December 19, 2017

Trump's National Security Strategy Is Dead on Arrival

By Ilan Goldenberg

If a national security strategy is developed by well-meaning, capable advisers, who have little control over an undisciplined and unpredictable president, is it worth the paper it is written on? No.

The Trump administration has just released its much anticipated “National Security Strategy,” a document that can often play a useful role in outlining a president’s vision for the thousands of government employees implementing policy, the American public and America’s allies and adversaries.

But this foreign policy strategy is dead on arrival; it is plain impossible to execute such a strategy with a commander in chief who is neither capable of sticking to his word nor a believer in some of the document’s most important principles.

To understand why it is pure fantasy to believe that the National Security Strategy will drive policy in the Trump administration, one need only look at the pattern of the past year. On one key international initiative after another we see the same story. The president tasks his team with developing an approach; they pursue a serious and rigorous process that takes into account a broad range of expertise from across the U.S. government; and then Trump interjects, undercutting the entire plan either because of politics, his obsession with tearing down what President Barack Obama built or what he most recently saw on Fox & Friends. This makes it impossible to develop any meaningful, coherent, long-term approach to any difficult problem. Let’s examine some examples.

Read the full op-ed in Newsweek.

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