‘America First’ Rears its Ugly Head

President Donald Trump kicked off his first presidential trip abroad by making a massive arms deal with Saudi Arabia. The initial sale is worth over $100 billion, and future commitments will likely result in upwards of $350 billion coming into the US. It’s the most lucrative weapons deal in US history.

This is big. This is a lot of money. This will create jobs and boost the economy in America. This will result in investment from abroad. This shows how effective the President is, like what he’s doing or not.

There’s something else though, a promise kept by the president, and it’s one of many reasons I couldn’t bring myself to vote for him.

Unlike much of Trump’s rhetoric, ‘America First’ is simple and honest. Trump is not interested in the internal affairs of other nations nor the well-being of their people. He just wants America to succeed financially and patriotically. He wants to live in a flourishing and proud nation, and being the man to serve as the catalyst in making that happen would be icing on his cake.

While I certainly want my country to succeed, I do not value the life of any American over any non-American. I see each individual human life and the liberty that comes with it to be uniquely precious. Because of this, I am not willing to participate in forceful interventions that I know will help one innocent person or group while hurting another.

Trump’s arms sale coincides with a long list of actions that prove his willingness to enrich America while showing little regard for the people of the world. In recent weeks, Trump has welcomed leaders from oppressive regimes in Turkey and Russia into the White House. He has expressed willingness to speak with dictators around the world, insofar as including Kim Jung Un.

I support friendly relations with nations the US disagrees with because I believe that is the right path to free trade, free speech, and free movement for all people across the globe. I want everyone to consistently grow closer to reclaiming those rights, and I believe that sanctions and war take the world in the opposite direction. As crazy as it may sound, I’d try to befriend our so-called enemies if I were heading the executive branch too.

However, I fear that Trump favors kinship with these nations for different reasons. Trump appears to be running America like a business (another promise kept) and treating other nations as if their leaders were their owners. The weapons sale, while not unique in American history, takes money from taxpaying Saudis who have little or no say in what their government does with the revenue. The result in America is not quite the same. Our weapons manufacturers are contracted to earn foreign money… a lot of it.

The Saudi Arabian people gain government-owned tools of war; US weapons manufacturers earn a profit, and our nation subsequently grows wealthier.

More importantly, Saudi Arabia supports the ouster of Syrian President Bashar al Assad and is currently partaking in a vicious proxy war in Yemen. Both of these conflicts have the Saudis at odds with Iran, a nation I believe the US should start cooperating and trading with immediately.

This furthers the reality of Trump’s explicit ‘America First’ + implicit screw everyone else principle. While Trump has so far proven mostly (mostly…) honest about not wanting to get the US military more deeply involved in conflicts abroad, the weapons sale could lead to Saudi Arabia stepping up their intervention in Syria, Yemen, and wherever else they see opportunity.

Instead of having the US march into Syria outright, Trump could be allowing America to profit from Saudi Arabia’s military conquests there. I can’t decide whether that’s worse than or equally as bad as taking care of the Syrian situation ourselves.

Here’s a quick breakdown of what I want, what Trump promised, what Trump seems to be doing right now, and what Trump might eventually do:

What I support What Trump

said he would do

What Trump seems to be doing What Trump might eventually do
-Stop American interventionism for the sake of the American economy


-Stop American interventionism so Syria and other nations can advance by solving their own conflicts independently


-Fix the American economy by ending dependence upon the military industrial complex

-Stop American interventionism for the sake of the American economy


-Stop American

interventionism because what happens in other countries should not be on America’s radar


-Tell other nations to take their turn fighting terrorism

-Stop American interventionism for the sake of the American economy


-Use the military industrial complex to boost the American economy with no regard for effects of arms sales on other nations


-Tell other nations to take their turn fighting terrorism

-Continue American interventionism to please nations which contribute most to the military industrial complex


Perhaps Trump has persuaded Saudi Arabia not to get too involved in Syria and to go the safe zones route in favor of removing Assad. Perhaps Saudi Arabia will use their new weapons to fight terrorism as Trump says he wants them to.

If I’m right about what Trump is up to right now, the America First agenda could be as or far more dangerous than the World Police agenda the US has been following for the past several decades. At that point, the “at least Hillary isn’t president” argument goes out the window.


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‘America First’ Rears its Ugly Head

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