The Corner

National Security & Defense

Trump and the Non-Interventionists

President Donald Trump listens to reporters in Washington, D.C. (Yuri Gripas/Reuters)

There’s a school of foreign-policy thinkers — advocates of U.S. retrenchment and restraint — who think of President Trump as one of them and are repeatedly disappointed when he hires people with the same views as previous Republican presidents.

“[S]o many of us were worried and confused when President Trump asked Bolton to serve as his national security adviser last year. The two men could not have more fundamental disagreements on foreign policy,” wrote Daniel DePetris last week.

“Trump cannot govern the way he wants to by recruiting from the George W. Bush and John McCain B Teams,” James Antle opined.

Since Bolton’s departure from the administration, President Trump has said he is inclined to be tougher on Venezuela than Bolton; declared the U.S. “locked and loaded” to respond to Iranian attacks on Saudi oil fields; and hired a replacement for Bolton, Robert O’Brien, who previously worked for George W. Bush and Mitt Romney.

Maybe it’s time for principled anti-interventionists to recognize that Trump doesn’t want the same things they want.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.


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