On February 8, I wrote about indications that Donald Trump may run as the peace candidate in the 2024 Republican presidential primary. Concluding, I commented, “We’ll see if Trump follows through with this campaign strategy.” This week, the Trump campaign released a new video of Trump speaking about matters related to war and peace. The video indicates that Trump is indeed following through on that peace candidate campaign strategy.
The title the Trump campaign put on the video promotes the peace candidate message with gusto: “Agenda47: President Trump Announces Plan to Stop the America Last Warmongers and Globalists.” The “Agenda47” in the title is an apparent reference to Trump holding the 47th American presidency should he win the 2024 election.
In the video, Trump starts off with a bold and blunt comment in line with the video title, declaring:
World War III has never been closer than it is right now. We need to clean house of all of the warmongers and America Last globalists and the Deep State, the Pentagon, the State Department, and the national security-industrial complex. One of the reasons I was the only president in generations who didn’t start a war is that I was the only president who rejected the catastrophic advice of many of Washington’s generals, bureaucrats, and the so-called diplomats who only know how to get us into conflict, but they don’t know how to get us out.
Proceeding, Trump points to the United States Department of State and individuals including Victoria Nuland, who Trump mentions by name, having been “seeking confrontation for a long time” including through supporting uprisings in Ukraine. He compares their activities to the activities taken by others before to stir up conflict with Iraq. The Iraq related activities were a major matter Trump complained about again and again in his successful 2016 presidential campaign.
While Trump says that “none of this excuses in any way the outrageous an horrible invasion of Ukraine one year ago” by Russia, he also asserts that, had he — instead of Joe Biden — been in the White House, that invasion would not have taken place. Further, asserts Trump, the war in Ukraine could be ended “in 24 hours with the right leadership.”
Explaining how his approach would be different, Trump notes his support for building up the military for “peace through strength” along with a plan to eliminate the pressure toward war that arises from the military-industrial complex. Trump states: “We’ll also stop the lobbyists and the big defense contractors from going in and pushing our senior military and national security officials toward conflict only to reward them when they retire with lucrative jobs getting paid millions and millions of dollars.” Trump here seems to be committing to the task President Dwight D. Eisenhower recommended in Eisenhower’s farewell address in the relatively early days of the national-security state. Though that task may involve undertaking a difficult to impossible balancing act, it is refreshing to see a candidate talk about at least attempting to accomplish it instead of just signing off on whatever the military-industrial complex demands.
In contrast with his presentation of himself as the peace candidate, Trump calls his adversaries in the election contest “candidates of war,” stating:
Take a look at the globalist warmonger donors backing our opponents. That’s because they’re candidates of war.
Concluding his comments in the video, Trump declares:
At the end of my next four years, the warmongerers, frauds, and failures of the senior ranks of our government will all be gone, and we will have a new group of competent national security officials who believe in defending America’s vital interests above all else.
While this Trump campaign video does a good job of presenting Trump as the peace candidate, there is reason to suspect that Trump will, after election to office, end up falling short on delivering as a peace president. Journalist Aaron Maté, substitute hosting at the Jimmy Dore Show, presents reason for doubt of Trump’s peace cred in his review of the Trump campaign video, while also not totally dismissing Trump’s comments. Maté discusses Trump’s time as president when his administration took actions including, in relation to Russia, sending weapons to Ukraine that the previous presidential administration would not and imposing sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline that could transport Russian gas to Germany. While Trump ran in 2016 as a candidate critical of prior American warmongering, Maté discusses how in office as president “he appointed a bunch of warmongers and he pursued warmongering policies.” You can watch Maté’s insightful critique here.