The Trump Train Enters Rocky Terrain

by Cinzia Croce

The Trump Train charged out of the station in January with vigor and determination — and for about three weeks, it was barreling down the tracks at an impressive pace. Between a flurry of executive orders and a Supreme Court nomination applauded by all factions of the Republican Party, Trump delighted both his supporters and those who had been very skeptical of him during the campaign.

And then the train began to slow down.

The first victory Trump’s opponents scored was halting his temporary travel ban. It was a setback in terms of implementing his agenda but, politically speaking, Trump came out in a very strong position. He delivered on his promise to halt immigration from countries that are havens for Islamists, his opponents were shown to put the interests of foreign nationals above the security concerns of Americans, and if — God forbid — another terrorist attack were to take place, Trump could credibly claim that he tried to protect Americans but the Democrats and their simpatico judges stopped him. Continue reading

Hillary Clinton for President: There is No Alternative

by Alex Knepper

Although Hillary Clinton’s historic primary victory has turned out to be decisive, there is undoubtedly a streak of joylessness to it. Her major victories were concentrated in the three ‘Super Tuesdays’ of the calendar, while losing constantly in the caucus-heavy lull periods, making the path to the nomination feel like a bit of a long slog at times. Between this, her seeming inability to escape the constant drip-drip-drip of harmful new information about her use of a private server while Secretary of State, and an unusually ideological and tenacious opponent, being a Clinton supporter has often felt like — how to put this? — less a reason to be excited than a responsibility.

Before we proceed, let us not forget that the final outcome of this race has been clear for some time; at least since the first Super Tuesday, in which Clinton swept the South — and that any candidate but Bernie, who, unusually, owes nothing to the Democratic Party and has hated it for decades, would be out by now. Ultimately, Clinton will have won over 55% of the popular vote, command a pledged-delegate lead in the 300-400 range, and hold the near-entirety of the Mid-Atlantic, Southwest, and Deep South, as well as most of the country’s major states, including NY, FL, TX, IL, PA, VA, and even MA. Her victory would have been even more decisive had it not been for Bernie’s string of non-representative caucus victories. Consider that Bernie won Washington state by 50 points but that Clinton actually won the state’s non-binding primary. Hillary also won Nebraska’s non-binding primary, despite losing the caucus and hence losing in the state’s delegate count. Who is really the candidate with the silent majority?

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Yes, Trump’s Foreign Policy is Coherent

by Cinzia Croce

All of us have experienced moments when everything comes into focus and questions that lingered in one’s mind for a long time find their answer. For years I wondered why America’s foreign policy – ever since the end of the Cold War – has been marked by a series of debacles and a high level of incompetence. Supposedly our foreign policy was being shaped by the best and the brightest, individuals with long, impressive resumes and a deep knowledge of ‘how the world works’. With such an illustrious brain trust working on behalf of the American people how does one explain the decades of failure? After watching the reaction to Donald Trump’s foreign policy speech, I finally have my answer.

The persistent criticism of Trump’s foreign policy approach is that it is “incoherent”. Much of the consternation seems to be caused by Trump stating that “America is going to be a reliable friend and ally again” and later in speech he calls for our “nation, be more unpredictable.” One cannot be both reliable and unpredictable, declared pundits, editorial boards and former foreign policy advisors. It is contradictory, incoherent. Trump criticizes Obama for “picked fights with our oldest friends” and says he “bows to our enemies” while pledging to end the “horrible cycle of hostility” toward Russia. It is contradictory, incoherent. Trump states first that our weakened economic state means we can longer afford to fund defense commitments — and later laments our depleted military and pledges to make it stronger. It is contradictory, incoherent.  Continue reading

Hillary’s Speech Reveals Her as the Truly Dangerous Candidate

By Cinzia Croce

Before I address the substance of Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy speech (I am using the term “substance” loosely, since the speech was another regurgitation of old, worn out talking points), I want to comment on the theatrics. It is quite clear that Hillary has decided to position herself as the adult in the race – it didn’t work for Jeb Bush in the primaries but the bet is that it will work in the general election –  yet the staging of her speech was anything but serious. It featured an audience hooting and hollering, booing the opposing team, marching band music as if were a high school pep rally. A couple of cheerleaders with pompoms and the picture would have been complete. If the objective of the speech was to impress upon the American people the gravity of the decision before them, the stagecraft today was an utter failure.

