Could a Pence Vice Presidency Unleash a Cheney-Style Foreign Policy?
Trump’s lack of foreign policy understanding might lead him to defer to his running mate Mike Pence, who has strong ties to the hawkish neoconservative wing of the Republican Party
THOMAS HEDGES, TRNN: For most Americans Tuesday’s first and last Vice Presidential debate was about getting acquainted with two rather unknown candidates. For some Virginia’s democratic senator Tim Kaine and Indiana’s republican Governor Mike Pence are safe, stable, and rather insignificant choices for America’s two presidential nominees. But others say that Trump’s ignorance when it comes to foreign policy especially might actually put Pence in a unique position to assert the GOP’s agenda from within the White House.
BEN NORTON: He’s made some very very ignorant remarks especially related to foreign policy and I think that it’s very possible to say that Pence could potentially monopolize the administration’s foreign policy.
HEDGES: But it’s not just Trump’s ignorance of the issues that could lead to a reliance on Pence. It’s Pence’s experience and ties to the hawkish neoconservative branch of the GOP that could also indicate what a Trump-Pence presidency could look like.
PENCE: I frankly hold Dick Cheney in very high regard.
ALLAN NAIRN: Pence loves Cheney. He was one of the point men in ramming the Cheney agenda through congress in terms of invading Iraq, pushing through the Patriot Act, expanding the NSA and other surveillance and black operations programs. Pence is a full supporter of that.
HEDGES: At last year’s political action conference, Pence said the 2016 elections could be the first foreign policy elections since 1980.
PENCE: And sadly this administration has reduced our army to it’s smallest size since 1940. Now history teaches that you cannot reduce our military strength without provoking our enemies. Weakness arouses evil.
HEDGES: On Tuesday night, Pence also repeated his support for Israel and more specifically his opposition to the Iran deal which Clinton said she would finalize as president.
PENCE: They have not renounced their nuclear ambitions and when the deal’s period runs out, there’s no limitation on them obtaining weapons.
NORTON: As governor of Indiana he pushed for sanctions against Iran and during the negotiations of the Iran deal he sent a letter with other republican leaders to Obama, pressuring Obama not to sign the agreement.
HEDGES: For some, the rhetoric is just rhetoric, even when it comes to the Iran deal which the international community has long already accepted.
ROBERT NAIMAN: The whole diplomatic process that led to the deal was predicated on international sanctions. So if Trump comes in and says the Iran deal is done, Europeans and the Russians and the Chinese are going to say so what? Who cares when you say this is done. And so what I suspect is going to happen is that Trump will move on.
HEDGES: Others say that the differences are not just rhetorical.
NAIRN: Clinton helped to initiate the negotiations that led to the Iran deal. Her main foreign policy person, Jake Sherman, was one of the key figures in bringing it about. Another key person in her orbit, Wendy Sherman, was a key negotiator. Clinton is a clear supporter of keeping the Iran deal intact and Trump and Pence are clear opponents. They say they’re going to void it and if they get a continued republican house which seems all but certain now and continued republican control of the senate which is a possibility especially if Trump wins, then they might be in a position to do that.
HEDGES: Allan Nairn who as an investigative reporter in place like East Timor, Indonesia, and Guatemala, has experienced firsthand the brutality of US backed governments, says that while Clinton will serve well the American military machine, Trump has the potential to release something more sinister and dangerous.
NAIRN: The bureaucrats of the US killing bureaucracy, the people who held the second and third and fourth echelon position in the Pentagon and the State Department and the CIA and the NSA of republican administrations, they’re very heavily backing Clinton. But the murder adventurers, the figures like Cheney and Rumsfeld, they’re with Trump. And I think with Trump-Pence, you get the worst of both worlds. You get a continuation of the US policy of trying to run the world. You get the continued willingness to kill civilians in mass. But then you get the extra added element of recklessness and deploying US killing power on personal whim. On insult. You get the element of animal spirits that a bureaucratic personality like Clinton doesn’t bring.
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