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.
More from CNAS
CommentaryCongress has to figure out whether Trump's four embassy claim is real
The targeted killing of Qasem Soleimani, head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force, carried with it significant potential to serve as a catalyst for a br...
By Carrie Cordero
CommentaryWhy did the Pentagon ever give Trump the option of killing Soleimani?
Sending the U.S. military to use force is among the most consequential decisions presidents can make. Matters may get out of control even with the most careful and deliberate ...
By Alice Hunt Friend, Mara Karlin & Loren DeJonge Schulman
PodcastHow Will Iran Punch Back?
Last week, President Trump ordered a drone strike that killed Qassem Soleimani, commander of Iran’s Quds Force. Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has promised rev...
By Ilan Goldenberg
PodcastWhat Comes Next Between Iran and the United States
Ilan Goldenberg joins Mark Goldberg on the Global Dispatches podcast to discuss what's ahead in the latest round of heightened tensions between the United States and Iran. Li...
By Ilan Goldenberg