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Trump Will Be a Statesman in the Tradition of Richelieu and Bismarck

Raison d'état and Realpolitik characterize Trump's announced policy of putting 'America first'


Never in American political history has the proposed foreign policy of a presidential candidate been more excoriated, demonized, and ridiculed than that of Donald Trump. Instead of examining the merits and faults of Mr. Trump’s foreign policy inferences and viewpoints, the addle-minded media pundits with no journalistic expertise have been quick to cast wild aspersions on the Republican nominee. Mr. Trump’s foreign policy is resonating with the electorate because of the clarion assessments and innovative thinking emanating from the Republican nominee.

Mr. Trump’s focus on the national self-interest can be traced to Cardinal Richelieu of 17th century France. Cardinal Richelieu’s fixation on putting France first in policy matters over religious objections paved the way for the Realpolitik currently advocated by the Trump campaign. When Cardinal Richelieu aligned France with the Protestant coalition against the Catholic Hapsburgs, he was branded a “heretic” who was doomed to eternal damnation. Mr. Trump’s foreign policy “heresy” goes against the grain of both Republican and Democratic elites.

Mr. Trump has rightly asserted that deposing Saddam Hussein, appeasing Iran with a nuclear deal, marginalizing Russia, and funding countries that are providing lackluster support against terrorist elements are vital factors in aiding the detrimental erosion of American foreign policy. Mr. Trump has been a vocal critic of the Obama retrenchment, but he has also stated that irresponsible foreign policy maximalism has been just as counter-productive for the United States. Why have not members of the American intelligentsia such as Fareed Zakaria, Robert Gates, or Madeline Albright commended Mr. Trump on being the possible progenitor of the most original and well-suited foreign policy of our time? No one has recognized Mr. Trump’s pristine Raison D’état or clarion Realpolitik.

History has shown us that the greatest practitioner of Realpolitik was Otto von Bismarck. The Prussian Chancellor simultaneously pursued a foreign policy based on power assessments of the world stage and a domestic policy designed to provide vibrant, well-functioning institutions enhancing the national health of his citizenry. No presidential candidate in history has been more compatible with the Bismarck style of leadership than the Republican nominee of 2016.

Mr. Trump’s foreign policy thinking has recognized that the world has been essentially tripolar since 1949. The United States, China, and Russia have been the three most powerful and influential states on the world stage. Most forget that Mr. Trump’s crucible of leadership was in the New York City real estate market where he had to navigate in a city controlled by adversarial Mayor Ed Koch and powerful construction magnate Paul Castellano. The waters Mr. Trump swam in were full of powerful politicians and captains of industry, and it was this innate ability to assess the power dynamics and act with cogent business diplomacy that allowed Mr. Trump to ascend the echelons of power.

Mr. Trump has applied the same method to world affairs and he has rightly asserted that new approaches to Russia and China must be implemented. Mr. Trump has not castigated Russia; Russia currently has stakes in the Middle East, Europe, and Central Asia that make it a highly important partner in the future. Vladimir Putin is the 21st century’s greatest geopolitical power balancer and his mission in life is to reaffirm Russia as a great power and regional hegemon. Putin has made inroads in every issue, dispute, and trend on the world stage. He has made Russia important in virtually every aspect. The United States has abandoned arms control agreements and propped up anti-Russian leaders in Russia’s backyard to the chagrin of Russia. The United States has a Monroe Doctrine and so does Russia. Russia’s liberal internationalists led by Dmitry Medvedev are starving for investments and global business opportunities. Mr. Trump is the man to lead this new partnership. Russia is also greatly annoyed by the lack of cooperation with NATO and Western missile defense in the Eastern hemisphere. Mr. Trump has highlighted all this and seeks a new era of cooperative US-Russia relations.

Mr. Trump has no qualms about pointing out that China’s hegemony-seeking behavior on the world stage has been detrimental to the world order. China’s quest for territorial and mineral gains in the South China Sea is a scary situation considering it has a robust nuclear arsenal. China is in dispute with every county in the region because of these ambitions. China is invading and incorporating islands and ocean territory daily. China has also forged business relations in the Middle East, South America, and Africa, while injecting capital into its economy and manipulating currency through its trade deals. Like Bismarck seeking to contain power hungry France led by Napoleon the 3rd, Donald Trump aims to level the playing field and begin a new chapter of fair and productive US-China relations.

In keeping with the Richelieu and Bismarck traditions of putting your country first and pursuing a foreign policy on practical and systematic grounds, Mr. Trump has rightly established future goals of enhancing American jobs, immigration, and infrastructure. Bismarck’s successful statesmanship against the floundering leadership of France during his time was a result of the Prussian domestic institutions being revitalized and strengthened in line with the central principles and precepts of Realpolitik. Namely, no country can conduct a successful foreign policy if the citizenry is without economic and infrastructural advantages. The American immigration issue simultaneously takes jobs away from the American working class and is a threat to homeland security. No country can successfully conduct foreign affairs if its domestic institutions are faulty.

No one has noticed that only one candidate has been advocating all this with the eyes of a great statesman.

Mr. Trump has proposed the most detailed and comprehensive foreign policy Realpolitik in the history of American politics; he has taken a page from the leadership of Richelieu and Bismarck. History has elevated these two figures to historical greatness. Mr. Trump is wrongly criticized today, but similar to Bismarck and Richelieu pursuing innovative and common sense Realpolitik he too will one day be lauded for his foreign policy and domestic policy genius.


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