What Happened To Foreign Policy?

I am a foreign policy wonk and spend a lot of time on international issues when not writing about the most broken political system this country has seen in a very long time.

It is not secret that I am not a fan of Trump’s foreign policy….to be honest there were some decisions he made that I agreed with but then he would walk back that decision and he lost me again.

So it leads me to ask….what has happened to our foreign policy?

President Trump campaigned and was elected on an anti-neocon platform: he promised to reduce direct US involvement in areas where, he believed, America had no vital strategic interest, including in Ukraine. He also promised a new détente (“cooperation”) with Moscow.

And yet, as we have learned from their recent congressional testimony, key members of his own National Security Council did not share his views and indeed were opposed to them. Certainly, this was true of Fiona Hill and Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman. Both of them seemed prepared for a highly risky confrontation with Russia over Ukraine, though whether retroactively because of Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Crimea or for more general reasons was not entirely clear.

How did this unusual and dysfunctional situation come about? One possibility is that it was the doing and legacy of the neocon John Bolton, briefly Trump’s national security adviser. But this doesn’t explain why the president would accept or long tolerate such appointees.


Part of the problem, other than the president’s temperament, is the country is losing many lifetime diplomats and DoD members…people that put our foreign policy to work…..

This month, December, we will lose 5 of the top people at DoD….

Since Dec. 5, the following officials have tendered their resignations:

  • Tina Kaidanow, senior advisor for international cooperation.
  • Kari Bingen, principal deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence.
  • Randall Schriver, assistant defense secretary for Indo-Pacific security affairs.
  • Jimmy Stewart, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness.
  • Steven Walker, director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Separately, Defense Secretary Mark Esper fired then-Navy Secretary Richard Spencer on Nov. 24. Esper later told reporters he was “flabbergasted” to learn that Spencer went behind his back to try to negotiate a deal to allow Navy SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher retire with his trident.


Brookings is  tracking the losses from the Trump admin……

The rate of turnover among senior level advisers to President Trump has generated a great deal of attention. Below, we offer four resources to help measure and contextualize this turnover. The first set of resources tracks turnover among senior-ranking advisers in the executive office of the president (which does not include Cabinet secretaries), whereas the second set of resources tracks turnover in the Cabinet.

Tracking turnover in the Trump administration

Finally. the Trump admin has NOT lost the last of the top advisers in State or DoD…..

2020 will be very telling on the direction this country will travel in the next decade….our foreign policy is no longer a stable instrument for international situations….chaos has replaced stability.

Will we continue to be the joke at international cocktail parties?

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

2 thoughts on “What Happened To Foreign Policy?

  1. When I think of recent US foreign policy, only one word comes to mind. ‘Reactive’.
    It seems that the president waits for something to happen, then reacts to it impulsively.
    There is no actual policy in place before anything happens.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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