Joseph S. Nye, Jr., a former US assistant secretary of defense and chairperson of the US National Intelligence Council, and Professor at Harvard University wrote a piece critical of Donald Trump for Project Syndicate. His thesis is that Trump’s isolationist theory is wrong for America because we need alliances with other countries. Our historical subscription to alliances, pacts, treaties and membership in worldwide organizations is necessary to “maintain geopolitical stability among the many nations”, he says and adds, “Public opinion supports NATO and alliances with countries like Japan and that for the first time in 70 years, a major US presidential candidate is calling this consensus into question.” Nye, like some other paper theorists, is wrong– he misunderstands the historical significance of this country’s need for alliances when we were militarily weak.
Trump questions the validity of our current partnerships and conscription to NATO mainly because he feels that many countries are not paying their share of the freight. We are protecting everyone but Americans in many instances, Trump maintains. Nye counters by saying that our alliances carry mutual benefits, such as the control of nuclear proliferation and the spread of anti-American propaganda.
We think Trump is on the right path, even though we recognize that many of his current theories are works of art and subject to modification. The United States needs to cut or substantially restrict their alliances and deals they presently have with foreign countries because we no longer need them– they need us– and they must pay for our help. Nye’s comparison of our modern world to the Monroe Doctrine days is misplaced. Our military strength was nonexistent then– we needed allies to support us– not as now, to support everyone else. When America threatened war with England over potential Monroe violations, it was the wealthy business owners and traders who objected because they wanted to sell their goods abroad. The same is true now: American corporations and financial entities want to keep close alliances so they can make more money and military hawks like Nye promote this corporate welfare when they call for military “protective” expansionism. The problem is, average Americans lose jobs and money when, as Trump is fond of saying, “We don’t win anymore.” We think that America for the sake of the common worker, and their families need more isolationism– Trump is clearly on the right path.