The Battleground State Report Discusses Foreign Policy and the Unpredictability of Trump


The Battleground State Report, airing Fridays at 8 am CST with Steve Gill, Michael Patrick Leahy, and Doug Kellett is a one-hour radio show from Star News Digital Media in the early stages of a national weekend syndication roll out. Gill, Leahy, and Kellett talked about the constant tinderbox that is the Middle East and Trump’s unpredictability when it comes to foreign policy.

Towards the end of the segment, the three discussed how several deals in US history have been “the worst” and how Trump was able to get Mexico’s attention by raising tariffs on goods coming from the country.

Gill: And just to kind of roll into this weekend the news breaking that on Friday that the US Military believes that the Iranians are responsible for the attack on a couple of tankers in the Strait of Hormuz. Mines that were apparently magnetic mines that were exploded. And I could think of a lot of really bad jobs. And I think what this story underlines by the way that there will be events that are not foreseen that might have a big impact on these presidential, senatorial, congressional elections.

And if you start having military conflict in the Iranian arena. In the Middle East, what impact does that have? What political impact outside of the obvious carnage that might occur if there is a military conflict with Iran clearly seeking and being more and more provocative? But as I look at the story, the other thing that kind of struck me, guys, was I can think of a lot of bad jobs that somebody might try to give you or hire you for or send you out to do. But if you’re an Iranian and they say, “Hey there’s an un-exploded mine attached to that tanker full of oil, go get it off.” That’s one of the worst jobs I can think of.  “No can we not let Larry go do that?” I really don’t want to be pulling un-exploded mines off the side of a tanker.

Leahy: Yeah. Yeah. I’m with you on that.

Kellett: That’s why they have professionals to do that, Steve, right? Call the professionals. Let them go take care of it I guess, right?

Gill: Somewhere out there is some Iranian guy that was dispatched in that boat to pull the mine off the ship saying, “Couldn’t I just go be Trump’s communications director instead?”

Kellett: Wow. Which one is safer.

Gill: A longer and safer job rather than pulling mines off the side of ships. But again the bigger issue here is what does the US do about something like this? I mean, you’ve got the President that is dealing with North Korea that keeps threatening more provocative actions. You have Russia that’s becoming more provocative. You have the Middle East which is constantly on fire.  You’ve got the civil war in Sudan.

You’ve got proxy wars with the Syrians and the Saudis and the Iraqi’s. You’ve got a lot of different players in the Middle East that are always throwing fuel into the ammo dump and throwing in a match in after it. One of the things that President Trump has been able to do is to successfully navigate the first two and a half years with minimal conflict and yet the Middle East is always one of those things that could erupt overnight.

Leahy: Yeah. Absolutely. It’s a very, very dangerous place and we live in very dangerous times. You know we talked about this particular issue for sometime. Doug, it seems to me there are parallels to what happened in World War II here with the aggression from Germany. And when it is not resisted it continues. Do you think that’s the case here with Iran?

Kellett: Well, it could be. I think the President’s foreign policy where people, you know, some criticize it because he says one thing and then maybe the State Department or the Defense Department has sort of another policy. You know the President’s bluster in a public way. I think in some ways that kind of works for him because I think there is an element of  “see what you guys think of the rest of the world,” a bit of ” “I’m not sure what he’s going to do,” kind of thing here. And I think the Iranians are probably trying to figure him out.

Gill: The lack of predictability is one of his great strengths.

Leahy: I think there are a lot of people in America trying to figure him out too.

Gill: They play this good cop, bad cop routine in foreign policy and sometimes Trump’s playing both roles. In a single Tweet.

Leahy: (Leahy laughing) In one Tweet! That’s the unpredictability, Steve, of Donald Trump.

Gill: And yet, when you see him stand up and fight for US interests in ways that we haven’t seen in past presidents. Again you look at the Mexico immigration deal that was just struck where the President says, “We’re going to raise tariffs on you. We’re going to raise taxes on your goods. It will devastate your economy.” The Mexicans couldn’t get to Washington fast enough to say, “No mas, no mas. We’ll do what you want.”

And get’s a deal that would not of been accomplished had it not been the tough stance that President Trump took and got the results. The same thing is true when you look at the NAFTA 2.0. The US-Mexico-Canada Agreement that will replace NAFTA, which was one of President Trump’s key promises on the campaign trail that we’re going to fix NAFTA. Worst deal in history. There are so many “worst deals” in history, by the way.

Listen to the full show here:

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Tune in every Friday morning and listen to The Battleground State Report with Steve Gill, Michael Patrick Leahy, and Doug Kellett.

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