Yesterday a group of neoconservatives denounced Donald Trump as an ignoramus on foreign policy. The neocons were among more than 75 Republican foreign policy experts who published a letter yesterday saying they are “united in opposition” to a Donald Trump presidency. That letter never mentioned Israel though it did speak of Trump’s “isolationism” and bigotry.
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 embrace of the expansive use of torture is inexcusable.
His hateful, anti-Muslim rhetoric undercuts the seriousness of combatting 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…
His insistence that Mexico will fund a wall on the southern border inflames unhelpful passions
Mitt Romney’s speech blasting Donald Trump today echoed some of these points, on Islam, torture, and foreign policy. Romney says Trump could lead the U.S. into “the abyss.”
What [Trump] said on “60 Minutes” about Syria and ISIS has to go down as the most ridiculous and dangerous idea of the campaign season: Let ISIS take out Assad, he said, and then we can pick up the remnants. Think about that: Let the most dangerous terror organization the world has ever known take over a country? This is recklessness in the extreme.
Donald Trump tells us that he is very, very smart. I’m afraid that when it comes to foreign policy he is very, very not smart…Mr. Trump is directing our anger for less than noble purposes. He creates scapegoats of Muslims and Mexican immigrants, he calls for the use of torture and for killing the innocent children and family members of terrorists. He cheers assaults on protesters. He applauds the prospect of twisting the Constitution to limit first amendment freedom of the press. This is the very brand of anger that has led other nations into the abyss.
Politico has a detailed piece on the neoconservative war on Trump by Michael Crowley. It cites his Israel views prominently.
In interviews with POLITICO, leading neocons — people who promoted the Iraq War, detest Putin and consider Israel’s security non-negotiable — said Trump would be a disaster…
[H]e has alarmed pro-Israel Republicans with his pledge to be a “neutral” arbiter in talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
Eliot A. Cohen, the neoconservative who organized the open letter on Trump above, tells Politico he would do as neoconservative Robert Kagan has said he would do: vote for Hillary Clinton over Trump.
“Hillary is the lesser evil, by a large margin,” says Cohen, signaling that neocons and Republicans may abandon the party.
Bill Kristol and Elliott Abrams have both advised Marco Rubio, and both of them tell Politico they would not vote for either Trump or Clinton. Kristol:
“If it’s Trump-Clinton, I’d work with others to recruit a strong conservative third party candidate, and do my best to help him win (which by the way would be more possible than people think, especially when people — finally — realize Trump shouldn’t be president and Hillary is indicted),” Kristol wrote in an email…
Some of these neocon warmongers are obviously concerned that Trump will force them into the margins of the discourse, at last:
Trump has shown little interest in the neoconservative cause of an interventionist foreign policy guided by principles like democracy and human rights. And he says the neocon project of invading Iraq may have been “the worst decision” in presidential history.
And Politico’s Crowley quotes Elliott Abrams baiting Robert Kagan over Hillary Clinton’s closeness to Sidney Blumenthal.
“I would ask Bob [Kagan] what job he thinks Sidney Blumenthal will have at the NSC before pulling the lever for Clinton,” he added — a reference to the longtime Clinton adviser and bete noir of the right.
This may be an implicit reference to Sidney’s son Max Blumenthal, whose anti-Zionism has already been an issue in the campaign, because his father sent along some of his articles to the former secretary of state.
Notice that signatories to that open letter do not include Bill Kristol, who probably has no problem with the torture issue. But Daniel Drezner, Max Boot, Niall Ferguson, Michael Chertoff, Michael Rubin and a host of other neoconservatives are on board:
Reuel Marc Gerecht
Gary J. Schmitt
Frances F. Townsend
Dov S. Zakheim
Robert B. Zoellick
On a related front, Politico reports on the massive amount of Wall Street funds going into the battle against Trump. Money’s not an object. The neoconservative Paul Singer, who supports gay rights and women’s rights and is big on Israel, is in with all four feet.
[One unnamed source] said Singer, who is worth close to $2 billion, is fully dedicated to making sure the group has all the funds it needs to inundate the airwaves in Florida and other states viewed as not entirely friendly to Trump, a group that includes Illinois, Missouri, Arizona, Wisconsin and other states in the Northeast and West. Ohio could join the list if Trump moves ahead of the state’s governor, John Kasich, in the polls.
Wall Street bigs may also swing to Hillary Clinton instead of Trump:
Clinton has many supporters on Wall Street — something that has complicated her primary campaign against Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders — and plenty of Republicans who don’t like her would still prefer her to Trump. “I could never support Hillary,” the Wall Street executive who raised money for Bush said. “But plenty of my friends will just hold their nose and vote for her.”