Political analysts, media personalities, and voters around the country have criticized Donald Trump for his lack of foreign policy making experience. While he certainly has spent less time dealing with international relations than his opponent Hillary Clinton, Trump's lack of practice should not deter voters from supporting him in November.
As history shows, extensive practice with foreign policy is not a prerequisite for the presidency.
Many politicians decide to run for president of the United States after spending time as State Representatives, Governors, or other state-level leaders. Not all successful presidential nominees have the same level of federal experience as a former Secretary of State.
In 2008, current President Barack Obama was criticized for his lack of foreign policy experience as well. The former senator from Illinois and his campaign managers worked to prove to the American people that he had the necessary skills to lead the country.
Before receiving the Democratic nomination, Obama said, “Experience in Washington is not knowledge of the world.”
This statement helped Obama beat Clinton in the Democratic primaries in 2008, and it should translate to current times.
The fact that Trump has less experience on Capitol Hill than Clinton should not lead to his demise.
In fact, Trump’s fresh take on international matters may present an advantage. New York Post writer Amir Taheri suggests that Clinton would have to spend a great deal of time apologizing for bruised relations caused by the Obama administration. As a Democrat who had a hand in many of the deals that have transpired over the last years, Clinton will have the responsibility of cleaning up numerous messes as president.
Trump, on the other hand, will not feel any obligation to seek forgiveness for diplomatic transactions of the past because he was not involved in any of them in the slightest.
Trump, though inexperienced, has very clear objectives. He has said that, instead of monitoring behavior in foreign nations, his militaristic goal is to “totally dismantle Iran’s global terror network” at any cost. He also supports normalization of relations with Cuba, and conditional treatment of NATO ally Russia, according to The New York Times.
After establishing his goals, foreign policy decisions move to the jurisdiction of others. The president has an entire council of Cabinet members for a reason, including Secretaries of Defense and Homeland Security.
As a president, a candidate needs to have clean and concise ideas. He or she does not need years of foreign policy experience. That knowledge can rest safely in the minds of the president’s advisors.
What Trump does have is a strong base of economic knowledge and an even stronger personality that could command respect from foreign leaders, despite his lack of academic knowledge or resume-building experience. He brings other skills to the table as a candidate.
Trump is not the first man to run for president without a great deal of experience in international relations, and he will not be the last. If voters are looking for reasons to refrain from supporting Trump, they need to look further than his lack of foreign policy experience.