By Robert Reich
We are entering a new era of “America First” belligerence toward other nations, be they allies or potential threats. For example:
1. We now learn that last weekend Trump warned Mexican President Pena Nieto that he was ready to send U.S. troops to stop “bad hombres down there” if Mexico’s military can’t control them.
2. Trump also berated Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull for assuming the U.S. would follow through on its deal to take some refugees that had come to Australia.
3. Today Trump said “nothing is off the table” when it comes to a potential American response to Iran’s ballistic missile test. (Does this mean the U.S. is prepared to launch a nuclear missile against Iran?)
4. Trump’s national security adviser, Michael Flynn, today “officially” put Iran “on notice” after its ballistic missile test (it wasn’t clear what “on notice” means, either).
5. Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, got so charged up he even accused Iran of attacking a U.S. navy vessel, which would be an act of war — until Spicer was gently reminded by a member of the press that the attack was on a Saudi naval vessel, and it was perpetrated by Houthi rebels in Yemen. Spicer corrected himself.
6. At the United Nations, Trump’s U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, said the U.S. would be “taking names” of countries that “don’t have our back” (it wasn’t clear what this meant, either).
7. U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis threatened North Korea with an “effective and overwhelming” retaliation if the country decided to utilize its nuclear arsenal.
Foreign policy used to be a matter of complex negotiation and diplomacy. In the age of Trump, it’s massive threats.
Where is all this heading? Does Trump want another war? What do you think?