEXr
— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) November 27, 2016
Furthermore, she categorically rejects the current obsession with removing Syria’s leader Bashar Assad, wisely pointing out that all the realistic alternatives to Assad are actually far worse:
“I don’t think Assad should be removed,” Gabbard said. “If Assad is removed and overthrown, ISIS, al Qaeda, Al Nustra, these Islamic extremist groups will walk straight in and take over all of Syria … they will be even stronger.”
Indeed, Gabbard has been right about Syria every step of the way, having opposed Obama’s 2013 plan to bomb the country, the US establishing any sort of no-fly zone/”safe zone” and warned about potential conflicts with Russia over the US’ idiotic Syria policy. Perhaps most impressively, she was one of only 3 (!) House representatives to vote against a resolution condemning the Syrian government’s violence against its own people, pointing out that such condemnations are mainly put out to pave the way for future interventions:
“Make no mistake, this is a War Bill – a thinly veiled attempt to use the rationale of ‘humanitarianism’ as a justification for overthrowing the Syrian government of Assad. Similar resolutions were used in the past as a justification for regime change wars to overthrow the governments of Iraq and Libya,” Gabbard said in a Monday statement.
This is clearly not just your average anti-war Democratic representative – her record reflects principled non-interventionism that’s closer to Ron Paul than 2008 Barack Obama. And it just gets better – Gabbard is a strong critic of not just the US alliance with Islamist Saudi Arabia, but also of the one with Pakistan. Indeed, in terms of foreign policy she really does seem to be the best of both worlds, in that she’s both strongly anti-war AND strongly anti-Islamist.
Gabbard as secretary of state would not just be preferable to the likes of Bolton, Giuliani and Romney – she’d make a fantastic SoS by any standard! Not to mention that the optics would be beautiful for Trump: A Democratic female, American Samoan, Hindu secretary of state would utterly demolish a lot of the Anti-Trump media narratives currently being spread, and with Gabbard having formerly been a strong supporter of Bernie Sanders, adding her to the Trump administration could help Trump win over a good few “Bernie Bros”. Furthermore, the fact that so many Republicans still subscribe to Neocon nonsense would mean that this is precisely the right place for a Democratic “unity” pick that could greatly benefit Trump politically.
However, the main reason for picking Gabbard is obviously the fact that she’s the best person for the job. I certainly don’t agree with her on social issues, but as secretary of state she’d be in charge of foreign policy, so that hardly matters. On foreign policy she clearly “gets it” like few other American politicians in my lifetime, and given her stated willingness to work with Trump he now has an unique opportunity to make one of the smartest deals of his life.
Even if Gabbard as Secretary of State proves impossible, Trump would do well to keep in touch with her, as her advice will be vital in countering the various warmongers that will be hard at work pressuring him into getting the US involved in more foreign conflicts. By any standard, not fighting foolish wars on behalf of Saudi Arabia, Israel or Turkey defines the principle of “America First” every bit as much as strong borders and smart trade policies. I believe that Trump understands this, and everything I’ve learned about Gabbard suggests that she’ll help ensure that he doesn’t lose his way on this issue, the way Obama did.