"Two Veteran Lawmakers worry global diplomacy is being undervalued" PBS NewsHour 3/30/2017
SUMMARY: President Trump vowed on the campaign trail to improve America's global standing. After two months in office, the president has shaken up the world stage, from dust-ups with allies to continued questions about Russia. Judy Woodruff gets views from veteran lawmakers former Rep. Lee Hamilton (D-Ind.), and former Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), about how they see Trump foreign policy so far.
JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour): President Trump promised often during the campaign to improve America's standing across the globe.
Now, more than two months in office, Mr. Trump has shaken up the world stage, from dust-ups with longtime allies to continued questions about Russia.
We examine the administration's foreign policy now with two veteran lawmakers who helped to shape U.S. national security, former Republican Senator Richard Lugar, and former Democratic Congressman Lee Hamilton, both from Indiana. They are now both distinguished scholars at Indiana University.
And welcome to the NewsHour to both of you.
The New York Times reported today — and I will start with you, Senator Lugar — that the United States is expanding — expanding and deepening its military involvement in the Middle East under President Trump in Iraq, in Syria, in Yemen. At the same time, he's calling for cutbacks in spending on diplomacy.
What do you think of this approach?
FORMER SEN. RICHARD LUGAR, R-Ind.: Well, I believe the approach is very fearful.
And we really need to have all of our alliances as strong as possible. I mean, as a matter of fact, to have a military strategy for the Middle East, as opposed to a few troops that are going here and there at various times, I'm really concerned about the President's lack of enthusiasm for NATO, for example.
I'm worried about our — even the alliance problems in our own hemisphere with the NAFTA, quite apart from those ties with the Far East. In other words, we need to reach out, offering leadership in the world. And we need to be finding new allies, new people to help us.
The Middle East will not be solved by a few Americans who are sent over there, even if we augment that by a few more.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Representative Hamilton, your take on the first two months of this presidency on foreign policy?
FORMER REP. LEE HAMILTON, D-Ind.: Well, I agree very much with what Dick said.
You need to have I a strong military and be prepared to use it on occasion as a last resort. But you certainly have to have strong diplomacy.
Almost all of these problems that we're dealing with, I think all of them, ultimately have a political solution. You do not get that kind of a solution through military action. You get it through diplomacy, negotiations, consultations, endless meetings, and conversations of all kinds with your friends and your enemies.
We need a strong diplomatic effort in order to advance our interests in the world.