Donald Trump’s comments on national security topics both during and after his presidential campaign have been as confounding to Republican national security experts as they have been to their Democratic counterparts. Whether it is Trump’s continued praise of America’s adversaries like Russian President Vladimir Putin, or his attacks on stalwart allies like German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Trump’s rhetoric has significantly heightened global uncertainty regarding where America’s foreign policy could go.
Nevertheless, once Trump takes the oath of office on Friday, the crushing weight of his new responsibility as commander-in-chief will, hopefully, give him cause for reflection if it hasn’t already. If he does choose to pause and consider some foundational principles for how to approach his role as the head of America’s armed forces, he would be wise to keep some of the following in mind.
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