When Donald Trump gave his first foreign policy speech last week, we finally saw some of the “presidential” overtones we have been promised by his campaign lately. I thought, “Here’s his opportunity to screw up, to say something dumb if he hasn’t thought this out.” But to my relief, he did the exact opposite.
One thing I was particularly impressed with was the statement, “My foreign policy will always put the interests of the American people, and American security above all else. It has to be first…that will be at the foundation of every single decision that I will make.” Of course, some people will write that off as a generic, blanket statement designed to appeal to the masses. But I’m looking at it a little more critically.
When we go in to liberate a foreign country from a violent dictator – whether it’s Iraq, Kuwait or Afghanistan – when have we asked for anything in return? We really haven’t, have we? And we’ve paid for it with American blood and treasure. We were supposed to be going in to fight off the bad guys and go home, and instead we stayed for years. Enter Trump, who says those countries should pay us in the form of oil. Well, why not? Otherwise, they are getting something for nothing. It’s called bartering, right?
Bartering is a foreign policy concept going back to biblical days. It continued for centuries and centuries, all the way into colonial America. Throughout the ages, societies have traded corn for wheat and horses for cattle. Remember the children’s book “Stone Soup?” Americans have used it as a teaching tool for generations. So what’s wrong with using it on the world stage? The Middle East has a serious problem with security, but they are rich in natural resources. If America bails out a tiny Middle Eastern nation under the thumb of a venomous dictator, then maybe America should get paid for it. But they’re poor, right? Not in natural resources. So maybe that’s how they should pay us.
It’s not socialism. It’s not communism. And it certainly isn’t “blood for oil,” as the liberals love to say. It’s a fair exchange of goods and services, otherwise known as bartering. There’s only one candidate in either party who’s talking about it, and that’s just one more reason why I’m supporting him this election cycle.
Ed Hoffman is host of The Main Event on AM590, which airs Saturday 9:30 AM- 10:30 AM and Sunday 4:00 PM- 5:00 PM. Follow him on Twitter @EdHoffman, and like him on Facebook by searching The Main Event 590.