Victor Davis Hanson Private Papers

Two First Quarter Cheers For Trump’s Principled Realism

 

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Poster Collection, US 05889, Hoover Institution Archives.

The content and trajectory of Donald Trump’s foreign policy have defied the expectations of many of his supporters as well as his critics across the political spectrum. The President has moved a long way from his campaign positions of denigrating the value of America’s democratic alliances and renouncing America’s role as the world’s default power essential to deterring hegemonic threats in vital geopolitical regions. The President has fired Steve Bannon, the paladin of a sizable segment of Trump’s core constituency clamoring for American strategic retrenchment different in rationale, but similar in outcome to Obama’s Dangerous Doctrine that weakened America. Instead, Trump’s core national security team—Secretary of Defense James Mattis, UN Ambassador Nicki Haley, and National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster—consider America’s military, political, and economic power indispensable to deterring and defeating global threats menacing to America’s enlightened self-interest.

What Trump calls “Principled Realism rooted in shared values” has not crystallized into a doctrine. Moreover, the president’s volatility and unpredictability—partially cultivated but also intrinsic—make any prognostications about President Trump an endeavor marinating in conditions and caveats. Yet Trump’s actions speak louder and more favorably about the substance of his national security policy than his often contradictory and confrontational words on the subject. Several core premises suffuse Trump’s principle realism.

To read more:  http://www.hoover.org/research/two-first-quarter-cheers-trumps-principled-realism

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About Victor Davis Hanson

Victor Davis Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a professor of Classics Emeritus at California State University, Fresno, and a nationally syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services. He is also the Wayne & Marcia Buske Distinguished Fellow in History, Hillsdale College, where he teaches each fall semester courses in military history and classical culture.

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