April 17, 2017

The President Doesn’t Need a Trump Doctrine

By Richard Fontaine

Foreign policy doctrine season has come to the nation’s capital. In the wake of President Donald Trump’s forcible response to Bashar Assad’s gas attack in Syria, observers are rushing to characterize the new approach. It may be barely 75 days into his term, but already Washington seems convinced that the outlines of a “Trump Doctrine” are emerging. By launching missiles at a Syrian air base, this thinking goes, the president has set himself on a definitive foreign policy course that can be readily discerned and described.

The problem is that no one agrees about what the Trump Doctrine is, whether it’s good or bad, or if one even exists. The administration itself should avoid trying too hard to fill in the intellectual gap. Perhaps the worst thing the president’s team could do this early in its term would be to embrace a rigid doctrine that constrains its choices in a fluid world. A Trump Doctrine, if one should ever emerge, will arise from events and choices made over a period of time. It should not be the premature product of an administration still finding its feet.

Read the full article at Politico.

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