Return to Transcripts main page
LEGAL VIEW WITH ASHLEIGH BANFIELD
Donald Trump Delivers Speech On His Foreign Policy Philosophy. Aired 12:30-1p ET
Aired April 27, 2016 - 12:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
[12:30:05] ZALMY KHALILZAD, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO U.N. AFGHANISTAN & IRAQ: -- the primaries wind down, Donald Trump delivers a much anticipated speech on his foreign policy philosophy. This is a critical moment for America and for the world.
Since the end of World War II, some 70 years now, the United States has supported a world order that has precluded war among the major powers. We have prevented hostile hegemony (ph) from dominating critical regions, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. We did so by maintaining a favorable balance of power, by creating expanding and sustaining strong alliances and by seeking areas of cooperation and reconciliation with rivals. But while war among major powers have been precluded we have been embroiled in several costly and protective conflict and the world has become more complex, unstable and dangerous. One in which rival powers are more aggressive, hostile regimes are pursuing weapons of mass destruction including nuclear weapons, long range missiles, and cybercapabilities and the threat of terrorism and extremism is acute.
Indeed, the international order, the state system created by the west is, itself, under attack by the revisionist states and rising powers with alternative concepts of order. As often seen in our history, after a period of great exertion during the first decade of the 21st century post- 9/11, we are now in a period of withdrawal and retreat. And things can still get a lot worse. We have a sluggish economy, growing inequality, rising debt, and debt service. Our infrastructure needs attention and the demand for domestic program is growing. Pressure is rising to reduce expenditure on national security at a time when we need to pay more attention to our security needs.
Against this backdrop, the presidential primaries have shown that our country is deeply conflicted and polarized about America's purpose and mission around the world. Mr. Trump has been a provocative voice in this debate. His message has resonated with a significant part of our electorate. The National Interest has invited Mr. Trump to elaborate upon his distinctive views about America's role in the world and explain how he would lead America as commander-in-chief. We will extend similar invitations to the other candidates. We're delighted Mr. Trump is here.
Please join me in welcoming him. Thank you very much.
DONALD TRUMP, GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you. And thank you to the Center for National Interests for honoring me with this invitation. It truly is a great honor.
I'd like to talk today about how to develop a new foreign policy direction for our country, one that replaces randomness with purpose, ideology with strategy, and chaos with peace. It's time to shake the rust off America's foreign policy. It's time to invite new voices and new visions into the fold. Something we have to do.
[12:35:06] The direction I will outline today will also return us to a timeless principle. My foreign policy always puts the interests of the American people and American security above all else. It has to be first. Has to be. That will be the foundation of every single decision that I will make. America --
Thank you. America first will be the major and overriding theme of my administration. But to chart our path forward, we must first briefly take a look back. We have a lot to be proud of in the 1940s, we saved the world. The greatest generation beat back the NAZIs and Japanese Imperialist. Then we saved the world again. This time, from totalitarianism and communism, the Cold War, it lasted for decades but guess what, we won and we won big.
Democrats and Republicans working together got Mr. Gorbachev to heed the words of President Reagan, our great president, when he said, "Tear down this wall". History --
History will not forget what he did, very special, special man and president. Unfortunately, after the Cold Car, our foreign policy veered badly off course. We failed to develop a new vision for a new time. In fact, as time went on, our foreign policy began to make less and less sense. Logic was replaced with foolishness and arrogance which led to one foreign policy disaster after another. They just kept coming and coming. We went from mistakes in Iraq to Egypt to Libya to President Obama's line in the sand in Syria. Each of these actions have helped to throw the region into chaos and gave ISIS the space it needs to grow and prosper. Very bad.
It all began with a dangerous idea that we could make western democracies out of countries that had no experience or interest in becoming a western democracy. We tore up what institutions they had and then we're surprised at what we unleashed. Civil war, religious fanaticism, thousands of Americans, and just killed lives, lives, lives, lives, lives, wasted, horribly wasted. Many trillions of dollars were lost as a result. The vacuum was created that ISIS would fill. Iran, too, would rush in and fill that void much to their really unjust enrichment. They have benefited so much, so sadly for us. Our foreign policy is a complete and disaster. No vision, no purpose. No direction. No strategy. Today, I want to identify five main weaknesses in our foreign policy.
