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Tuesday, March 29, 2016
Trump’s Foreign Policy Bona Fides
Donald Trump’s international business career has earned him relationships with governments around the world, a foreign affairs advantage that GOP competitors are struggling to match.
Sen. Ted Cruz can boast official travel to nine countries, as well as the sponsorship of 11 foreign relations bills. However, only one of those bills ever passed. Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s foreign policy experience comes from a legislative and military angle, his 18 years on the House Armed Services Committee.
But Trump is unique among all remaining 2016 candidates in that his international experience comes entirely from the private sector. And because of his business experience on the world stage, Trump boasts a hefty international resume. “Trump has met more foreign heads of state than any other candidate,” former Trump adviser Roger Stone said.
In July 2011, Trump stood alongside Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli as the two cut the ribbon on the Trump Ocean Club skyscraper in the country’s capital city. Martinelli remarked, “I would like to thank Donald Trump for coming to Panama and allowing this wonderful building to have his name.”
Trump has also reached out to the leadership of emerging world powers, particularly the BRIC countries. While in India on business in August of 2014, Trump appeared on a domestic television station and praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi as “amazing,” saying, “I think he’s done an incredible job on unification.”
The billionaire has also famously traded compliments with Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Putin has called Trump “a bright and talented person;” Trump called the compliment “a great honor” and referred to Putin as “a man so highly respected in his own country and beyond.” Critics lambasted Trump for his apparent coziness with the Russian leader. In response, Trump touted the potential warming of relations between the two countries. “And then they want me to denounce Putin… For what?.. .Wouldn’t it be nice if we actually got along with Russia and China and all these countries?” Trump said.
As for China, Trump rails against the country’s trade policies but has still managed to attract considerable support from Chinese citizens, according to the New York Times. His appeal in China, according to the March 3 report, draws on his “outsider” status – the Chinese people are very familiar with Hillary Clinton, and many express distaste for the professional politician.
Trump’s business continues to grow in the Middle East. In 2010, he and daughter Ivanka traveled to Istanbul for the opening of Trump Towers Mall. Since then, his Turkish business partners have railed against his anti-Muslim immigration comments.
The Trump Organization faces no lack of opportunity in the Middle East. Ivanka Trump told Hotelier Middle East magazine last year, “We are looking at multiple opportunities in Abu Dhabi, in Qatar, in Saudi Arabia… we have many very compelling deals in each of them.” Since then, the Trump Organization has begun developing a golf club in Dubai.
The Trump name also graces buildings in the Philippines, Canada, Scotland, and Uruguay. For the first time ever in a U.S. presidential election, candidates are pitching their government foreign affairs experience, against international business experience.
In recent days, Trump has trotted out a team of high-powered advisers and sat down with both the Washington Post and the New York Times to talk foreign policy. “Trump said he advocates a light footprint in the world. In spite of unrest abroad, especially in the Middle East, Trump said the United States must look inward and steer its resources toward rebuilding domestic infrastructure,” the Post wrote. To the Times he said, “we cannot be the policeman of the world.”
Hillary Clinton is trying to convince voters that her time as Secretary of State had meaningful positive results. Trump’s business career has resulted in a global brand that, for better or for worse, speaks for itself.