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Former Senator Criticizes Trump's Foreign Policy

| by Jordan Smith

Former Republican Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana has criticized President Donald Trump's approach to foreign policy in a speech.

Lugar, who served as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, described Trump's foreign policy as "simplistic, prosaic and reactive," The Indianapolis Star reported.

Lugar was an advocate of U.S. engagement in world affairs. In his remarks, he rejected Trump's "America first" policy, saying it was characteristic of "a selfish, inward-looking nation that is being motivated by fear, not a great superpower with capacity to shape global affairs."

Lugar pointed to the risk he sees in Trump's approach.

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"It is my contention today that if a strong and comprehensive American leadership is withdrawn from the global stage, broader efforts at conflict prevention will fail," said Lugar. "The people of the United States and most countries of the world will become poorer and will have to endure more frequent conflict."

The Trump administration has called into question Washington's commitment to lead the NATO military alliance. During the election campaign, Trump referred to the alliance as obsolete.

At a joint press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg April 12, Trump stated that NATO members had to "pay what they owe" in defense spending, according to Time.

But he appeared to reverse his position on the alliance's importance.

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"I said it was obsolete," Trump added of NATO. "It's no longer obsolete."

Trump acknowledged that differences exist between Washington and Russia.

"Right now, we're not getting along with Russia at all. We may be at an all-time low in terms of relationship with Russia," Trump added.

For Lugar, the United States' leadership role in the world represented a "heroic tradition" that should not be forgotten.

"But it has to be maintained," he added. "Once it is gone, it is very difficult to retrieve. Other power structures will occupy the void, and many of them are not sympathetic to American values and interests."

He also had some words to say about Trump's air strike on a Syrian air base April 6 in retaliation for an alleged chemical weapons attack.

"We cannot bomb our way to security," he said.

Trump argued that the firing of 59 cruise missiles was necessary "to end the slaughter and bloodshed in Syria," according to Global News.

Trump did not secure the approval of Congress before ordering the firing of the missiles.

Prior to the attack, he issued several warnings to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

"He's there and I guess he's running things, so something should happen," Trump commented.

Rex Tillerson, Trump's Secretary of State, noted that the strike showed what Trump was capable of.

"This clearly indicates the president is willing to take decisive action when called for," he said.

Sources: The Indianapolis Star, Global News, Time / Photo credit: Dave Winer/Flickr

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