Fred Kaplan picked up on another line from Trump’s foreign policy speech that I noticed when I was listening to it yesterday:
And there were the bombastic pronouncements with no basis whatsoever. “The world is more dangerous than it has ever been.” (Think about that claim for one minute, and you’ll see how absurd it is.)
This was my response yesterday:
“More dangerous now than it has ever been” This is a flat-out lie. It’s delusional, but also a standard line in D.C.
— Daniel Larison (@DanielLarison) April 27, 2016
This is the sort of excessive alarmist rhetoric that Republican hawks routinely use. They claim that the world is supposedly more dangerous and filled with more threats than ever before, which they cite as the reasons why the U.S. has to keep increasing its military spending and meddling all around the globe. In addition to being irresponsible, this claim shows how poor their grasp of history is and how faulty their understanding of the contemporary world is. This is an instance in which Trump is echoing conventional Republican foreign policy thinking, and getting things horribly wrong as a result.
The world has rarely been more peaceful and secure overall than it is today, and it has clearly been much more perilous at several points in just the last century. When a politician tells you that the world is more dangerous now than ever, he is either horribly misinformed, trying to sell you a bad policy, or both. The funny thing is that Trump’s line is exactly what someone like Lindsey Graham says all the time, but neither Graham nor Trump’s supporters would like to admit any similarity between the two of them. When it comes to exaggerating foreign threats, they have more in common than either of them admits.