On the latest episode of Fox Nation’s “Tucker Carlson Today”, host Tucker Carlson spoke with Center for the National Interest fellow Dr. Sumantra Maitra about the rise of noninterventionism and aversion to “nation-building” on the right-wing of the Republican Party and how President Donald Trump became the catalyst that stunned the establishment in that way.
Maitra explained how he came to study foreign relations as part of his academic journey from his native India to New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. As the host remarked, he has been able to experience all ends of the queen’s “Commonwealth.”
Maitra said through his experience, the postulate in Western governance is that the public elects someone and that person then works within the system to bring change in a particular manner consequential to how the votes tallied.
“The elections in the US for the last three times when Clinton came to power, it was ‘it’s the economy stupid’ – when Bush came to power before 9/11, it was about ‘we need to retrench, we need to focus on China’. When Obama came to power, he was like, ‘we need to cut down on the wars’. When Trump came to power, it was the same thing.”
Maitra said Trump’s “rise” was unique in that the establishment believed his early rally orations would instantly make him an outcast in the primary and that the Republican Party would choose someone more in the historic mainstream – which at the time was said to be former Florida Gov. John “Jeb” Bush.
“When Trump was in campaign mode, he went to South Carolina — a military-heavy state. And he was the first guy who was there who said, ‘all the wars that we have done in the Middle East were stupid’,” Maitra said.
“We shouldn’t have been there. We need to cut down on alliances. These are the things that you don’t really hear often in the Republican circle or even in the conservatives circle,” he recalled, adding that permanent Washington believed such commentary in such a veteran-heavy place would doom the real estate mogul’s bid.
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“The Republican geniuses back in Washington looked at this where I was at the time and said, ‘well, he just lost … the one thing that veterans love are pointless wars in the Middle East’.”
Trump went on to win the Palmetto State – ahead of Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida.
“The average American public is far more grounded and realist compared to the establishment understanding of foreign policy. Now, why is that happening? Every time we are sending someone, you guys are sending someone and same in the UK, we are sending someone to power, saying that we don’t need to be connected to the Middle East. We don’t need to bring democracy,” Maitra said.
“Number one, I realized that if you have to have foreign policy realism, it would only come from the right. It would not come from the left. And number two, most of the foreign policy realists are talking about structural things, like structural forces, rise of China, aggregate power.”
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