16:42 GMT +3 hours24 August 2016
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Republican presidential candidate businessman Donald Trump speaks with the media in the Spin Room following the Republican Presidential Debate, hosted by CNN, at The Venetian Las Vegas on December 15, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada

Touting Isolationism, Trump Employs a String of Neoconservative Advisors

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Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump previously indicated that, if elected, his administration would focus on non-interventionist policies. His list of foreign policy advisers, released on Monday, says otherwise.

As a businessman with no governing experience, foreign policy has always been an especially vulnerable aspect of the billionaire’s presidential campaign. As Trump inches closer to the Republican nomination, his campaign has begun to shift gears, as he will likely face-off against former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

To distance himself from the Democratic frontrunner, he appears to have adopted an isolationist viewpoint. During an interview with the Washington Post on Monday, Trump questioned the need for the NATO alliance.

"We certainly can’t afford to do this anymore," he said. "NATO is costing us a fortune, and yes, we’re protecting Europe with NATO, but we’re spending a lot of money."

Trump stated a similar position with regards to US involvement on the Korean peninsula.

"South Korea is [a] very rich, great industrial country, and yet we’re not reimbursed fairly for what we do," he said. "We’re constantly sending our ships, sending our planes, doing our war games – we’re reimbursed a fraction of what this is all costing."

But while Trump may be voicing support for non-interventionism, his actions suggest otherwise. The billionaire provided the Post with the five-member list of his foreign policy team, and it includes a string of individuals deeply invested in the military industrial complex.

At the top of that list is Keith Kellogg, a retired Army lieutenant. Kellogg is a former employee of CACI International, a “multinational professional services and information technology company” that operates across the world.

In 2004, CACI was sued by 256 Iraqis over its alleged involvement in torture, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, in relation to the Abu Ghraib prison scandal.

Next on Trump’s list is Joe Schmitz, a former inspector general with the US Defense Department and, perhaps even more problematically for Trump’s isolationism, a former employee of security contractor Academi, when the company was still branded as Blackwater.

While Academi was still known as Blackwater, the contractor was vilified after its employees killed 17 Iraqi civilians in 2007. For his part, Schmitz once publicly argued that lawsuits regarding Blackwater’s actions in Afghanistan should be dismissed. He argued that any charges filed in Afghanistan should be subject to regional Sharia law, which, conveniently, does not hold companies responsible for the actions of its employees.

George Papadopoulos, Trump’s third adviser, is the director of the Center for International Energy and Natural Resources Law & Security at the London Center of International Law. While he doesn’t have as questionably hawkish a past as Schmitz and Kellogg, he was a foreign policy adviser to erstwhile presidential hopeful Ben Carson. Given that the neurosurgeon candidate struggled to differentiate "Hamas" from "hummus," it doesn’t bode well for Trump.

Dr. Walid Phares, another Trump pick, is a professor at the National Defense University in Washington DC. Phares is a former adviser to a violent Christian militia group responsible for a number of human rights violations during the Lebanese Civil War. According to Adam Sewer, writing for Mother Jones, Phares has been described by his colleagues as "one of the group’s chief ideologists, working closely with the Lebanese Forces’ Fifth Bureau, a unit that specialized in psychological warfare."

Phares served in 2012 as a top adviser to former presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who ran on a promise to "deter Russian ambitions."

The last name on Trump’s list is Carter Page, a managing partner at private equity firm Global Energy Capital. A former fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, Page worked on US-style "economic development" in the Caspian Sea region and in former Soviet states.

Trump may claim that he seeks to reign in US adventurism, but based on the records of his chosen advisers, a Trump presidency would likely mean business as usual.

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Tags:
2016 election, NATO, Carter Page, Walid Phares, George Papadopoulos, Joe Schmitz, Keith Kellogg, Hillary Clinton, Ben Carson, Donald Trump, Afghanistan, Iraq, United States
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  • terryjohnodgers
    All of those named are 'former' employees' of one group or another excepting for Papadopalous who apparently is not as 'hawkish' as the others.

