The Corner

Trump’s Foreign Policy

Jacob Heilbrunn, “The Neocons vs. Donald Trump,” The New York Times, March 10:

One can hear echoes of this Republican past in Mr. Trump’s own positions. His animating credo on foreign policy seems to be to farm out the heavy lifting to other countries whenever possible. Speaking on “The Hugh Hewitt Show” last August, he made his distaste for intervention clear: “At some point, we can’t be the policeman of the world. We have to rebuild our own country.” Since then, to the consternation of the party establishment, he has also forthrightly denounced the Iraq war, declaring that the Bush administration’s case for it was based on a “lie.”

The Trump doctrine, if that term can be employed, is reminiscent of basic foreign policy realist tenets. In fact, as Thomas Wright of the Brookings Institution first pointed out in Politico, Mr. Trump has a “remarkably coherent and consistent worldview.” Mr. Trump, you could even say, is a spheres-of-influence kind of guy: Europe should take care of Ukraine, Russia should handle Syria.

Trump, March 10: We should send 20-30,000 troops to the Middle East to defeat Isis.

Michael Brendan Dougherty comments: “It is unclear which generals have Trump’s ear, but the number of troops he cited sounds remarkably like he has been told about Frederick Kagan’s white paper on defeating ISIS. Essentially, Trump endorsed the plan for Iraq and Syria that has been promoted lustily by Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio.”

I’d be careful before calling Trump’s views on anything ”remarkably coherent and consistent.”


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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