In her DNC speech, the nominee laid out why her opponent dangers toppling the world order. Why the war-and-peace dialogue is not only fair–it's necessary.”>
One of the best lines in Hillary Clintons acceptance speech went when she quoted Jackie Kennedys relief that little humen werent in charge during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, when the world went, as Robert McNamara once told me, merely inches from nuclear war.
If the Republican candidate for chairman can be bait[ ed] with a tweet, as Clinton so memorably set itif that disqualifies him from handling nuclear weapon, as she saidthen health risks of World War III should be an issue in the 2016 campaign. Beyond his manifestly unsuitable temperament, Donald Trump will endanger the world as we know it, as Sen. Cory Booker set it. If you bust up the architecture of the postwar worldas Trump is threatening to do, either intentionally or out of ignorancethe war-and-peace conversation is not only fair, but necessary.
In that sense, this election may be a bit like 1964, when President Lyndon Johnson ran an ad against Republican challenger Barry Goldwater of a little girl picking a daisy while a mushroom cloud explosions in the background. It was a harsh assault, and only ran once, but it reflected deep malaise about Goldwater undermining the structure of global relations that maintained the peace. These are the stakes, LBJ intones, as a atomic weapon detonates.
These are the stakes this time, too. We know from history that appeasement invites war. For all his bluster, Trump has already demonstrated himself to be an appeaser, from his America First slogan to his strange unwillingness to utter even a single word of criticism for Russian President and former KGB chief Vladimir Putin, one of the only major figures in the world to escape his insults( Trump, remember, even assaulted the pope ).
Will a President Trump allow Russiastill a serious threat to world peace even after the demise of communismto gobble up not just Crimea and eastern Ukraine but the Baltic countries? This would threaten a confrontation with Western Europe much as Adolf Hitlers demand for breathing room in Czechoslovakia and other countries kicked off World War II.
Clinton would stick with the world order that has served us so well. Im proud to stand by NATO in any threat they face, including from Russia, she said in a little-noticed but important part of her speech.
With Trump, marriage get a dangerous secret relationship with Russian oligarchs. Three of his top advisersPaul Manafort, Carter Page, and retired Gen. Michael Flynnall have close ties to Russian or Russian-backed thugs and propagandists. And we now know from the FBI that Russia is intervening directly in a presidential election on Trumps behalf by hacking the files of the Democratic National Committee on the eve of its convention.
The tilt to our old adversary is mind-blowing. Trump has been dodging the issue of his views on Crimea and Ukraine and at the Republican National Convention, Trumpists quietly made a single and suspicious altered in the GOP platformthey removed the plank siding with Ukraine against the territorial encroachments of Russia. Whatever Trumps fiscal connections to Russian oligarchs who already favor Trump Tower apartmentsand well learn more soon enoughthe Trump-Putin Pact is reshaping geopolitics, one tweet at time.
But even all of this is less dangerous than Trumps attitude toward American alliances around the world. They make up the centerpiece of what keeps us all safe in our beds at nightsafe not just from terrorists( intelligence sharing is critical to preventing attacks) but from the big wars it has been our immense luck to have avoided in our adult lifetimes.
For more than 70 years, we have maintained the peace between large nations through diplomacy, deterrence, and a nuclear umbrella provided by the United States that has prevented most of our friends from feeling the need to develop nuclear weapons.
Now that bipartisan commitment to collective securitystrengthened by every president of the postwar erahas been refuted by Trump, who says he would walk away from outdated NATO and allow Japan, South Korea, and other friends( not to mention adversaries) to procure nuclear weapons.
That is why it was so important that Clinton defended the existing international order. When she spoke Thursday about being stronger together( a smart campaign slogan, it turns out) and dinged Trump for his dangerous I, alone approach, it brought to intellect another together speech from more than 70 years ago by an American chairman whose presence I felt in the convention hall.
FDRs the only thing we have to fear is fear itself resonated powerfully, but so did his vision for the postwar world.