Donald Trump’s backers seem convinced he is going to give the United States something close to the realist foreign policy that I (and others) have been advocating for some time. They are confident that Trump will play hardball with free-riding allies (or ditch them entirely), build a positive relationship with a misunderstood Russia, and emphasize stability over change in the Middle East. They are also certain that Trump will keep us out of war, do a lot of valuable “nation building” here at home, and enact policies that keep foreigners out of the country and preserve America’s supposedly “exceptional” character.
That may be why some of my friends, and Trump supporters like Justin Raimondo and Scott McConnell, keep wondering why I’m not embracing Trump. I’ve dealt with this issue in some previous columns (see here and here), but that was before Trump got elected — before we had any sense of how he planned to translate his contempt for the foreign-policy establishment, and the “complete and total disaster” that has been its legacy, into policy.
We now have some evidence to make a preliminary judgment, and I’ve made my own: Despite the overlap between some of Trump’s stated positions and some of the views I’ve expressed in the past, I’m still not jumping on the president-elect’s bandwagon.