First, our resources are totally overextended. President Obama has weakened our military by weakening our economy. He's crippled us with wasteful spending, massive debt, low growth, a huge trade deficit and open borders. Our manufacturing trade deficit with the world is now approaching $1 trillion a year. We're rebuilding other countries while weakening our own. Ending the theft of American jobs will give us resources we need to rebuild our military, which has to happen, and regain our financial independence and strength. I am the only person running for the presidency who understands this. And this is a serious problem. I am the only one, believe me, I know them all, I am the only one that knows how to fix it.
Secondly, our allies are not paying their fair share. And I've been talking about this recently a lot. Our allies must contribute toward their financial, political, and human costs. Have to do it, of our tremendous security burden. But many of them are simply not doing so. They look at the United States as weak and forgiving and feel no obligation to honor their agreements with us.
[12:40:03] In NATO, for instance, only four of 28 other member countries besides America are spending the minimum required two percent of GDP on defense. We have spent trillions of dollars over time on planes, missiles, ships, equipment, building up our military to provide a strong defense for Europe and Asia. The countries we are defending must pay for the cost of this defense. And if not, the U.S. must be prepared to let these countries defend themselves. We have no choice.
The whole world will be safer if our allies do their part to support our common defense and security. A Trump Administration will lead a free world that is properly armed and funded and funded beautifully.
Thirdly, our friends are beginning to think they can't depend on us. We've had a president who dislikes our friends and bows to our enemies, something that we've never seen before in the history of our country. He negotiated a disastrous deal with Iran and then we watched them ignore its terms, even before the ink was dry. Iran cannot be allowed to have a nuclear weapon, cannot be allowed. Remember that, cannot be allowed to have a nuclear weapon.
And under a Trump administration, will never, ever be allowed to have that nuclear weapon.
All of this, without even mentioning the humiliation of the United States with Iran's treatment of our 10 captured sailors. So vividly, I remember that day. In negotiation, you must be willing to walk. The Iran deal, like so many of our worst agreements, is the result of not being willing to leave the table. When the other side knows you're not going to walk, it becomes absolutely impossible to win. You can't win. At the same time, your friends need to know that you will stick by the agreements that you have with them. You've made that agreement. You have to stand by it.
And the world will be a better place. President Obama gutted our missile defense program then abandoned our missile defense plans with Poland and the Czech Republic. He supported the ouster of a friendly regime in Egypt that had long standing peace treaty with Israel and then helped bring the Muslim brotherhood to power in its place.
Israel, our great friend, and the one true democracy in the Middle East has been snubbed and criticized by an administration that lacks moral clarity. Just a few days ago, Vice President Biden, again, criticized Israel, a force for justice and peace, for acting as an impatient peace area in the region. President Obama has not been a friend to Israel. He's treated Iran with tender love and care and made it a great power. Iran has indeed become a great, great power in just a very short period of time because of what we've done, all of the expense and all at the expense of Israel, our allies in the region, and very importantly, the United States itself.
We picked fights with our oldest friends and now they're starting to look elsewhere for help. Remember that. Not good.
Fourth, our rivals no longer respect us. In fact, they're just as confused as our allies. But an even bigger problem is that they don't take us seriously anymore. Truth is, they don't respect us. When President Obama landed in Cuba on Air Force One, no leader was there, nobody, to greet him, perhaps an incident without precedent in the long and prestigious history of Air Force one.
Then amazingly, the same thing happened in Saudi Arabia. It's called no respect, absolutely no respect. Do you remember when the president made a long and expensive trip to Copenhagen Denmark to get the Olympics for our country, and after this unprecedented effort, it was announced that the United States came in fourth, fourth place. The president of the United States making this trip, unprecedented, comes in fourth place.
