Letters to the Editor: Trump is bringing back the 1930s isolationism that gave us a world war

President Trump speaks during a news conference at the White House on Oct. 16.
(Michael Reynolds / EPA-EFE/REX)

To the editor: Doyle McManus’ column is a welcome effort to argue that President Trump does have foreign policy principles, and that the “chaos in Syria shows them in action.”

Trump has shown some consistency in his foreign policy: He has eschewed alliances, admired dictators and cared little about human rights. McManus does not mention, however, that America has been down this road before in the 1920s and ‘30s. We called it isolationism.

One of the great achievements of the United States after World War II has been staying engaged in world affairs and forging global alliances. We have built a system of security that has avoided a third world war.


Republican and Democratic presidents have engaged in the world for 75 years. It is difficult to see any of those presidents making Trump’s mistake in Syria, because they used their professional diplomatic, military and intelligence officers. Trump, on the other hand, has attacked these very foundations of our national security and has endangered the nation.

Larry T. Caldwell, Beaumont

The writer has taught national security and U.S.-Russia relations for more than 50 years at Occidental College and the University of Redlands.


To the editor: Look at the leaders who have benefited from Trump’s actions: Vladimir Putin of Russia, Kim Jong Un of North Korea, Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, Bashar Assad of Syria and Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia.

What do all these men have in common? They are all brutal autocrats. That’s what Trump wants to be, and he is halfway there thanks to the Republicans who have allowed him to sow chaos at home and abroad.

Trump is clearly unwell, as shown by his recent ramblings and personal attacks. Forget about impeachment; the 25th Amendment needs to be invoked before he compounds the damage already done.


Phil Kirk, Encinitas


To the editor: The first question that we should have asked in the beginning of Syria’s civil war was whether we were invited there. We were not.

I feel sorry for the Kurds, but we simply cannot afford to place our soldiers in harm’s way and waste our money fighting endless wars in faraway lands.

We should push the Turkish and Syrian governments to create an independent homeland for the Kurds. After all, Turkey recognized Kosovo, so why shouldn’t it recognize an independent nation for the Kurds? Beyond that, we have limited options unless we want to go to war with Russia.

I support our withdrawal from Syria. We simply have too many important issues to resolve in our own country.

Michael Pravica, Henderson, Nev.


To the editor: In his short letter, Chris Norby, a former member of the state Assembly, managed to falsely equate U.S. roles in Vietnam, Afghanistan and Syria.

While that is certainly excellent fodder for a debate, the Kurdish people have no need to consider Norby’s point of view. They are living, and dying, its essence. If you want to ally with the United States in spite of repeated abandonment, “fine.”

Christina Hosmer, Laguna Niguel