We will no longer surrender this country, or its people, to the false song of globalism,” President-Elect Donald J. Trump said in an April 27 speech on foreign policy. “I will view the world through the clear lens of American interests.”
The President-Elect later pledged in a speech to the American Legion that one of his top foreign policy priorities would be “to end the era of nation-building, and create a new foreign policy . . . that is focused on destroying ISIS and Radical Islamic Terrorism.”
Whoever the President-Elect taps to be his secretary of state will play a crucial role in shaping the President-Elect’s vision for the future of American foreign policy. One person reportedly “under serious consideration” to fill the position is United States Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), who made headlines in February when she resigned as vice chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee in order to endorse Bernie Sanders for President.
Rep. Gabbard embodies the very essence of the President-Elect’s ideological departure from the interventionist policies that have plagued this nation for the past two decades. One need look no further than her June 17 interview with Wolf Blitzer for evidence of her commitment to breaking with the current orthodoxy.
When Blitzer asked Rep. Gabbard if she was endorsing Hillary Clintonfor president, she replied, “I am not prepared to do that. There are a lot of things that I’m looking at, in particular this issue that she has not moved on at all in this campaign, which is this commitment to continue this interventionist regime change policy in Syria that’s proving to be so disastrous.”
Rep. Gabbard is uniquely qualifiedto make these judgments. In 2002, at age 21, she was elected to the Hawaiian state legislature.
Within the next two years, Rep. Gabbard had joined the Hawaii National Guard and volunteered to deploy to Iraq, in which she served two tours of duty. At the time, the Honolulu Advertiser quoted Rep. Gabbard as saying, “Although I was not activated, . . . I volunteered to go with (her fellow Guardsmen) because I felt it was my duty as a soldier and a friend to join them in the service of our country.”
Rep. Gabbard recognizes not only the duty to serve, but she also recognizes the duty to assist those who have served. Rep. Gabbard’s opposition to interventionist foreign policy strategies is grounded in the understanding that those strategies breed reckless destruction abroad and at home. Appearing on CNN’s New Day, Rep. Gabbard expressedthe need to have a President with the judgment and foresight to stop reckless foreign entanglements, for such ventures produce an ever increasing number of “veterans who come home and who suffer from these invisible wounds.” Rep. Gabbard’s passion for assisting those who have served has also made her one of the most outspoken critics of the scandal dogging the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Finally, Rep. Gabbard is not one to play politics. On Monday, the President-Elect invited her to Trump Tower to discuss the United States’ Syria policies and approaches to fighting terrorism. Rep. Gabbard did not let her differences with the President-Elect dictate whether she accepted his invitation.
After their meeting, the Congresswoman put out a statement describing the substance of the meeting, and declared, “Let me be clear, I will never allow partisanship to undermine our national security when the lives of countless people lay in the balance.”
Rep. Gabbard stands on principle, not politics, and that makes her an impeccable choice for Secretary of State.
The other name that has received a lot of attention lately is failed 2012 Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Given Mr. Romney’s gaffe-filled trial run at diplomacy during the 2012 campaign, it is difficult to understand why he is even on the shortlist. Mr. Romney was proven to be nothing more than a choke artist.
But more broadly, Mr. Romney was the establishment figure that went after the President-Elect in the harshest and most vile manner. Mr. Romney even came out of the woodwork, trying to cling onto whatever relevance he thought he had, to deliver an address in which he called then-candidate Trump “a phony, a fraud” and accused him of “playing the American public for suckers.”
While Trump supporters are among the most loving and compassionate people in this country, Mr. Romney is likely to elicit more pity than forgiveness from them. That is not only because of his implication that Trump supporters are stupid (i.e., being played for suckers), but also because he carried the mantle for an old order that is utterly despised by the people of Middle America for turning its back on them.
Even if Mr. Romney altered his positions to fit the President-Elect’s agenda (e.g., not taking a hardline approach to Russia), he would still fare no better in the minds of those in Trump Country. After successfully crushing two political dynasties dismantling two political establishments, a return to Romney would symbolize a return to grazing the same unproliferous political pasture that yielded nothing but failure.
On the other hand, the President-Elect could be playing Mr. Romney for, well, a sucker. There is perhaps no act of revenge more cold than pretending to bury the hatchet with a rival only to stab them in the back with a paring knife. Yet that same vindictiveness—in the form of slapping companies that outsource American jobs with a tariff on imported goods—is what drew many to Trump in the first place.
If this is the case, then it puts the President-Elect in another situation where Mr. Romney, perceptually, is “begging” him for something. The first time it was for then-citizen Trump’s endorsement for President in 2012. This time it could be for secretary of state.
The only difference is that this time, Trump might actually say, “Mitt drop to your knees.”
Anderson graduated magna cum laude from the University of North Texas with degrees in Communication Studies and Political Science. Mr. Anderson is now a Juris Doctor candidate at the Nebraska College of Law.