[12:45:15] He should have known the result before making such an embarrassing commitment. We were laughed at all over the world, as we have been many, many times. The lists of humiliations go on and on and on. President Obama watches helplessly as North Korea increases its aggression and expands further and further with its nuclear reach. Our president has allowed China to continue its economic assault on American jobs and wealth, refusing forced trade deals and apply leverage on China necessary to reign in North Korea. We have the leverage. We have the power over China, economic power and people don't understand that. And with that economic power, we can reign in and we can get them to do what they have to do with North Korea, which is totally out of control. He has even allowed China to steal government secrets with cyberattacks and engage in industrial espionage against the United States and its companies. We've led our rivals and challengers to think they can get away with anything. And they do. They do at will. It always happens. If president Obama's goal had been to weaken America, he could not have done a better job. Finally, American no longer has a clear understanding of our foreign
policy goals. Since the end of the Cold War, and the break-up of the Soviet Union, we've lacked a coherent foreign policy. One day, we're bombing Libya and getting rid of a dictator to force their democracy for civilians. The next day, we're watching the civilians suffer while that country falls and absolutely falls apart. Lives lost. Massive money's lost. The world is a different place. We're a humanitarian nation. But the legacy of the Obama/Clinton interventions will be weakness, confusion, and disarray. A mess. We've made the Middle East more unstable and chaotic than ever before. We left Christians subject to intense persecution and even genocide.
We have nothing to help the Christians. Nothing. And we should always be ashamed for that, for that lack of action. Our actions in Iraq, Libya, and Syria have helped unleash ISIS. And we're at war against Radical Islam but President Obama won't even name the enemy and unless you name the enemy, you will never, ever solve the problem.
Hillary Clinton also refuses to say the words Radical Islam, even as she pushes for a massive increase in refugees coming into our country. After Secretary Clinton's failed intervention in Libya, Islamic terrorists in Benghazi took down our consulate and killed our ambassador and three a brave Americans. Then instead of taking charge that night, Hillary Clinton decided to go home and sleep. Incredible.
Clinton blames it all on a video, an excuse that was a total lie, proven to be, absolutely a total lie. Our ambassador was murdered, and our secretary of state misled the nation. And by the way, she was not awake to take that call at 3:00 in the morning. And now ISIS is making millions and millions of dollars a week selling Libya oil and you know what? We don't blockade. We don't bomb. We don't do anything about it. It's almost as if our country doesn't even know what's happening, which could be a fact and could be true.
This will all change when I become president. To our friends and allies, I say, America is going to be strong again. America is going to be reliable again. It's going to be a great and reliable ally again. It's going to be a friend again.
[12:50:02] We're going to finally have a coherent foreign policy based upon American interests and the shared interests of our allies.
We're getting out of the nation-building business and instead, focusing on creating stability in the world. Our moments of greatest strength came when politics ended at the water's edge. We need a new rational American foreign policy. Informed by the best minds and supported by both parties and it will be by both parties, Democrats, Republicans, Independents, everybody, as well as by our close allies. This is how we won the Cold War and it's how we will win our new future struggles, which may be many, which may be complex, but we will win if I become president.
First, we need a long-term plan to halt this spread and reach of Radical Islam. Containing the spread of radical Islam must be a major foreign policy goal of the United States and indeed, the world. Events may require the use of military force, but it's also a philosophical struggle, like our long struggle in the Cold War. In this, we're going to be working very closely with our allies in the Muslim world. All of which are at risk from Radical Islamic violence, attacks, and everything else. It is a dangerous world, more dangerous now than it has ever been. We should work --
Thank you. We, should work together with any nation in the region that is threatened by the rise of Radical Islam. But this has to be a two- way street. They must also be good to us. Remember that. They have to be good to us. No longer one-way. It's now two-way. And remember, us and all we're doing, they have to appreciate what we've done to them. We're going to help, but they have to appreciate what we've done for them.