    But this article while identifying a 'problem' does not update the reader with what those former employees are now beholden to.

    So, unless those identified can still be upheld as not having changed their viewpoints, why not have former 'employees' of those 'employers' who at least know the inner workings of some of the global elite? Could not Trump benefit from that accumulated knowledge that he could then use to America's benefit and against the globalists?
  • dvdgrg09
    The criminals in charge of the US, whoever they may be at the moment and whatever part of it they control, may have realized the US is going to be held responsible for its $20 trillion debt. Duck's job will be to oversee a domestic agenda of getting rid of the academic and financial dead wood in the establishment and getting the country back to productive labor, which is where his mafia connections will be handy. This list of suspects is conspicuous by their obscurity, but none of them appears come from neocon land. The US will be trying to extricate itself from its criminal networks overseas and bringing them under control at home, and that is Duck world.
  • Mitach2002
    The slaves of America one day will learn that there is no great white hope, no pixie dust and fairies. You slaves will take it until you finally revolt.
    Til then eat cake.
  • jas
    During an interview with the Washington Post on Monday, Trump questioned the need for the NATO alliance.
    --
    Sounds good to me.
  • He doesn't HAVE to do everything these guys want/say. Theyre ''advisors''. He may have just gotten them on the cheap just to have some ''experience' on the team which basically equates to surface value. As far as what TRUMP is going to do? That could be WAY different. I am not going to count all the eggs until they're in the pudding.
  • In the end -- Lets not forget. The ruling establishment HATES this guy. BOTH parties want him locked in a trunk and thrown into the ocean. The VERY notion of working WITH the Russians instead of against them, has made him more hated by the government than anyone else. You KNOW somethings up when the Republican party, who DESPERATELY needs the support of the people, is just as much his enemy as the killary and the demmycrats. They mask their hatred under the "racist remarks" and get all the millenials charged up over it but in the end so what if he is racist? This is supposed to be a country where people are entitled to their beliefs no matter how popular or unpopular those beliefs are. I mean, why isn't everyone THIS fired up over the continued existence of the KKK and the neo nazi party of america? Why isn't everyone this fired up over WESTBORO BAPTIST CHURCH???? All these groups, who's core values are based primarly on violence toward others, are allowed to have their beliefs and hold marches and meetings and no one cares. I honestly don't give a damn about Trumps personal beliefs about these people or those people. I care about his ACTIONS when it comes to rebuilding our nation and putting an end to the endless wars we've been engaged in since.... 1941!
  • siberianhusky
    Isolationism, the idea of looking after yourself first. The Duck has a good idea.
    The MIC and ZionNazie war mongers will hate him. A possible Jack Kennedy termination in the future for The Donald?
  • siberianhusky
    Woke up this morning and read about Brussels. Do you still think the Trump's idea about closing borders and retreating back into the USA is a bad idea?

    Also his idea of getting out of NATO, Korea, Japan and other to save money and to let those countries look after themselves. Money that than can be spend on the American people and infrastructure.

    I put money on it that somebody, some corporation (MIC) , some political nut case will assassinate him. Not the first time that it happened in the USA.
  • Kim Kyu-Un
    Ooh, boy is this some old-school stuff, that hasn't been heard since the Reagan era. Yes, it was those GI WWII Veterans, who always said that Europe and Asia should pay more for American defense, and blamed specifically THAT, for the reason that Germany and Japan, eventually took over the competitive advantage from the US, in the late 1980's. That was back when the Yen was at 80 to the dollar, and Japan was buying up the USA.

    What they didn't know, was what NAFTA would do later, sending all the rest of the US jobs to Mexico, and later to China. So, now the economic negatives against the US are a little bit more complex, than just paying for defense.

    But, just imagine how those South Korean Protesters against the USA are going to feel, if America starts a massive withdrawal from South Korea; and let's them deal with the Reunification Issues with Kim Jong Un in the North, all by themselves?

