21st Century Wire says…
President Trump is drifting further into Neoconservative land, and very soon there will be no turning back.
Although you wouldn’t know it from the US media blackout – the US has quietly deployed upwards of 4,000 combat troops in Syria – in total violation of both US and international law.
Upon closer examination, however, Trump’s foreign policy is fast resembling Israel’s foreign policy.
This is exactly what candidate Trump promised he wouldn’t do…
The National Interest
Candidate Donald Trump offered a sharp break from his predecessors. He was particularly critical of neoconservatives, who seemed to back war at every turn.
Indeed, he promised not to include in his administration “those who have perfect resumes but very little to brag about except responsibility for a long history of failed policies and continued losses at war.” And he’s generally kept that commitment, for instance rejecting as deputy secretary of state Elliot Abrams, who said Trump was unfit to be president.
Substantively candidate Trump appeared to offer not so much a philosophy as an inclination. Practical if not exactly realist, he cared more for consequences than his three immediate predecessors, who had treated wars as moral crusades in Somalia, the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria. In contrast, Trump promised: “unlike other candidates for the presidency, war and aggression will not be my first instinct.”
Yet so far the Trump administration is shaping up as a disappointment for those who hoped for a break from the liberal interventionist/neoconservative synthesis.
The first problem is staffing. In Washington people are policy. The president can speak and tweet, but he needs others to turn ideas into reality and implement his directives. It doesn’t appear that he has any foreign policy realists around him, or anyone with a restrained view of America’s international responsibilities.
Rex Tillerson, James Mattis and H. R. McMaster are all serious and talented, and none are neocons. But all seem inclined toward traditional foreign policy approaches and committed to moderating their boss’s unconventional thoughts. Most of the names mentioned for deputy secretary of state have been reliably hawkish, or some combination of hawk and centrist—Abrams, John Bolton, the rewired Jon Huntsman…
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