Looking at the difference between Trump’s and Hillary’s attitudes towards Russia, one can’t help but feel that there’s something deeper going on. Hillary’s hostility to Russia, contrasted with Trump’s amiable gestures, raises the question of what Trump’s objectives are. Or more accurately, those of the team of national security insiders he has assembled, including former Defense Intelligence Agency director Michael Flynn.
Let’s get this out of the way: it is not non-interventionism, no matter what some libertarians may wish to believe about Trump. These are serious military-industrial complex heavy-hitters in his inner circle. He is not against using American power, he is simply pushing a different agenda from the neocons formerly in power. His well-known antipathy to China may provide a clue. Here’s Trump’s plan to “get tough” on China (there is no “get tough” on Russia plan):
Declare China A Currency Manipulator
End China’s Intellectual Property Violations
Eliminate China’s Illegal Export Subsidies And Other Unfair Advantages
Strengthen the U.S. military and deploying it appropriately in the East and South China Seas
Donald Trump campaign website, July 30, 2016
Increased trade barriers, sparking a possible trade war, combined with amped up military presence in China’s backyard sends a pretty clear signal of Trump’s intentions. This falls in line with the elite foreign policy consensus of an “Asia pivot” in the past few years – away from the Middle East and towards containing a rising China. Let Russia help us mop up ISIS and “radical Islam”, Trump seems to argue, which leaves us free to confront China.
At a press conference a few days ago, Trump said he doesn’t want to see Russia and China “teaming up”. He seems to understand, or has been made to understand, the fears underlying thia Asia pivot. Closer military and economic cooperation between Russia and China presents a major stumbling block to Western globalist hegemony. The election contest between Trump and Hillary can be seen as a contest between the foreign policy realist “pivot” faction and the anti-Russia neocons. Far from ushering in an era of non-interventionism, Trump would merely shift the target of American power.