The struggle against Radical Islam also takes place in our homeland. There are scores of recent migrants inside our borders charged with terrorism. For every case known to the public, there are dozens and dozens more. We must stop importing extremism through senseless immigration policies. We have no ideas where these people are coming from. There's no documentation. There's no paperwork. There's nothing. We have to be smart. We have to be vigilant. A pause for reassessment will help us to prevent the next San Bernardino or, frankly, much worse, all you have to do is look at the World Trade Center and September 11th. One of the great catastrophes, and my opinion, the single greatest military catastrophe in the history of our country, worse than Pearl Harbor, because you take a look at what's happened and citizens were attacked as opposed to the military being attacked. One of the true great catastrophes.
And then there's ISIS. I have a simple message for them. Their days are numbered. I won't tell them where and won't tell them how. We must --
We must, as a nation, be more unpredictable. We are totally predictable. We tell everything. We're sending troops, we tell them. We're sending something else, we have a new conference. We have to be unpredictable. And we have to be unpredictable starting now. But they're going to be gone. ISIS will be gone if I am elected president and they'll be gone quickly. They will be gone very, very quickly.
Secondly, we have to rebuild our military, and our economy. The Russians and Chinese have rapidly expanded the military capability, but look at what's happened to us. Our nuclear weapons arsenal, our ultimate deterrent has been allowed to atrophy and is desperately in need of modernization and renewal and it has to happen immediately. [12:55:04] Our active duty armed forces have shrunk from two million
in 1991 to about 1.3 million today. The navy has shrunk from over 500 ships to 272 ships during this same period of time The Air Force about one-third smaller than 1991. Pilots flying B-52s in combat missions today, these planes are older than virtually everybody in this room. And what are we doing about this?
President Obama has proposed a 2017 defense budget that in real dollars cuts nearly 25 percent from what we were spending in 2011. Our military is depleted, and we're asking our generals and military leaders to worry about global warming. We will spend what we need to rebuild our military. It is the cheapest single investment we can make. We will develop, build, and purchase the best equipment known to mankind. Our military dominance must be unquestioned and I mean, unquestioned by anybody and everybody. But we will look for savings and spend our money wisely.
In this time of mounting debt, right now, we have so much debt that nobody even knows how to address the problem but I do. No one dollar can be wasted. Not one single dollar can we waste. We're also going to have to change our trade, immigration, and economic policies to make our economy strong again, and to put Americans first again. This will ensure that our own workers, right here in America, get the jobs and higher pay that will grow our tax revenues, increase our economic might as a nation, make us strong financially again. So, so important.
We need to think smarter about areas where our technological superiority, and no one comes close, gives us an edge. This includes 3D printing, artificial intelligence, and cyberwarfare.
A great country also takes care of its warriors. Our commitment to them is absolute, and I mean absolute. A Trump administration will give our servicemen and women the best equipment and support in the world when they serve and where they serve and the best care in the world when they return as veterans and they come back home to civilian life. Our veterans --
Our veterans have not been treated fairly or justly. These are our great people. And we must treat them fairly. We must even treat them really, really well, and that will happen under the Trump administration.
Finally, we must develop a foreign policy based on American interests. Businesses do not succeed when they lose sight of their core interests and neither do countries. Look at what happened in the 1990s. Our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania -- and this was a horrible period of time for us, we're attacked. And 17 brave sailors killed on the USS call. And what did we do? It seemed we put more effort to adding China into the World Trade Organization, which has been a total disaster for the United States. Frankly, we spent more time on that than we did in stopping Al Qaeda. We even had an opportunity to take out Osama Bin L:aden and we didn't do it. And then we got hit at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Again, the worst attack on our country and its history.
Our foreign policy goals must be based on America's core national security interests. And the following will be my priorities. In the Middle East, our goals must be, and I mean must be, to defeat terrorists and promote regional stability. Not radical change. We need to be clear sighted about the groups that will never be anything other than enemies. And believe me, we have groups do, they will be the enemy. We have to be smart enough to recognize who those groups are, who those people are and not help them.