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Guess Who Doesn't Want War with Iran? Trump Supporters

May 19, 2019 in Economics

By Ted Galen Carpenter

Ted Galen Carpenter

Supporters of Donald Trump who hoped that he would adopt a new,
less interventionist foreign policy for the United States have
ample reasons to feel disappointed. The administration’s
increasingly belligerent policy toward Iran, which may lead to war,
is just the most recent case in which the president has betrayed
those supporters.

During his presidential campaign in 2016, Trump repeatedly
condemned Washington’s regime-change wars and nation-building
crusades. Much to the shock and fury of the other Republican
candidates, he did not confine his criticism to policies that
Barack Obama’s administration pursued; instead he excoriated George W Bush for the Iraq war and the seemingly
endless military mission in Afghanistan.

If he continues to betray
his war-weary supporters, they may well abandon him in the 2020
presidential election, and they would be fully justified in doing
so.

An increasingly war-weary American public seemed receptive to
Trump’s message. Even a sizable faction of Republican voters broke
with the party’s more conventional presidential candidates, who
continued to express rote endorsements of Bush’s actions and the
underlying policy rationale. Those voters also reacted favorably to
Trump’s demands for greater burden-sharing by Washington’s allies
in Europe and east Asia.

It is hard to measure just how large a factor Trump’s
break with the bipartisan orthodoxy on foreign policy was in his
demolition of opponents in the Republican primaries and his upset
victory over Hillary Clinton in the general election. But it
certainly was a factor. Even voters who were wary about some of
Trump’s other policy views — and questions about his
character and demeanor- were uneasy about Clinton’s hawkish
record.

As secretary of state, she had been
a key architect
of the Obama administration’s ill-advised
military intervention to unseat Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi
— a move that created chaos in that country. After she left
office, Clinton lobbied heavily for a similar US intervention to
help rebels overthrow the Syrian leader, Bashar al-Assad. Perhaps
most troubling, she pushed for a highly confrontational policy
toward Russia, even comparing President Vladimir Putin to Adolf Hitler. Antagonizing a nuclear-armed
power did not seem like a prudent strategy to worried voters who
then gravitated toward Trump’s call for improved US relations
with Moscow.

Once in office, though, it was not long before Trump’s
actions contrasted sharply with his campaign rhetoric.
Vice-President Mike Pence and the secretary of defense, Jim Mattis,
quickly assured the European allies of
Washington’s undying devotion to its Nato commitments. Trump
himself voiced similar sentiments. Although he also continued
making brusque demands for greater burden-sharing, such comments
undercut the latter message.

The continuation of Washington’s military meddling in the
Middle East …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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