February 19, 2019

‘America First’ or America alone? In debut on world stage, acting Pentagon chief must answer for Trump.

Featuring Richard Fontaine, and Elbridge Colby

Source: The Washington Post

Journalist Missy Ryan

In a six-day trip that took him to four cities on two continents, acting defense secretary Patrick Shanahan came face to face with one consistent reality last week: the discord generated by President Trump and his “America First” agenda.

For the first time since becoming Pentagon chief last month, Shanahan was asked to answer for the uncertainties produced by the president’s often unpopular foreign policy.

The former Boeing executive, who took over in January after the abrupt resignation of his predecessor, Jim Mattis, deferred to the president’s decisions and suggested, in high-level talks, steps that U.S. allies can take to adjust.

At the conclusion of the trip, Shanahan told reporters that he had anticipated a “more standoffish” reception.

“The pushback was we need these issues addressed, these questions answered,” he said. “There were no promises or guarantees, but there was support.”

Read the full article and more in The Washington Post.

Authors

  • Richard Fontaine

    Chief Executive Officer

    Richard Fontaine is the Chief Executive Officer of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). He served as President of CNAS from 2012-19 and as Senior Advisor and Senior ...

  • Elbridge Colby

    Former Director, Defense Program

    Elbridge Colby is the former Director of the Defense Program at the Center for a New American Security, where he led CNAS’ work on defense issues. Previously, Colby served as ...