Politics, North America
A discussion at the Center for the National Interest examined Trump’s presidency thus far.
Has Donald Trump performed well in foreign policy over the past year? Or have things been rockier than Trump’s admirers might like to concede? These were some of the questions debated at a lunch at the Center for the National Interest (CFTNI). The lunch was moderated by Charles Boyd, a retired four-star general of the United States Air Force who is the chairman of CFTNI.
Niles Gardiner, who is the director of the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom at the Heritage Foundation, took a decidedly optimistic view. “I didn’t work for the Trump transition or the Trump campaign,” Gardiner was careful to inform the audience during the lunch at the Center for the National Interest (CFTNI) on Friday. He went on to note that he had been a Ted Cruz supporter during the 2016 primary campaign. But Gardiner has been pleasantly surprised, even enthused, by year one of President Donald J. Trump. Trump’s foreign policy, he suggested, has been more successful than many in the foreign policy establishment have been ready to acknowledge. According to Gardiner,
You saw the president give an absolutely outstanding, in my view, speech in Warsaw, sending absolutely the right message to Russia and other strategic adversaries of the United States and also a very powerful defense of Western values and Western civilization. I think his Warsaw speech has actually been his most important speech so far.
Gardiner also awarded the Trump administration plaudits for its handling of Iran, particularly the nuclear deal and recent anti-regime protests. “The approach has been far, far better than the Obama administration’s approach,” Gardiner said. The Obama administration had been suffused with illusions about the efficacy of the deal. Trump, by contrast, is not. “The Iran nuclear agreement has been a spectacular failure, in many respects, and the president has rightly called for the agreement to be strengthened.” Absent real progress, he added, “the United States will walk away from the deal.” Gardiner’s summation could not have been more positive: “There is much to be commended in this administration’s approach,” said Gardiner.