Republican front-runner Donald Trump said Wednesday in a major foreign policy speech that he will put American interests front and centre in his foreign policy if elected president.
“America First will be the major and overriding theme of my administration,” Trump said at a much awaited speech that was shifted to a larger venue to accommodate more people.
“No American citizen will ever again feel that their needs come second to the needs of a citizen of a foreign country,” he added in a direct appeal, experts said, to non-policy wonks.
Trump was critical in equal measure of the foreign polices of Presidents Barack Obama, his predecessor President George W Bush and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton.
There was nothing overtly of interest to India or the neighbourhood except for Trump’s insistence on keeping and bringing back American jobs, a thinly-belied reference to outsourcing.
He spoke about calling a summit of Asian allies but gave no details, not as much as he gave about the summit he intends to call of NATO allies — to repurpose the alliance.
Trump’s supporters such as firebrand conservative commentator Ann Coulter welcomed the speech and called it the “greatest foreign policy speech since Washington’s farewell address”.
Critics and sceptics were unimpressed. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a foreign policy expert, said in a tweet: “Not sure who is advising Trump on foreign policy but I can understand why he’s not revealing their names.”
Trump started by laying out five weaknesses in America’s current foreign policy: resources are totally over extended and the military is weak because of a weak economy; allies not paying their fair share for their defence; friends and allies don’t trust America; rivals don’t respect the US; and Americans don’t understand the foreign policy goals of the country.
His approach will be based on evolving a long-term plan for stopping the Islamic State, working with allies in the Muslim world; rebuilding the economy and the military; and outlining a policy based on America’s core interests.