Is Trump really this ignorant and uninformed about foreign policy?

Before his AIPAC speech last night, Donald Trump sat down with Washington Post editors to discuss his foreign policy.

The candidate has not said much of substance about what his foreign policy would be and has refused to say who has been advising him.  But he revealed to the Post editors the names of several individuals that he called "top of the line" foreign policy advisers.

He also ticked off some ideas for what a Trump presidency would do overseas.

For the first time, Trump also listed members of a team chaired by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) that is counseling him on foreign affairs and helping to shape his policies: Keith Kellogg, Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, Walid Phares and Joseph E. Schmitz.

Trump praised George P. Shultz, who served as President Ronald Reagan's top diplomat, and was harshly critical of current secretary of state John F. Kerry. He questioned the United States’ continued involvement in NATO and, on the subject of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, said America’s allies are "not doing anything."

"Ukraine is a country that affects us far less than it affects other countries in NATO, and yet we’re doing all of the lifting," Trump said. "They’re not doing anything. And I say: 'Why is it that Germany’s not dealing with NATO on Ukraine? Why is it that other countries that are in the vicinity of Ukraine, why aren’t they dealing? Why are we always the one that’s leading, potentially the third world war with Russia.' "

Trump said that U.S. involvement in NATO may need to be significantly diminished in the coming years, breaking with nearly seven decades of consensus in Washington. "We certainly can’t afford to do this anymore," Trump said, adding later, "NATO is costing us a fortune, and yes, we’re protecting Europe with NATO, but we’re spending a lot of money."

Trump sounded a similar note in discussing the U.S. presence in the Pacific. He questioned the value of massive military investments in Asia and wondered aloud whether the United States still was capable of being an effective peacekeeping force there.

“South Korea is very rich, great industrial country, and yet we’re not reimbursed fairly for what we do," Trump said. "We’re constantly sending our ships, sending our planes, doing our war games — we’re reimbursed a fraction of what this is all costing."

Asked whether the United States benefits from its involvement in the region, Trump replied, "Personally, I don’t think so." He added, "I think we were a very powerful, very wealthy country, and we are a poor country now. We’re a debtor nation."

A nation that has a $15-trillion economy is not poor by any stretch of the imagination.  In fact, it's a stupid observation from a man who considers himself a genius.

As for the rest, NATO has been on life support since the end of the Cold War.  But the notion of collective security is still valid, and some sort of alliance needs to be maintained, or Trump's buddy Vladimir Putin will walk all over Europe.  Maybe that's what Trump wants.  As for NATO paying us for protecting them, Trump is stuck in the 1980s.  Defense budgets in the alliance have been rising steadily over the last decade, and we've already drawn down our forces to the point that our strength is only 10% of what it was during the Cold War.

Trump also demonstrates his ignorance about the U.S. not being compensated for our tripwire force in South Korea.  We recieve nearly $900 million a year from South Korea, which amounts to about 30% of the salaries and benefits of the 28K troops that are stationed there.  And that figure is set to rise every year through 2018.

It's painfully obvious that Trump needs informed foriegn policy advisers who can give him a crash course in geopolitics.  But I fear he is so ignorant, so misinformed of the realities associated with American leadership, that he could easily blunder into a war. 

Before his AIPAC speech last night, Donald Trump sat down with Washington Post editors to discuss his foreign policy.

The candidate has not said much of substance about what his foreign policy would be and has refused to say who has been advising him.  But he revealed to the Post editors the names of several individuals that he called "top of the line" foreign policy advisers.

He also ticked off some ideas for what a Trump presidency would do overseas.

For the first time, Trump also listed members of a team chaired by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) that is counseling him on foreign affairs and helping to shape his policies: Keith Kellogg, Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, Walid Phares and Joseph E. Schmitz.

Trump praised George P. Shultz, who served as President Ronald Reagan's top diplomat, and was harshly critical of current secretary of state John F. Kerry. He questioned the United States’ continued involvement in NATO and, on the subject of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, said America’s allies are "not doing anything."

"Ukraine is a country that affects us far less than it affects other countries in NATO, and yet we’re doing all of the lifting," Trump said. "They’re not doing anything. And I say: 'Why is it that Germany’s not dealing with NATO on Ukraine? Why is it that other countries that are in the vicinity of Ukraine, why aren’t they dealing? Why are we always the one that’s leading, potentially the third world war with Russia.' "

Trump said that U.S. involvement in NATO may need to be significantly diminished in the coming years, breaking with nearly seven decades of consensus in Washington. "We certainly can’t afford to do this anymore," Trump said, adding later, "NATO is costing us a fortune, and yes, we’re protecting Europe with NATO, but we’re spending a lot of money."

Trump sounded a similar note in discussing the U.S. presence in the Pacific. He questioned the value of massive military investments in Asia and wondered aloud whether the United States still was capable of being an effective peacekeeping force there.

“South Korea is very rich, great industrial country, and yet we’re not reimbursed fairly for what we do," Trump said. "We’re constantly sending our ships, sending our planes, doing our war games — we’re reimbursed a fraction of what this is all costing."

Asked whether the United States benefits from its involvement in the region, Trump replied, "Personally, I don’t think so." He added, "I think we were a very powerful, very wealthy country, and we are a poor country now. We’re a debtor nation."

A nation that has a $15-trillion economy is not poor by any stretch of the imagination.  In fact, it's a stupid observation from a man who considers himself a genius.

As for the rest, NATO has been on life support since the end of the Cold War.  But the notion of collective security is still valid, and some sort of alliance needs to be maintained, or Trump's buddy Vladimir Putin will walk all over Europe.  Maybe that's what Trump wants.  As for NATO paying us for protecting them, Trump is stuck in the 1980s.  Defense budgets in the alliance have been rising steadily over the last decade, and we've already drawn down our forces to the point that our strength is only 10% of what it was during the Cold War.

Trump also demonstrates his ignorance about the U.S. not being compensated for our tripwire force in South Korea.  We recieve nearly $900 million a year from South Korea, which amounts to about 30% of the salaries and benefits of the 28K troops that are stationed there.  And that figure is set to rise every year through 2018.

It's painfully obvious that Trump needs informed foriegn policy advisers who can give him a crash course in geopolitics.  But I fear he is so ignorant, so misinformed of the realities associated with American leadership, that he could easily blunder into a war.