Transitioning to a Trump Administration

| November 2016
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At the September panel held at the Carnegie Council, called to look, in part, at the differing perspectives of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, I noted: “We do have to think about the “what if” moment after Election Day and what it might mean” if Trump were to be elected, since, unlike Clinton, he did not have a long track record and paper trail in terms of foreign policy.

I think it is useful to revisit the points in the “U.S. Elections and Brexit” discussion that I took part in along with Steve Walt, Devin Stewart and David Speedie. Back in September, we noted:

We are at a systemic crisis both within the country and in the system as a whole, because the United States itself is now, for the first time in a long time, unsure about its role in the world, unsure about what it wants to do in terms of its resources and what it wants to accomplish.

Now we have a new President, one who has definitive instincts on foreign policy and America’s role in the world, summed up as:

There are citizens and then there’s everyone else, and the job of a foreign policy is to benefit the citizens of the country. If you’re going to do something for another country, there should be a quid pro quo.

However, we have an as-yet unformed national security and foreign policy team. Republican internationalists and interventionists, who retain their influence in Congress and even via the Vice President-elect, will want to shape the policies of the new administration. The struggle for the “soul” of the Trump administration has begun. Our discussion two months ago will help to illuminate its parameters.


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