    Reunification surrender of South Korea to the North? What does that mean to the US? That they eliminate Hyundai from the competition; and US Auto Companies get more market share? That all of this Korean production with Samsung products, moves back to US domestic companies? It is hard to say how much most Americans would really mourn the "reunification" of the South with the North, if that leads to the US getting its jobs and industries back? Maybe Trump really has a point here?
  • Ann
    Who wrote this trash?

    First of all, allow me to remind you that ALL contractors working for the govt will do WHATEVER THE PRESIDENT WANTS. They do not make their own decisions on policy - they follow orders.

    As for the lawsuit, remember that those 256 Iraqis could not sue the U.S. govt, so going after the peons was their ONLY choice. As usual, the neocons in DC avoided culpability by throwing peons under the bus. Now they want to use THEIR own policies to break Trump?

    I don't think so. There is also NOTHING in this article that proves any warmongering among his picks - especially since they will be following THE PRESIDENT, not the other way around - TRUMP IS NOT OBAMA.

    They had to scrape pretty low and twist pretty hard for this anti-Trump article...so I say again - GET OUT OF OUR POLITICS.
  • Annin reply toMother Gorilla(Show commentHide comment)
    Mother Gorilla, Corporate interests don't change with the president/administration.
  • Annin reply to (Show commentHide comment)
    cezum, And you're going to take the word of some nameless writer to change your mind? WHERE IS THE PROOF in anything said in this article? It is a;; conjecture and supposition. Think for yourself.
  • Annin reply toterryjohnodgers(Show commentHide comment)
    terryjohnodgers, Yes, people are just lapping this crap up, aren't they? No proof needed, not even a NAME on the article.
  • Annin reply toMitach2002(Show commentHide comment)
    Mitach2002, I'd be happy if they just stopped jumping on any bandwagon that rolls by, without even considering who is driving, or where is it going.
  • Annin reply tojas(Show commentHide comment)
    jas, As shown by this article, the neocons and warmongers don't like it much.
  • Annin reply to (Show commentHide comment)
    Kristina M, AGREED. but you know, they can't find anything against Trump himself, so they're attacking his WIFE for being a model before she married Trump...this is the people they should pay attention to?... Anyone who sways with any such soft breeze, probably shouldn't be allowed to do anything important that requires thinking.
  • Annin reply toKim Kyu-Un(Show commentHide comment)
    Kim Kyu-Un, the only reason there are "Reunification Issues" in Korea in the first place, IS BECAUSE OF U.S. INTERFERENCE, for purposes of U.S. regional domination. That's it. Most of the conflicts in the last 110 years or more may not have even happened, but for political interference from the US/CIA.
  • rmpblue
    Now let's talk about Russia's system and advisors . . .

    Oh wait. That's a closed system where we know little but suffer the autocratic Putin buddy-system rip-offs and international ego trips.

    What a lark . . .
  • Mother Gorillain reply toAnn(Show commentHide comment)
    Ann, well, we now know the questionable background of these advisors, ain't that enough?
  • Annin reply toMother Gorilla(Show commentHide comment)
    Mother Gorilla, I got in trouble for stealing flowers from the schoolyard when I was in elementary school - YET, today I am not a thief. What I'm trying to say is, these points brought up here are subject to INTERPRETATION. The reasoning behind spilling these details NOW, rather than THEN is suspect to me...besides, what do the details REALLY mean? Are the things that we did decades ago, REALLY leading our behaviors NOW? Are we even getting an accurate picture of these snippets now, or are we receiving a conveniently slanted account? How much TRUTH is really being told? What is the REAL motivation for revealing these alleged short-falls now?

    There are too many questions involved, because it is just not that simple, unless you're a sheeple with a pliable, simple mind...therein, lies the reason for publishing this info now. Please don't fall for the same old establishment lies and/or tricks like this one.

    "questionable background" is right. There is NO PROOF, just "questions." That's the best psy-op there is -- when the people actually think they arrived at their own conclusion...when they were led there all along.
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