Both as candidate and president, Donald Trump caused a great deal of consternation on the part of the U.S. foreign policy establishment. His rhetoric suggested that he had no coherent view of foreign policy, other than a gauzy commitment to “making America great again.”
Among other things, Trump criticized U.S. overseas commitments, including the ongoing effort in Afghanistan; called into question the value of NATO; and argued that the United States was being undone by its adherence to free trade. His inflammatory campaign rhetoric led numerous conservative foreign policy specialists to criticize him, and many remain adamant “Never-Trumpers” today.
Nonetheless, his actions over his first year suggest that he has adopted a foreign policy of “prudent American realism.” His national security strategy, unveiled last month, is a case in point. It rests on five pillars.