Daniel R. DePetris
Security, North America
As commander-in-chief, Trump hasn’t follow his own advice.
Last Saturday marked Donald Trump’s first anniversary as president of the United States. As one might expect during such an occasion, various news outlets published a stream of news reports looking back on President Trump’s first twelve months, some tracking his accomplishments and failures during that time while others analyzed how the entire country has evolved under the billionaire’s stewardship. The Washington Post wasn’t far behind; on January 21, the paper reached out to current and former foreign diplomats around the world to gauge how their countries have adapted to Trump’s “America First” foreign policy. The conclusion the story’s authors make is a succinct indictment on the Trump administration’s foreign-policy record: “the ‘America first’ approach has . . . left the United States far more isolated. The overall impact of the policy, say diplomats, politicians and analysts interviewed around the world, has been a clear retrenchment of U.S. power—and an opportunity for U.S. adversaries such as China and Russia.”
Continue reading and you could be forgiven for assuming that America’s very essence as the unchallenged superpower has passed. The mainstream, bipartisan Washington consensus that has dominated U.S. foreign policy ever since the Soviet Union came tumbling down a quarter-century earlier, the story suggests, is now being replaced by a nation deliberately ceding strategic influence to its great power competitors and allies alike. The Trump administration, we are told, holds an unconventional view of the world and a drastically different interpretation of America’s responsibility in it. It is as if the foreign-policy graybeards who served in multiple administrations are imprisoned in a dudgeon somewhere in the Beltway, locked up in their cells, never to be heard from again.