Beyond any reasonable doubt, in substance if not in appearance, Donald Trump is a thoroughly conventional American politician. It’s a wonder that anyone requires proof at this late date.
This couldn’t be clearer than in foreign policy. Some of us who understand the links among freedom, free trade, durable prosperity, and a noninterventionist foreign policy always doubted the sincerity of Trump’s occasional renegade soundbites during his presidential campaign. But some fantasists fell for them, and they refuse to let go of their tissue-thin hope that this execrable man will liquidate the American empire. Nothing will convince them, so efforts at persuasion are futile.
The funny thing is that Trump himself seems to be working hardest to persuade those supporters that he has no intention of changing U.S. foreign policy. He would no more liquidate America’s global empire than liquidate his own global business empire. Alas, America is not going anywhere. Sure, he may hector imperial allies to spend more on their militaries (while insisting he respects their sovereignty), but that’s just a show. He’s an all-in imperialist, so we shouldn’t be fooled by the staged populism that sometimes is mistaken for come-home-Americanism. America First in practice embodies George H. W. Bush’s summation of America’s foreign policy: “What we say goes.”
As Glenn Greenwald writes about Trump’s disgusting relationship with Saudi…