war on the rocks

Open Letter on Donald Trump from GOP National Security Leaders

March 2, 2016

We the undersigned, members of the Republican national security community, represent a broad spectrum of opinion on America’s role in the world and what is necessary to keep us safe and prosperous. We have disagreed with one another on many issues, including the Iraq war and intervention in Syria. But we are united in our opposition to a Donald Trump presidency. Recognizing as we do, the conditions in American politics that have contributed to his popularity, we nonetheless are obligated to state our core objections clearly:

His vision of American influence and power in the world is wildly inconsistent and unmoored in principle. He swings from isolationism to military adventurism within the space of one sentence.

His advocacy for aggressively waging trade wars is a recipe for economic disaster in a globally connected world.

His embrace of the expansive use of torture is inexcusable.

His hateful, anti-Muslim rhetoric undercuts the seriousness of combating Islamic radicalism by alienating partners in the Islamic world making significant contributions to the effort. Furthermore, it endangers the safety and Constitutionally guaranteed freedoms of American Muslims.

Controlling our border and preventing illegal immigration is a serious issue, but his insistence that Mexico will fund a wall on the southern border inflames unhelpful passions, and rests on an utter misreading of, and contempt for, our southern neighbor.

Similarly, his insistence that close allies such as Japan must pay vast sums for protection is the sentiment of a racketeer, not the leader of the alliances that have served us so well since World War II.

His admiration for foreign dictators such as Vladimir Putin is unacceptable for the leader of the world’s greatest democracy.

He is fundamentally dishonest. Evidence of this includes his attempts to deny positions he has unquestionably taken in the past, including on the 2003 Iraq war and the 2011 Libyan conflict. We accept that views evolve over time, but this is simply misrepresentation.

His equation of business acumen with foreign policy experience is false. Not all lethal conflicts can be resolved as a real estate deal might, and there is no recourse to bankruptcy court in international affairs.

Mr. Trump’s own statements lead us to conclude that as president, he would use the authority of his office to act in ways that make America less safe, and which would diminish our standing in the world. Furthermore, his expansive view of how presidential power should be wielded against his detractors poses a distinct threat to civil liberty in the United States. Therefore, as committed and loyal Republicans, we are unable to support a Party ticket with Mr. Trump at its head. We commit ourselves to working energetically to prevent the election of someone so utterly unfitted to the office.

 

Ken Adelman
David Adesnik
Michael Auslin
Mike Baker
Christopher Barton
Kevin W. Billings
Robert D. Blackwill
Daniel A. Blumenthal
Max Boot
Ellen Bork
Anna Borshchevskaya
Joseph A. Bosco
Michael Chertoff
Patrick Chovanec
James Clad
Eliot A. Cohen
Gus Coldebella
Carrie Cordero
Michael Coulter
Chester A. Crocker
Patrick M. Cronin
Seth Cropsey
Tom Donnelly
Daniel Drezner
Colin Dueck
Eric Edelman
Joseph Esposito
Charles Fairbanks
Richard A. Falkenrath
Peter D. Feaver
Niall Ferguson
Jamie Fly
Richard Fontaine
Aaron Friedberg
Dan Gabriel
Greg Garcia
Jana Chapman Gates
Jeffrey Gedmin
Reuel Marc Gerecht
James K. Glassman
David Gordon
Christopher J. Griffin
Mary R. Habeck
Paul Haenle
Melinda Haring
Robert Hastings
Rebeccah Heinrichs
Francis Q. Hoang
Rachel Hoff
Jeffrey W. Hornung
William C. Inboden
Jamil N. Jaffer
Ash Jain
Marc C. Johnson
Myriah Jordan
Robert G. Joseph
Tim Kane
Kate Kidder
Robert Kagan
Rep. Jim Kolbe
David Kramer
Stephen Krasner

Matthew Kroenig
Frank Lavin
Philip I. Levy
Philip Lohaus
Mary Beth Long
Peter Mansoor
John Maurer
Matthew McCabe
Bryan McGrath
Richard G. Miles
Paul D. Miller
Charles Morrison
Michael B. Mukasey
Scott W. Muller
Lester Munson
Andrew S. Natsios
Michael Noonan
Tom Nichols
John  Noonan
Roger F. Noriega
Stephen E. Ockenden
John Osborn
Robert T. Osterhaler
Mackubin T. Owens
Daniel Pipes
Everett Pyatt
Martha T. Rainville
Stephen Rodriguez
Marc A. Ross
Nicholas Rostow
Michael Rubin
Daniel F. Runde
Benjamin Runkle
Richard L. Russell
Andrew Sagor
Kori Schake
Randy Scheunemann
Gary J. Schmitt
Gabriel Schoenfeld
Russell Seitz
Kalev I. Sepp
Vance Serchuk
David R. Shedd
Gary Shiffman
Kristen Silverberg
Michael Singh
Ray Takeyh
Jeremy Teigen
William H. Tobey
Frances F. Townsend
Jan Van Tol
Daniel Vajdich
Ruth Wedgwood
Albert Wolf
Julie Wood
Dov S. Zakheim
Roger Zakheim
Sam Zega
Philip Zelikow
Robert B. Zoellick
Laurence Zuriff

Number of Signatories: 122

 

The statement above was coordinated by Dr. Eliot A. Cohen, former Counselor of the Department of State (2007–8), and Bryan McGrath, Managing Director of The FerryBridge Group, a defense consultancy. They encourage other members of the Republican foreign policy and national security communities wishing to sign the declaration to contact them.

Want to get involved? Read Bryan McGrath’s proposed plan for taking down Trump. 

NatSec2016

 

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore