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.

  • Reports
    • July 9, 2020
    Investing in Great-Power Competition

    Executive Summary This report asks whether the 2021 U.S. defense budget request is aligned with the 2018 National Defense Strategy (NDS) in selecting priority capability inves...

    By Susanna V. Blume & Molly Parrish

  • Video
    • July 8, 2020
    Thomas Harker performing duties of DoD Comptroller

    Bob Hale, Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security, discusses how Thomas Harker will continue as Navy Comptroller while performing duties of the Under S...

    By Robert F. Hale

  • Video
    • June 24, 2020
    The Pitch: A Competition of New Ideas

    On June 17, 2020, the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) hosted its premier event to elevate emerging and diverse voices in national security. Sixteen applicants made t...

    By Richard Fontaine, Michèle Flournoy, Michael J. Zak, Loren DeJonge Schulman, Shai Korman, Carrie Cordero, Kristine Lee, David Zikusoka & Cole Stevens

  • Video
    • June 24, 2020
    The Bottom Line

    Although lawmakers and the public frequently debate the size of the U.S. defense budget, a fundamental question usually receives less attention: What does U.S. military spendi...

    By Susanna V. Blume

View All Reports View All Articles & Multimedia