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Donald Trump's foreign policy: 'America first'

Washington (CNN)Donald Trump had a foreign policy sales pitch for U.S. voters and a blunt message for the world Wednesday: America comes first.

The Republican presidential front-runner proposed a sweeping redirection of America's global role in a major speech, part of a string of planned addresses designed to flesh out what a Trump administration would look like and to establish leadership credentials ahead of an increasingly probable general election clash with Democrat and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

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The billionaire businessman simultaneously addressed restive American voters and global elites worried by his fiery rhetoric on national security: He stressed that the United States would always put its economic and foreign policy interests first but said that allies in Europe, Asia and the Middle East would benefit from a much stronger, less ambiguous U.S. role in the world -- as long as they were prepared to pay up.

"America first will be the overriding theme of my administration," Trump said in his remarks at Washington's Mayflower hotel, delivered from a prepared text and in a subdued fashion starkly at odds with the free-wheeling rhetorical style that has powered his political rise on the campaign trail.

"Under a Trump administration, no American citizen will ever again feel that their needs come second to the citizens of foreign countries," Trump said.

He added, "My foreign policy will always put the interests of the American people and American security first."

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The speech appeared to be a multi-pronged attempt to reach out to a host of important constituencies.

First, he appealed to a Republican foreign policy establishment that has been highly critical at points of his credentials on global national security policy. Second, he tried to reach wavering Republicans who may be excited by his harsh critique of the "Obama-Clinton" foreign policy. And third, he sought an affirmation to loyal supporters who have flocked to his "Make America Great" slogan amid claims that the United States is weak and not respected by its enemies or foes. His remarks immediately elicited criticism from Democrats, but some GOP insiders offered positive words that have until now been in short supply for Trump.

He spoke the morning after a sweep of five primary states that drew him markedly closer to the delegate total needed to claim the Republican nomination and at a time when his campaign has begun a broad effort to cast him in a more presidential light.

But Trump often lacked specifics, delivering little in the way of a recognizable foreign strategy and repeating many of his campaign trail declarations, and did not explain in detail how his ideas would be implemented or touch on the likely response from American allies and enemies to his sharp reorientation of U.S. global principles.

RELATED: Japan and South Korea hit back at Trump's nuclear comments

In comments likely to cause shockwaves among U.S friends in Europe and Asia, Trump previewed early attempts to cut deals with Russia and China -- seen by many adversaries as bent on overthrowing the current security order guaranteed by America. If there was not a good deal to be had, Trump warned, he would be prepared to walk away.

But he also said he would not rush to war, striking an isolationist note that contrasts with the last Republican administration of George W. Bush.

However, Trump was introduced by Zalmay Khalilzad, President George W. Bush's former ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq and the permanent representative to the United Nations.

"I will never send our finest into battle unless necessary, and I mean absolutely necessary, and will only do so if we have a plan for victory with a capital V," Trump emphasized.

Trump opened his speech vowing to "shake the rust off America's foreign policy" and said he would outline a vision for a U.S. foreign policy "that replaces randomness with purpose, ideology with strategy and chaos with peace."

OPINION: Does Donald Trump mean what he says about Muslims?

The billionaire then tore into Obama's foreign policy, panning the Iran nuclear deal and claiming the President has "weakened our military by weakening our economy."

He sought to wrap Clinton in his criticism of the Obama administration as well, referring to the "legacy of the Obama-Clinton interventions" as one of "weakness, confusion and disarray."

At the same time, he offered an olive branch of sorts to Muslim allies of the United States in rare remarks pointing to the ways in which the U.S. can have constructive relations with the Muslim world.

"We're going to be working very closely with our friends in the Muslim world, which are all at risk for violent attacks," he said.

His comments on Muslims and Middle East partners have been lightning rods throughout the campaign.

Trump had previously called for a temporary ban on Muslim foreigners entering the United States and suggested that U.S. Middle East allies need to shoulder more of the cost of American military involvement in the region.

But he added that these countries also need to acknowledge America's contributions.

"This has to be a two-way street," he said. "They must also be good to us. It's no longer one way, it's two way."

Source : http://edition.cnn.com/2016/04/27/politics/donald-trump-foreign-policy-speech/index.html

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