Opinion The Atlantic Daily: What Trump Revealed About the World Order

02:50  21 october  2020
02:50  21 october  2020 Source:   theatlantic.com

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President Donald Trump held up a mirror to the American foreign-policy establishment, two of our writers argue, forcing it to reckon with a broken status quo.

“Trump may have no idea that he is revealing any of this; he may not even agree with the things he is revealing,” Tom McTague and Peter Nicholas write. “Yet he is revealing them nonetheless.”

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On Memorial Day, as the nation turned to the president to lead its shared rituals of unity and common purpose, he revealed himself unequal to the office he holds.

The presidency of Donald Trump , and the prospect of a new and radically different vision of U.S. foreign policy, has raised the question of whether the United States is still the leader of the free world . The commentator Anne Applebaum, for example, concluded that the West might be nearing the end

Tom and Peter, who are based in London and Washington, D.C., respectively, conducted several dozen interviews with experts in the United States and in Europe, as well as current and former administration officials. Below are three of their takeaways from the past four years of Trumpism:

1. Trump revealed a new world order.

After decades of international adventures that have left the U.S. overstretched, overwhelmed, and overburdened, it was Trump who blurted out the uncomfortable truth: American foreign policy was failing, and had been for decades.

2. His foreign policy remains driven by naïveté …

Time and again, we were struck by the assessment, related by multiple sources in separate meetings, that Trump’s most important characteristic when it came to foreign policy was not what his critics charge—his amorality or vindictiveness, his lack of success or diplomatic vandalism. They said … [it] was his naïveté.

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Whatever the impetus, Trump ’s all-in reaction is worrisome. My experience as a counterterrorism official in the Obama administration drove home the inescapable fact So why doesn’t Trump himself get it? His quick pivot on Doha reveals a perspective on his part that reaches beyond counterterrorism.

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3. … and, practically speaking, empty.

Trump, even as he calls out the American-built world order for its failures, has no coherent plan to replace it, no system that would work better. He isn’t trying to reorder the world; he’s just pointing at the order and calling it naked. Or as [Fiona Hill, Trump’s former senior director on European and Russian affairs at the National Security Council] put it: “He’s a chaos agent.”

Continue reading their piece.

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