Hillary Stares Down Trump at AIPAC Meeting

While terrorists attack Brussels, Trump criticizes NATO and shifts on Israel

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) March 21, 2016 in Washington, DC. Presidential candidates from both parties gathered in Washington to pitch their views on Israel.
Donald Trump addresses the annual policy conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) March 21 in Washington, DC.

When Hillary Clinton addressed the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) on Monday she reiterated her long term support for Israel, promised to take the U.S.-Israeli alliance to to new levels of cooperation, and blasted Donald Trump for previously stating that he would be neutral on relations between Israel and her Arab neighbors.

By the time Mr. Trump addressed AIPAC later in the day he had abandoned his previous neutrality toward Israel and followed the lead of Ms. Clinton by coming out foursquare behind Israel. Instead of criticizing Ms. Clinton before AIPAC he parroted her praise and unqualified support for Israel. Good. Ms. Clinton has long been right about Israel; Mr. Trump had been wrong when he declared his neutrality; Ms. Clinton attacked; Mr. Trump retreated. This issue at least is now settled (for today) in favor of Ms. Clinton’s unwavering support for Israel.

One of the less pleasant aspects of the 2016 campaign is to witness endless hate-Hillary blogs, opeds, diatribes, screeds and propaganda pieces. I will answer them all in one sentence: they are expressions of hating Hillary written by Hillary haters to other Hillary haters and for this reason they do not matter.

Recent polling has found Ms. Clinton leads Mr. Trump by about 10 points. If anything, her margin of victory against Mr. Trump has been rising in national polls as these attacks against Ms. Clinton have proliferated in rightist circles and become more fanatical in content and tone.

One of the reasons Ms. Clinton’s lead over Mr. Trump has become so substantial is that she is viewed by national security leaders from both parties and by a large majority of voters as a far more credible commander in chief than he is, and even a long list of Republican and conservative national security experts believe Mr. Trump would be a dangerous commander in chief.

This morning we have news of another major terror attack in Europe. Yesterday, before retreating and revealing his turnabout and reversing his previous position of neutrality toward Israel, Mr. Trump gave an astonishing interview to the editorial board of The Washington Post.

In his interview, which will send shockwaves in national security circles throughout the democratic world—including in Israel—Mr. Trump aggressively criticized America’s relationships with NATO and with our allies in the Pacific.

Mr. Trump, who has been praised by Russian strongman Vladimir Putin, and who has praised Mr. Putin in return, essentially called for a neo-isolationist withdrawal from America’s current role of world leadership. Mr. Trump said he does not want to trigger a third world war with Russia and China, which will be interpreted by dictators in Russia and China as a signal to increase their aggression from Ukraine and Europe to the South China and Asia if Mr. Trump is elected president.

Ms. Clinton sounds like Winston Churchill in comparison to Mr. Trump. Her vast experience in national security and foreign affairs towers over his often-changing positions and neo-isolationism that is alarming to policymakers and security experts from Paris and Berlin to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv to Seoul and Taipei.

It is no secret that if Mr. Trump is nominated a growing number of leading Republicans would either support Ms. Clinton or run a third party Republican which would assure her victory in November.

To fully appreciate the widespread fear and concern about Mr. Trump as a potential commander in chief throughout the national security community, let me quote in full a recent public letter from more than 100 Republican national security leaders including some who would be described as “neoconservatives” and others who would be described as “realists.”

Here is what these Republicans wrote:

“We the undersigned, members of the Republican national security community, represent a broad spectrum of opinion on America’s role in the world and what is necessary to keep us safe and prosperous. We have disagreed with one another on many issues, including the Iraq war and intervention in Syria. But we are united in our opposition to a Donald Trump presidency. Recognizing as we do, the conditions in American politics that have contributed to his popularity, we nonetheless are obligated to state our core objections clearly:

His vision of American influence and power in the world is wildly inconsistent and unmoored in principle. He swings from isolationism to military adventurism within the space of one sentence.

His advocacy for aggressively waging trade wars is a recipe for economic disaster in a globally connected world.

His embrace of the expansive use of torture is inexcusable.

His hateful, anti-Muslim rhetoric undercuts the seriousness of combating Islamic radicalism by alienating partners in the Islamic world making significant contributions to the effort. Furthermore, it endangers the safety and Constitutionally guaranteed freedoms of American Muslims.

Controlling our border and preventing illegal immigration is a serious issue, but his insistence that Mexico will fund a wall on the southern border inflames unhelpful passions, and rests on an utter misreading of, and contempt for, our southern neighbor.

Similarly, his insistence that close allies such as Japan must pay vast sums for protection is the sentiment of a racketeer, not the leader of the alliances that have served us so well since World War II.

His admiration for foreign dictators such as Vladimir Putin is unacceptable for the leader of the world’s greatest democracy.

He is fundamentally dishonest. Evidence of this includes his attempts to deny positions he has unquestionably taken in the past, including on the 2003 Iraq war and the 2011 Libyan conflict. We accept that views evolve over time, but this is simply misrepresentation.

His equation of business acumen with foreign policy experience is false. Not all lethal conflicts can be resolved as a real estate deal might, and there is no recourse to bankruptcy court in international affairs.

Mr. Trump’s own statements lead us to conclude that as president, he would use the authority of his office to act in ways that make America less safe, and which would diminish our standing in the world. Furthermore, his expansive view of how presidential power should be wielded against his detractors poses a distinct threat to civil liberty in the United States. Therefore, as committed and loyal Republicans, we are unable to support a Party ticket with Mr. Trump at its head. We commit ourselves to working energetically to prevent the election of someone so utterly unfitted to the office.”

Those not my words. They are not the words of Ms. Clinton. They are not the words of Democrats or liberals. They are the words of more than 100 Republican conservatives, Republican moderates, Republican neoconservatives and Republican realists.

I rest my case.

Disclosure: Donald Trump is the father-in-law of Jared Kushner, the publisher of Observer Media.

Hillary Stares Down Trump at AIPAC Meeting