Trump’s Machismo vs. Sweden’s ‘Feminist Foreign Policy’

Trump’s Machismo vs. Sweden’s ‘Feminist Foreign Policy’

Trump’s Machismo vs. Sweden’s ‘Feminist Foreign Policy’

Investing in women and girls does much more to keep us safe and promote peace than does spending even greater amounts on weapons designed to cause mass devastation.


At a rally in Florida this month, President Trump sparked an international uproar when he seemingly cited a terrorist attack in Sweden that never actually happened. Trump later clarified that he was alluding to a segment he’d seen on Fox News regarding Sweden’s immigration policies, which isn’t much of a defense, but the damage was already done. His comment became a punch line on late-night television and social media. Even the Swedish embassy in Washington piled on, tweeting that it looked forward to “informing” the president.

Yet the widespread mockery of Trump’s flub, while entertaining, somewhat overshadowed the particularly relevant context in which it occurred. Trump was attempting to defend his deplorable Muslim travel ban by invoking the need to “keep our country safe.” And he was doing it by calling attention to a country, Sweden, whose unconventional approach to foreign policy and security issues underscores the senselessness of the agenda that Trump and his chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, are advancing.

When it comes to national security, Trump’s ostensible strategy is rooted in jingoism and outward displays of strength. Aside from Bannon, whose unusual role on the National Security Council is a matter of grave concern, Trump has surrounded himself largely with generals (including, until his resignation, Michael Flynn) who enable him to project an image of military might. His policies and statements often seem to be driven by an archaic and self-defeating notion of “toughness”: immigration raids, the border wall, support for torture, even his all-caps tweets. “If we don’t get tough and we don’t get smart—and fast—we’re not going to have a country anymore,” Trump said in a campaign speech on terrorism. “There will be nothing left.”

Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.

Dear reader,

I hope you enjoyed the article you just read. It’s just one of the many deeply reported and boundary-pushing stories we publish every day at The Nation. In a time of continued erosion of our fundamental rights and urgent global struggles for peace, independent journalism is now more vital than ever.

As a Nation reader, you are likely an engaged progressive who is passionate about bold ideas. I know I can count on you to help sustain our mission-driven journalism.

This month, we’re kicking off an ambitious Summer Fundraising Campaign with the goal of raising $15,000. With your support, we can continue to produce the hard-hitting journalism you rely on to cut through the noise of conservative, corporate media. Please, donate today.

A better world is out there—and we need your support to reach it.


Katrina vanden Heuvel
Editorial Director and Publisher, The Nation

Ad Policy