Trump’s Foreign Policy Mishmash

Under fierce attack from the moment of his stunning election, President Trump has failed to pursue a coherent foreign policy as he mixes and matches old-style belligerence with an ad hoc pragmatism, explains Gilbert Doctorow.

By Gilbert Doctorow

President Trump’s foreign policy has been an incredible mishmash of contradictions, perhaps partly a result of unsuccessful tactical concessions to keep his political enemies forever guessing his real intentions. But the underlying reality is that many of his personnel choices have created an organizational chart that would fit the agenda of a neoconservative president.

President Donald Trump announces the selection of Gen. H.R. McMaster as his new National Security Adviser on Feb. 20, 2017. (Screen shot from

Trump has appointed a great many advisers and administrators at odds with his America First vision, people such as National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster; Fiona Hill of the National Security Council staff; Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley; and Secretary of Defense James “Mad Dog” Mattis. None of them share Trump’s overall vision of having the United States step back from day-to-day running of the world and engaging in never-ending wars, refocusing the nation on rebuilding its infrastructure and job creation.

The announcement this past week that President Trump is proceeding with the nomination of Jon Huntsman to be the next U.S. Ambassador to Russia falls entirely in line with this pattern. Though Huntsman does not speak a word of Russian, he has great talents and professional experience as a diplomat, having served as George W. Bush’s ambassador to China. Yet, as the chair of the Atlantic Council, a pro-NATO/anti-Russia think tank, his world view is both clear and anti-Trump. Moreover, in his service in Beijing, Huntsman was solicitous of anti-regime forces, at times as disruptive as President Obama’s Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul was in Moscow.

So, Donald Trump has assembled a foreign policy and security policy team that would give an incoming President Mike Pence the framework for a fully integrated Cold War administration if Trump were impeached or…

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