March 21, 2018

Donald Trump and the Art of Strategic Ambiguity

By keeping friends and foes alike off balance, he upholds the United States’ interests

By Jerry Hendrix

Donald Trump has disturbed the world. His policy of strategic ambiguity has destabilized friends and foes alike. It has forced enemies such as North Korea to the bargaining table and made allies question the United States’ commitment to their security. For these reasons, ambiguity has been downplayed as a tool of U.S. diplomacy. It makes people uneasy, a feeling not embraced when dealing with global superpowers.

It is also true that anti-Trump sentiment among Western intelligentsia is so strong that few serious foreign-policy or national-security analysts are willing to openly examine the concerns his election highlighted or the success he is having in their sphere. Their belief in President Trump as a manifestation of ignorance or evil is so overwhelming that they are unable to perceive the heightened concerns and respect for the America’s position in the world that have emerged in centers of power in the Asia-Pacific, the Middle East, and African regions where China’s rise had, up until a year ago, appeared inevitable. So consumed are American and European practitioners of foreign policy with their Never/Anti-Trumpism that they have never stopped to consider that his approach is working.

Read the full article on National Review.

  • Reports
    • November 20, 2019
    Make Good Choices, DoD

    In a new report, Susanna V. Blume and Molly Parrish offer a deep dive into how the U.S. Department of Defense makes decisions about what the U.S. military needs, what to buy a...

    By Susanna V. Blume & Molly Parrish

  • Video
    • November 20, 2019
    Results of the second Pentagon audit

    Bob Hale discusses takeaways from the Department of Defense’s latest audit, and the impacts it’s having on the agency’s culture.Watch the full conversation on Government Matte...

    By Robert F. Hale

  • Commentary
    • The American Interest
    • November 8, 2019
    The Enduring Relevance of Reagan’s Westminster Speech

    Editor’s Note: This is the third in a series of three essays, commissioned by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute, examining the legacy of Reagan’s Westmin...

    By Richard Fontaine

  • Podcast
    • November 8, 2019
    Friday Roundtable

    On the Roundtable episode of the Defense & Aerospace Podcast, Robert F. Hale joins Todd Harrison, the director of defense budget analysis and the Aerospace Security Project at...

    By Robert F. Hale

View All Reports View All Articles & Multimedia