Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical left and Islamic terrorism.
Quick, what’s the Dem position on Syria? What about China?
Don’t bother. There was once a time when Democrats could discuss Syria, North Korea, the South China Sea, economic tensions in the European Union and the future of Africa. But that was before Trump.
Democrats don’t have a foreign policy anymore. They have a Trump policy.
Their only position on Syria or North Korea is that whatever President Trump is doing, is wrong. If Trump isn’t focused on a country and it can’t be tied into their Russia conspiracy theory, the Dems don’t care.
And the flip side of this dangerous geopolitical illiteracy is a new tendency to treat countries as enemies or friends based entirely on their relationship with President Trump. It’s not only Russia, which at least is actually hostile, but allies like Israel, the UAE and the Saudis whom the Democrats now obsessively hate.
This hostility isn’t based on any figment of a national interest. Instead if Trump is on a friendly terms with a country and its leaders, the Democrats decide that it’s an enemy state.
Ukraine was recently added to the Dem enemies list because Trump had sold it the missiles that Obama wouldn’t. Immediately the Dems decided that Ukraine, which was recently invaded by Russia, was really collaborating with Trump to cover-up his Russian ties. The conspiracy theory makes no political sense. Ukraine’s current government is as likely to collaborate in a Russian conspiracy as Israel is to announce a merger with Iran. But the Democrats no longer want to understand other countries on their own terms.
The motto of their domestic and international politics is, “You’re either with us or against us.” And by us, they don’t mean America. They mean only their own political faction’s treasonous war on Trump.
Pressuring foreign leaders to choose between the President of the United States and the Democrats is destructive, irresponsible and treasonous. It’s also an extension of the civil war that the left has been fighting since Trump took office. Echoing the Confederacy’s outreach to Europe, Democrat diplomats like Kerry urge EU and Muslim leaders to ally with them against the President of the United States.
These efforts however are not directed at new foreign policy goals, but protecting Obama’s old failed policies, like the Iran nuke scam and the Paris Agreement, from the Trump administration. Even the most blatant violations of the Logan Act by California’s Governor Brown and former Secretary of State Kerry have no vision other than protecting the legacy of the Democrats against democratic change.
It is ironic that neo-conservative Never Trumpers defected to the Democrats claiming they couldn’t trust Trump on foreign policy only to fall in with a movement that has no foreign policy. And now, leading figures like Max Boot and Jennifer Rubin, hardly write about foreign policy. Consumed by the political obsessions and geopolitical illiteracy of their new party, their foreign policy is denouncing Trump.
Foreign policy analysis in Dem circles now means cranking out farfetched conspiracy theories connecting the Russians to Trump through other countries, foreign businessmen and companies, while examining every one of his foreign policy decisions through the lens of the conspiracy theories of Mueller Inc.
If Trump sold missiles to Ukraine, it’s a plot to sabotage the Mueller investigation. That’s not the theory of some YouTube crank wearing tinfoil while licking an old globe. Senator Patrick Leahy and Senator Dick Durbin actually wrote a letter to the Prosecutor General of Ukraine accusing its government of “blocking cooperation with the Mueller probe” for “financial and military aid”. Not only is the Leahy/Durbin letter stupid, offensive and insulting. It drags a foreign government into their domestic dispute with Trump.
Why did Trump bomb Syria? Senator Martin Heinrich, who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, accused Trump of plotting to bomb Syria as part of a plot to fire someone at the Department of Justice.
"Are we really talking about Syria here, or are we talking about Syria because the White House doesn’t want to talk about the Department of Justice?" Senator Heinrich demanded.
Senator Heinrich, like Leahy and Durbin, would rather talk about Mueller than Syria.
Last year, the media was claiming that Trump would start a war with North Korea to distract from their investigation. So far they haven’t figured out how to accuse him of starting peace with North Korea to divert attention from the latest tidbit leaked by Mueller to the New York Times or the Washington Post.
(Both papers have theorized that Trump’s moves in Syria and Ukraine were about dodging Mueller.)
In March, John Brennan, Obama’s CIA boss, predicted Trump would engage in “military action against North Korea” as a “wag the dog” conspiracy to distract attention from firing Mueller or Rosenstein. Brennan is a living intelligence failure who was unaware that Trump had already agreed to direct talks.
But Brennan hedged his bets by suggesting that Iran might be an option. That’s the new talking point.
When the only thing you want to talk about is Mueller, then Syria, Iran, China and North Korea are unwelcome distractions from your conspiracy theories and fantasies of reversing the 2016 election. Crying “wag the dog” at every move the United States makes undermines our global credibility. It may cause China, North Korea and Iran to decide at a crucial moment that President Trump isn’t serious.
And that could easily lead to a war.
But to the Democrats, the rest of the world has become an unreal place. Other countries only matter as players in the domestic Dem political drama. The only cause they care about is defeating Trump. Obama built his foreign policy around weakening America for ideological reasons. His successors seem unable to go beyond weakening America as an unintentional side effect of their post-election bitterness.
The Clintons inaugurated a dangerous age of selfish geopolitical brinkmanship when their campaign manufactured the Russia conspiracy theory in a bid to justify government eavesdropping on the Trump campaign. The choice of Russia was likely accidental, but it escalated into political hysteria with their final defeat. And the international element turned the anger, conspiracy theories and witch hunts that are typical post-election bile into a new Cold War with Russia by blaming it for their electoral defeat.
The Clinton administration and the Clinton Foundation had always compressed foreign policy into personal self-interest. Money from Belgian fugitives, Chinese officials and Russian Uranium companies bought favors. Invading Libya was the perfect platform for a presidential run. Lying about landing under fire in Bosnia or negotiating peace in Northern Ireland would boost your resume even if they were lies.
The Clinton-Steele dossier which originated the Russia conspiracy theory began with the same lies while accusing Trump of doing the things that came naturally to Bill and Hillary. Its obsessive perversion and greed, laid out in random misspelled international locations, are Clintonesque. It’s not an indictment of Trump. Instead it’s a Rorschach blot that reveals how the Clintons saw the world.
And the Dem half of the country is now stuck in the alternate reality of the Clinton-Steele dossier.
The Clintons had no foreign policy. Just self-interest. It’s fitting that their final political act was burning down the country and leveling their party’s foreign policy to their narcissistic transactional solipsism.
While Trump deals with crises in North Korea, Iran, Syria, Venezuela and China, the Democrats are doing everything they can to sabotage him, not because they have another vision, but because they hate him. Their foreign policy has been reduced to anti-Trump petulance, to harassing the governments of Ukraine and Israel because they appear to be too friendly with Trump, to trying to start a war with Russia because they lost an election and to supporting Iran because it’s associated with Obama’s legacy.
That’s not just treasonous. It’s stupid.
After a century of being defined by the global visions of Woodrow Wilson, FDR and JFK, the Democrats have become a party limited by tribal anger and identity politics. Their map of the world now consists of places that hate Trump, that like Trump and where Trump once did business. And if they start another war, it won’t be because they love their country or care about the world, but because they hate Trump.