His foreign policy, such as he has one, is failing all around the world and, as Donald Trump’s presidency has gone on, he has taken to making many of his decisions – especially on foreign policy – by himself, in a vacuum, despite having departments full of foreign policy experts. Of course, he doesn’t trust those folks because of his imagined opponent of a “deep state” conspiracy against him.
Trump is driven by today's and tomorrow’s headlines, not by any personal ideology – other than, maybe, his selfish personal interests which could range from personal enrichment to getting re-elected.
His latest stable genius moment was to move our troops out of Syria and away from supporting the Kurds, who helped us eliminate the caliphate. As pleased as Turkey is with this decision – the next day in effect they started moving into Syria, killing our former allies the Kurds - even the Republicans in Congress almost unanimously have voiced opposition to this move.
Let’s add into this foreign policy bonanza:
- Trump announced a major agreement with China on trade. But the truth is there is no agreement at this point and the master negotiator probably gave China even more leverage since now he needs an agreement as negotiations continue.
- Trump’s self-inflicted North Korea policy is flaming out in the aftermath of more nuclear testing by North Korea and his BFF Kim Jong Un basically telling the rest of America there will be no deal but leaving the out that our self-proclaimed “best negotiator in the world” is someone he wants to meet with to negotiate. That would be Trump who he obviously sees as easy pickings. For this failure, Trump thinks he should be awarded the Nobel Prize.
- The Wall along our Mexican border that he repeatedly promised during his campaign (and would be paid for by Mexico) and during his presidency has seen not one foot of new wall built nor one dollar contributed by Mexico. Replacement of existing wall is going on and Trump points at those repairs as his building the wall. This way, he can lie on his campaign that he is building the wall.
- While Trump caved to Israeli leader Netanyahu on moving our embassy inIsrael (to help Netanyahu win reelection, which he didn't), the long-promised winning Middle East strategy, being driven by his son-in-law Jared Kushner, has yet to be revealed though it has been in the works, we’ve been told, since Day One of his presidency.
- Trump has threatened to pull our troops out of Japan and South Korea if those countries don’t increase compensation of posting them there. Of course that troop withdrawal, similar to Syria, would create a power vacuum at a time when North Korea is being as aggressive as ever with nuclear and missile tests.
There are more examples – the Paris Climate deal, NATO, NAFTA, relations with Russia, fighting the Islamic State to name a few – all of which (maybe with the exception of NAFTA) are putting America in a weakened global position.
Trump apparently is looking at a long list of promises he made on his campaign and is trying to show he delivered on every one. Now, many presidential candidates have promised much on their campaigns but when they got into office and learned more about the reality of certain situations, backed off for national security reasons.
Not Trump. He sees keeping his promises as a way he can campaign to a second term, whether those decisions are best for the U.S. or not.
For all his professing to be our military and veterans’ best friend, his foreign policy shows his disdain for the work they have done. Even Green Berets are being anonymously quoted (for legitimate fear of reprisals) saying what a disaster the decision for abandoning the Kurds is. And he says he respects the military but has ignored the commanders repeatedly when making decisions.
Republicans in Congress seem to be more willing to criticize Trump’s foreign policy than his domestic policy (which goes against the grain of GOP doctrine in many areas) probably because they know they can’t correct foreign policy mistakes as “easily” as they might correct his domestic policy decisions. Plus his latest decision on Syria, experts say, will allow ISIS to regroup and attack America again.
Prior to his election when asked where he got his knowledge of foreign policy Trump admitted that he mostly got it from the Sunday TV talk shows. Trump has demonstrated the truth of that as he prefers to take foreign policy advice from the likes of Fox News’ Tucker Carlson – a man who never served in the government nor is a foreign policy expert (though he was a contestant on Dancing with the Stars where he was voted off in week one).
Trump ignores counsel from his Cabinet or the thousands of public servants who get paid to gather information so decisions in foreign policy can be considered carefully and with the background of solid intelligence and from experts on each of the countries involved.
Our “stable genius” is neither stable nor a genius.