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If I had to summarize Hillary’s speech in four words, they would be: ‘Preserve the Status Quo!’ For those who believe our foreign policy is essentially on the right track and that only minor adjustments need to be made: she spoke to you. For those of us who believe a complete foreign policy reassessment is long overdue, Hillary represents more aimlessness, more blunders, more American blood and treasure spent for no specific reason other than some vague notion of “staying true to our values”, or worse — a preoccupation as to whether the world will blame us or not. Nowhere in her speech did she mention or define American interests – which is key to formulating an effective foreign policy – but she did talk about Trump’s comments about illegal immigrants, women and John McCain. Continue reading

Ted Cruz’s Foreign Policy Amateur Hour

By Josh Jacobs

Not too long ago, Ted Cruz became enamored with quipping something like “We will carpet bomb ISIS into oblivion. I don’t know if sand can glow in the dark, but we’re going to find out!” Unsurprisingly, this sparked a firestorm of criticism, since the comments appeared to indicate an enthusiasm for either the use of either nuclear weapons or the area bombing of Syrian cities. In the last few months, Cruz has responded to his critics with a more measured definition of what exactly he means:

“You want to know what carpet bombing is? It’s what we did in the first Persian Gulf war; 1,100 air attacks a day, saturation bombing that utterly destroyed the enemy. Right now, Barack Obama is launching between 15 and 30 air attacks a day.”

Taken at face value, this appears to be a valid criticism of our coalition strategy in Syria. After all, if the United States could bring so much power to bear against Saddam Hussein, why preclude using even a fraction of that against ISIS? As appealing as this reasoning seems, however, it just does not hold up to scrutiny. The military situation the US is facing in Syria could not be more different from that which it faced in Iraq in 1990.

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In 1991, the United States shouldered the task of nearly completely dismantling and destroying — in the most humane possible way — a modern, gigantic, and conventionally deployed military force. Iraq had assembled more than 700,000 troops in an arc stretching from Kuwait to the Jordanian border. These were not haphazardly deployed militia, but corps-sized military formations accompanied by gigantic logistics trains, support infrastructure, and a complex system of entrenchments. Furthermore, this military machine was augmented by a sophisticated air defense grid, which encompassed some 16,000 surface-to-air missiles (SAM) spread across hundreds of batteries and 7,500 anti-aircraft-artillery (AAA) emplacements.

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Alex Knepper: Hillary Clinton for President

This opinion piece represents the views of Alex Knepper alone. It does not represent the editorial perspective of The New American Perspective.

Hillary Clinton is an American icon.  She has rebounded from uncertainty time and again to confound her critics and build one of the most impressive resumes in American politics. But ‘familiarity breeds contempt,’ and many in our country have grown tired or uninspired with Secretary Clinton. Her presence in national public life began just a year after I was born. Hillary has always ‘been there’ for as long as I can remember. When I was introduced to politics in 8th grade and brainwashed myself into believing right-wing dogma, I learned quickly that Hillary Clinton was Enemy No. 1. In 2008, I supported Rudy Giuliani in part because I believed he was the candidate most likely to defeat Clinton in a general election. I voted for Mitt Romney in 2012 and do not regret it. Now, in 2016, I am an enthusiastic and unapologetic supporter of Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid, and have believed strongly in her inevitable nomination this year. Many of my ex-allies in conservative politics have been mystified — not to mention many family members. How could I have come to support Hillary Clinton?

