Donald Trump just outlined his foreign-policy vision for the US in a major speech

Trump Puts US Allies, IS Group on Notice
Trump Puts US Allies, IS Group on Notice

Donald Trump, the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination, delivered the first major foreign-policy address of his campaign Wednesday.

The speech was pre-written and delivered with the help of teleprompters, which Trump rarely uses.

But though the technique was different, the content was much of the same.

Trump's remarks didn't diverge significantly from what he says when he speaks off-the-cuff, and he didn't offer much new insight into his foreign-policy thinking.

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Trump emphasized a strategy of what he called "America first," saying it would be "the major and overriding theme of my administration."

"My foreign policy will always put the interests of the American people, and American security, above all else," Trump said, according to prepared remarks released by his campaign. "That will be the foundation of every decision that I will make."

He praised US involvement in World War II, saying America "saved the world" in the 1940 by helping beat back the Nazis. But he then went on to outline a view of American power that leaned in an isolationist direction, saying we should stand by our allies while at the same time demanding they either pay up or fend for themselves.

"We have spent trillions of dollars over time — on planes, missiles, ships, equipment — building up our military to provide a strong defense for Europe and Asia," Trump said. "The countries we are defending must pay for the cost of this defense — and, if not, the US must be prepared to let these countries defend themselves."

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After suggesting that the US might abandon its allies if they don't contribute more financially to pacts like the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Trump said America would be a reliable ally.

"To all our friends and allies, I say America is going to be strong again," Trump said. "America is going to be a reliable friend and ally again."

Respect was another major theme of Trump's address. He insisted that the world doesn't take America seriously anymore.

"Our rivals no longer respect us," Trump said. "In fact, they are just as confused as our allies, but an even bigger problem is that they don't take us seriously anymore."

Trump also criticized neoconservative, interventionist foreign policy and slammed President Barack Obama for his administration's involvement in Libya. He did not, however, didn't mention former President George W. Bush, who made the decision to invade Iraq and who Trump has criticized on the campaign trail.

Trump said:

We went from mistakes in Iraq to Egypt to Libya, to President Obama's line in the sand in Syria. Each of these actions have helped to throw the region into chaos, and gave ISIS the space it needs to grow and prosper.

It all began with the dangerous idea that we could make Western democracies out of countries that had no experience or interest in becoming a Western democracy.

We tore up what institutions they had and then were surprised at what we unleashed. Civil war, religious fanaticism; thousands of American lives, and many trillions of dollars, were lost as a result. The vacuum was created that ISIS would fill. Iran, too, would rush in and fill the void, much to their unjust enrichment.

Trump ended the speech by discussing what he'd do as president, including modernizing America's arsenal of nuclear weapons, working with allies in the Middle East to stop the spread of radical extremism, and improving relations with China.

Several foreign-policy experts and journalists panned the speech and noted the inconsistencies in Trump's policies:

Trump was mocked for mispronouncing Tanzania and saying we missed a chance to kill Osama bin Laden before 9/11:

But the post-speech analysis wasn't all bad. Brookings Institution fellow Shadi Hamid said Trump's foreign policy is better than that of his rival, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz:

Former US House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich praised the speech:

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Originally published