No, a President Trump Does Not Mean WW3
There's common rhetoric among Hillary Clinton fans that should Donald Trump be elected president (don't worry, that's not happening anytime soon), it will surely lead to the next global conflict. That his unbridled behavior and lack of composure throughout most of the election season will most certainly equate to the destruction civilization via World War III. That he will, almost certainly when given the chance, will press that big red button and start a nuclear winter. Unfortunately, the odds of this doomsday scenario occurring are slim, and no global war will likely come to be under Donald Trump.
Definition: World War 3
Since the fall of the Third Reich in 1945, military technology, diplomatic strategies, and government doctrine have all dramatically changed. As such, we will never again see the million-men armies of WW2. In modern combat, technology reigns supreme, and he who has technical superiority, has the advantage, regardless of army size. It's speculated that instead the next world war will be a quick and rapid exchange of nuclear arms that will almost certainly obliterate entire population centers in a matter of hours or minutes.
But this speculation isn't an entirely accepted definition of WWIII as some believe it has already occurred in the Cold War what with the laundry list of proxy conflicts that occurred, and others believing it's occurring now with the War on ISIS, as the organization seeks a worldwide caliphate. While it is fallacy to believe either of these wars represents WW3, it illustrates the difficulty in defining the term “world war.”
Should the US strengthen ties with Russia?
Foreign Affairs, Trump Style
Despite Trumps flamboyant style, his ineptitude to maintain a consistent position on any nearly issue, and his ability to keep the media spotlight on him constantly, he's no idiot. And while he's certainly induced hatred and endorsed violence, he's also denounced the removal of foreign leaders, and sought to build better relationships through diplomacy. Not to mention his close ties with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, and his desire to strengthen American-Russo relations.
Trump has spoken greatly about his desire to stop the United States from acting as a ‘debtor-nation’ in regards to its alliances. In the eyes of the Donald, the vast amounts of money funneled to sovereign nations is a show of weakness, not strength. That by consistently throwing money at foreign governments, we are fostering dependence and not enabling autonomy. As a Libertarian, I’m inclined to agree, and I fail to see the correlation between lessing foreign aid and an encroachment towards the outbreak of world war.
Trump has spoken extensively about ISIS and would most likely amplify US efforts to defeat the organization, but hasn’t revealed details regarding his plan. Most recently he’s advised that he will give his top brass thirty days to formulate a plan of action if he becomes president. Whether or not Trump intends to put boots on the ground remains to be seen, but judging by his desire to avoid another endless war, it can be assumed he will not utilize ground forces. What is clear is Trumps intention to end “nation-building,” the buzz term used to describe major post-combat investment in war torn regions to ensure another conflict doesn’t occur in the future. To the Donald, “nation-building” is just more American dollars down the drain for a strategy that has had mixed results elsewhere.
With regards to a Iraq, perhaps the Donald’s most notable criticism of the past near two decades of foreign policy, he has almost since the beginning opposed, for one reason or another. the US led invasion of 2003. While he did state in a 2002 interview that he supports invading, his support quickly turned as he grew wary of the amount of taxpayer monies being wasted on a foreign war. Today, much like the rest of Washington, he recognizes the tremendous error made with Iraq, and appears ready to actively prevent another similar conflict. Clinton appears however, to simply admit it was a “mistake” and move on.
Again, he struggled to cope with the costs of nation-building in Iraq. The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) put the final tally at around $60b. US investments included building water systems, energy distribution, healthcare networks, education institutions, transportation infrastructure, among other things. The US also spent heavily to rebuild the Iraqi government and create a sustainable system of security, law enforcement, and justice. Most of this investment was needed due to the destruction caused by the invasion itself, and the subsequent looting, not from the inaction of Saddam Hussein or the Iraqi government.
My foreign policy will always put the interests of the American people and American security first.— Donald Trump on foreign affairs
So where does the fear of World War III come from? Most likely from Trump’s apprehension to blind loyalty. He has stated that NATO, the Cold War relic alliance of western nations, needs “rethinking,” and that the US should only support NATO allies that contribute their fair share. He’s also stated that the organization can and should coexist with Russia, instead of butting heads with the Kremlin. What this equates to in the mind of liberals is the outright abandonment of traditional allies, and allowing them to falter at the hands of aggressors and invaders.
Since the fall of the Soviet Union and the reunification of Germany, NATO, short for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, has added a dozen new member nations, including the Baltic states, who joined the alliance out of fear of Russia. These states however, spend less than .2% of what the US spends on defense This is precisely what Trump aims to circumvent. To him, nations allying with the US simply for protection is exploitative, and not in the best interest of Americans. But he doesn’t wish to just leave these countries to their own devices. Instead, he see’s the opportunity for a transaction: smaller states are guarenteed protection by the most powerful military on the planet, in exchange for paying the costs associated with that protection.
By no means does a president Trump mean an increase in diplomacy, or a stabilization of the geopolitical situation. But it certainly wouldn't be the catastrophic situation the left would have voters believe it would be. Instead, a Trump administration would take an entirely different approach with foreign affairs, focusing on relations with Russia, and intervening less on foreign soil, all while closely monitoring existing alliances at every step to ensure the US is getting a square deal.