The very best reason to support Hillary Clinton is for her foreign policy perspective and expertise. Let us not play games: Clinton is a dyed-in-the-wool Cold War liberal. She is more like Joe Lieberman than Chuck Hagel. She believes strongly and sincerely in American global leadership, and views the United States as having a special role to play in world history. Her approach to Iran? “Distrust but verify” — “Iran is not a partner in the deal, it is the subject of the deal.” Her moral clarity concerning the Israeli-Arab conflict is sharp, and she is not blind to Hamas’ propaganda. She advocated early and often to President Obama for increased U.S. engagement in Syria, which may have enabled us to gain a real foothold in the conflict before Russia changed the game. There certainly would have been none of the humiliation surrounding President Obama’s astonishing decision to back down from his ‘red line’ threats to Assad, had Secretary Clinton been president instead. She has declared, in a shot at President Obama: “‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle.” In 1995, as First Lady, she courageously defied diplomatic custom to rebuke the Chinese government on Chinese soil for its treatment of women. And she’s not shy about her hatred for tyrants: she is steely-eyed and as awake to the realities of power as a commander-in-chief must be: witness her cheering over the death of a hated enemy, Moammar Gaddafi. Robert Gates even reports that she privately supported the 2007 ‘surge’ in Iraq — in addition to, as we know, supporting the 2009 surge in Afghanistan. Against Vice President Biden, she advocated for going forward with the raid on Osama bin Laden. One wonders whether she would have unilaterally withdrawn from Iraq in 2011. She is also deeply learned and widely traveled: if there is a sudden crisis somewhere in the world, she will not have to be given a crash-course about the stakes and the players. She will likely already know about them — or even know them first-hand.

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Bernie Sanders has served as the ideal foil to Hillary: he is so utterly indifferent to foreign policy that he appears to not have any regular advisers on the matter. She has not had to move one iota to the left, and in office, she will be able to serve both as a corrective to President Obama’s incoherent foreign policy while also serving to help reshape the Democratic Party on these issues.

On domestic issues, Hillary is a conventional liberal, would appoint Ruth Bader Ginsberg-style justices to the Supreme Court, speak out loudly on women’s and children’s issues, push for additional gun control, immigration reform, more reform of regulations in the banking and financial sectors, a minimum wage hike, and — most promisingly, since the House GOP might actually agree to something on this count — criminal justice reform. There is a strong chance she could truly govern to the left of Obama. What is crucial is that she is moderate by temperament, open to negotiation, and seldom patently unreasonable in her proposals. She is someone the House GOP under Speaker Paul Ryan should be able to work with on certain issues. And she has a mastery of policy detail few of her rivals in either party can match.

Republicans already have strong majorities in both the House and Senate, in addition to controlling a majority of governorships and state legislatures — and a relatively friendly Supreme Court. The balance of power in this country is in danger of shifting too far to the right, and the GOP is in dire need of being corralled back to more moderate discourse and ambitions. If a Democrat is not in control of the presidency, our country will be subject to one-party rule by a fractured and undisciplined party, possibly led by a man with a volatile temperament. The GOP is a radicalized party in disarray. Frontrunners Donald Trump and Ted Cruz manifestly lack the temperament to be commander-in-chief and head of state, and Marco Rubio is too unseasoned. For the sake of balance and order, the Republicans ought to be denied the presidency.

Of course, Hillary Clinton is far from an ideal candidate: she finds it difficult to inspire people anymore, and 25 years in public life have made her guarded and cautious. There are a handful of examples of Hillary walking into ethical and legal ‘grey areas.’ But there is absolutely no evidence she has committed any crime, and no evidence she has ever done anything to harm the country.

When we examine the potential alternatives, there is no comparison. The Republicans seem intent on nominating a candidate that will lead them to a Barry Goldwater-style wipe-out, and Clinton’s opponent specializes in offering false promises to people who deserve practical solutions. For her foreign policy acumen, unrivaled range and depth of experience, reasonable and cerebral temperament, and her ability to prevent our country from falling into one-party rule, the best choice for the presidency, despite her imperfections, is Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton. If she lives up to her potential, she could become America’s Iron Lady.