“We don’t take kindly to strangers here” is a Western movie cliché about America.
Here in Kansas City, however, I would say it the other way around: People are nice and friendly to strangers like me.
But Donald Trump’s foreign policy plan, outlined in a televised speech Wednesday, reminded me of that cliché.
The Republican Party’s presidential front-runner detailed his ideas after winning all five state primaries Tuesday and said he would pursue an “America First” policy.
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“We must stop importing extremism through senseless immigration policies,” he said.
We’ve heard that before from Trump.
But here is a brand new idea from him: “The world must know that we do not go abroad in search of enemies. We want to bring peace to the world.”
Then in a strange contradiction he added, “We need to rebuild our military…. Our military dominance must be unquestioned by anybody and everybody.”
That recalls the old Latin adage: “If you want peace, prepare for war.” That’s a good way to describe his words.
While that idea was acceptable very long ago, now we live in a different world. An interdependent one.
Trump’s major foreign policy plan is against radical Islam.
He said, “ISIS…. I have a simple message for them. Their days are numbered. I won’t tell them where and I won’t tell them how. As a nation we must be more unpredictable. They will be gone quickly.”
No, they will not. As a “stranger” in America, I can tell you unpredictability always brings about unpredictable consequences. I’ve seen that for years while living in Turkey.
Today, the European Union is crumbling. Britain wants to exit, and a referendum will be held on June 23 to decide whether it should leave or stay in the EU.
Germany is trying to keep the European Union together. But there are huge financial issues about the large debts of Greece, Portugal and Spain. The EU’s future is unpredictable.
There is also an unprecedented crisis in Muslim countries long after the “Arab Spring” that began in late 2010.
Many Middle Eastern states are skidding through authoritarianism. Radicalism is rising. And for America, some allies such as Turkey have unpredictable political policies.
Russia’s politics in the Middle East is unpredictable and ISIS is unpredictable, too. And the situation in Syria is completely unpredictable.
Despite what Trump says, unpredictability is not a good choice for a great country to make.
In the 1980s and ’90s, American political scientists used the term “rogue states” to describe unpredictable countries such as Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria and North Korea. Today’s biggest problems in Europe and the Middle East cannot be solved because of unpredictability.
The world does not need an “unpredictable America.” If anyone wants to bring peace to the world, all they need is a serious master plan and a multinational collaboration against racism, extremism and xenophobia.
That is the only realistic solution for radicalism.
Gokce Aytulu is an Alfred Friendly fellow from Turkey. The Star will be his host between April and September. Twitter: @GokceAytulu