15 November 2016
Secretary of State Giuliani?
People were expecting Rudolph Giuliani to become Donald Trump's Attorney General, but perhaps the former New York City mayor's reputation as a prosecutor was too impressive for the President-Elect. Instead, Giuliani is now said to be a front runner for Secretary of State in a Trump administration. It looks like an odd choice if it happens, but as a onetime presidential candidate himself Giuliani should be presumed to have some knowledge of foreign affairs. A Giuliani nomination will be taken as a signal that the War on Terror will be the relatively narrow focus of the Trump presidency. Giuliani, who has been described as a sort of "authoritarian" in his own right, doesn't seem to share the foreign-policy establishment's suspicions toward Russia, and it's unlikely that "democracy promotion" will be a high priority in a Giuliani State Department. That might make life more difficult for democracy promoters in various countries, but on the other hand, if the U.S. lays off on that front, maybe such people are less likely to be seen as American stooges by their political leaders and fellow citizens. As for the War on Terror, the challenge for Giuliani will be the same as for Trump; to avoid handicapping the fight against the self-proclaimed Islamic State by persisting in a zionist Iranophobia that will keep us alienated from Russia and its friends in the Middle East. Giuliani might not be the most promising diplomat on that point, but he'd certainly be preferable to John Bolton, who had been reported under consideration last week. Appointing George W. Bush's U.N. ambassador would betray just about every promise Trump has made to pursue a non-neocon foreign policy. I can only assume that he considered the opinionated Bolton at all was because he liked the idea of our head diplomat telling off the international establishment the way Trump himself tells off the American establishment. The more recent talk about Giuliani suggests that Trump and/or his advisers came to their senses, but at least one Republican still isn't satisfied. Sen. Rand Paul sees either man as too interventionist for our own good and has vowed to oppose either one if nominated. Given that the Republicans will have no more than 52 seats in the next Senate Trump will have to be careful not to offend too many others with whatever choice he makes, unless he can make deals for Democratic support of his eventual nominee. If Trump's eventual choice inspires a truly meaningful debate on American foreign policy, it may prove to have been worth the trouble.