Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump. Photo by: Gage Skidmore / CC BY-SA

Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump on Wednesday outlined his approach to foreign policy, providing the latest glimpse into how his administration would approach issues such as peace building and trade.

Coming off a five-state victory in Tuesday night’s primary elections, the business tycoon-turned-politician is inching closer to grasping his party’s nomination for president of the United States, and in his speech at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C., criticized U.S. foreign policy for focusing on “nation building,” specifically in the Middle East.

Trump said that chaos and the rise of Islamic State group in the Middle East “all began with a dangerous idea that we could make Western democracies out of countries that had no experience or interest in becoming a Western democracy.”

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“We tore up what institutions they had and then were surprised at what we unleashed,” Trump said, adding, “we’re getting out of the nation building business and instead focusing on creating stability in the world.”

Trump called current U.S. foreign policy “a complete and total disaster,” and said that as president, his goal would be “to defeat terrorists and promote regional stability, not radical change.”

Trump emphasized that a rebuilding U.S. military should not be concerned with climate change — a pressing challenge for the global development community, which the Pentagon has also raised as a current and potential security threat.

“Our military is depleted and we’re asking our generals and military leaders to worry about global warming,” Trump said as part of his criticism of President Barack Obama’s foreign policy and its recognition of the historic Paris climate agreement.

The Republican presidential frontrunner added that as chief executive he would put the American people and American interests first and said that “we will no longer surrender this country or its people to the false song of globalism.”

“I am skeptical of international unions that tie us up and bring America down,” Trump said. “And under my administration we will never enter America into any agreement that reduces our ability to control our own affairs.”

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About the author

  • Jeff Tyson

    Jeff is a former global development reporter for Devex. Based in Washington, D.C., he covers multilateral affairs, U.S. aid, and international development trends. He has worked with human rights organizations in both Senegal and the U.S., and prior to joining Devex worked as a production assistant at National Public Radio. He holds a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree in international relations and French from the University of Rochester.