Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's vision for a quasi-isolationist foreign policy would undo half a century's worth of American hegemony across the world, Republican foreign policy hawks and neoconservatives say.
The former GOP foreign policy advisers, many of whom advised the administrations of former presidents George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan, told the Baltimore Sun they believe Trump's worldview is formed mostly from half-remembered Sunday morning political talk shows.
They said they worry that, if he becomes president, the real estate mogul would overturn almost 60 years of American foreign policy.
Trump's foreign policy "would destroy the greatest single asset we have, which is our alliance structure,” said Elliott Abrams, a neoconservative and former advisor to presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.
Trump, who has said he would consider restructuring American treaties and potentially pull American military assets from far-flung corners of the world, has scared off some of the GOP's most influential foreign policy hawks, the Sun reported. Many are now openly supporting Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton or are considering voting for her.
If Trump is elected, "our friends aren’t going to trust us and our enemies aren’t going to fear us," said Paul Wolfowitz, the former deputy defense secretary who served President George W. Bush.
Trump's statements on world affairs have so many GOP stalwarts nervous that they banded together in March and penned a public letter describing the former reality TV star and businessman as unfit for the White House.
“His vision of American influence and power in the world is wildly inconsistent and unmoored in principle,” the letter reads. “He swings from isolationism to military adventurism within the space of one sentence.”
Many of the GOP neoconservatives and foreign policy advisors the Sun spoke to were involved in scandals and disastrous episodes in destabilizing entire regions of the world.
Salon reports that Abrams pleaded guilty to two charges of lying to congress during the fallout from the Iran-Contra affair, in which U.S. officials secretly smuggled weapons to Iran. According to Mother Jones, Wolfowitz was one of the primary architects of the Iraq war and played a crucial part in selling the war's urgency by claiming dictator Saddam Hussein was hiding chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.
Other signatories to the anti-Trump foreign policy letter, like Eliot A. Cohen, were relentless promoters of the war in Iraq, pushing later-disproved claims that Hussein had links to al-Qaeda and Iraq was a state sponsor of terrorism directed at the U.S.
Still, some say they see the possibility of a Trump presidency as worse for the U.S. than war and regional instability. Cohen, who was one of the loudest voices praising former Secretary of State Colin Powell's case for the war in Iraq, told the Sun he signed the letter opposing Trump “so I can look my grandchildren in the eye 15 years from now.”