Sunday, March 5, 2017

Trump's Foreign Policy

A look at Trump's incoherent, chaotic, foreign policy. This quote is spot on:

"As a result, not only is there nothing even close to a Trump doctrine, which would be more than anyone should expect, but even saying what the administration’s policy is on any given major issue is virtually impossible. This is not just embarrassing, but dangerous. The world will not wait until we get our act together. Left to their own guesswork, adversaries and allies can easily miscalculate the strength of our support or opposition. And other nations—friends like Germany, but also competitors like China—will move to fill any vacuum left by the confusion over America’s basic approach. All this suggests that the handwringing during the campaign about the potential for Trump to squander America’s global position by deliberately shifting the country toward a posture of isolation was misplaced. What is emerging is something else entirely; an abdication of our leadership by default."

But it is dangerously incorrect to claim, as the headline does, that Trump has "no foreign policy". The lack of coherence is, in fact, a policy, not an accident. This should not be confused with any sort of "three-dimensional chess" or "deliberate confusion". That is too optimistic a view of what we have. Rather, Trump's foreign policy reflects his view of the world and America's place in it. He sees both in simplistic, "toy world" terms, and does not feel the need to have a coherent policy beyond brandishing the military and threatening world leaders randomly without thinking. Policies are seen as necessary in situations that are recognized as being too complex for ad-hoc decision-making. Trump does not see the world in those terms. He plans to run the presidency as he has run his business: As an opportunistic enterprise. Of course, this will quickly lead to disaster on multiple fronts, not just in foreign policy. As others recognize the superficiality and arbitrariness of Trump's governance, whole industries will arise to take advantage of this. Breitbart is only the first of these. The price, of course, will be paid by the country and, indeed, the whole world. Trump isn't just the dog that has caught the car; he's the dog who has managed to get in the driver's seat. And we are all passengers in that car....

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