President Donald Trump swept into office with no government experience, few policy positions, and a team of iconoclastic outsiders who echoed his desire to put America first in all things. Since taking office, Trump’s team has been racked by scandal and intrigue, from the persistent concerns over Russia ties to infighting between his strategist Steve Bannon and son-in-law Jared Kushner. Amidst this chaos, it’s been difficult to discern any particular policy preferences or agenda. Foreign policy, in particular, has suffered from the absence of the president’s personal leadership.
Optimistic observers like Wall Street Journal columnist Gerald Seib have found hope in the ascendance of National Security Adviser (and Army Lt. Gen.) H.R. McMaster, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and Defense Secretary James Mattis. Others have taken comfort in the more mature structure and process established by McMaster at the National Security Council. These moves matter, and will likely help reduce the drama within the White House around national security matters. But the ascendance of the likes of McMaster and Mattis may also create a more hawkish administration, one driven by establishment aides who favor the use of force and for whom “America First” means something completely different than it does to Bannon or his minions.
Read the full article at Slate.
More from CNAS
ReportsNew York State Minority Veteran Needs Assessment
It is imperative to develop a deeper understanding of whether there are specific veteran subpopulations that are faring differently from their peers...
By Nathalie Grogan, Emma Moore, Brent Peabody, Margaret Seymour & Kayla M. Williams
PodcastThe Overseas Basing Debate, Part 2
Host Kathleen Hicks continues a discussion with Susanna Blume, Zack Cooper, and Dave Ochmanek on the major debates surrounding U.S. overseas military forces. Listen to the fu...
By Susanna V. Blume
PodcastA Front Row Seat to China's Rise
How have China's global ambitions sharpened under President Xi Jinping, and how should the United States respond? Dr. Kurt M. Campbell served in the Obama administration as th...
By Ilan Goldenberg & Kurt Campbell
CommentaryThe Iranian Missile Strike Did Far More Damage Than Trump Admits
Over 100 American soldiers have been treated for traumatic brain injuries following Iran’s missile strike on Al Asad Air Base in western Iraq. The strike came in retaliation f...
By Loren DeJonge Schulman & Paul Scharre