There were a lot of people who thought that we were overreacting to the Syria strike in early 2017. We weren’t overreacting. We learned something important that day.
In the course of the 2016 campaign, Donald Trump created the perception that he was different and was going to break with the traditional Republican foreign policy. He was going to end the “endless wars.” We were going to rebuild our own country and mind our own business. Nothing of the sort happened during his presidency. Instead, we ended up getting Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio’s foreign policy.
Trump tore up the Iran Deal and pushed tensions with Iran to the brink of war. He assassinated Qasem Soleimani for Senate Republicans. He gave Bibi Netanyahu everything he wanted. He attempted to overthrow the government of Venezuela and install Juan Guaidó as president. He ultimately kept troops in Syria for Israel and walked back his own withdrawal under pressure from John Bolton and the Pentagon generals. He imposed sanctions on Russia and expanded NATO. He sold Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine. He escalated the war in Afghanistan and negotiated the fake “conditions based withdrawal” to dupe voters into thinking that he intended to pull troops out of Afghanistan. The sole saving grace of Trump’s foreign policy was North Korea and the “Remain in Mexico” policy that he brokered with Mexico. You could also say that he at least made a token effort to reduce the trade deficit with China.
Donald Trump empowered Mike Pompeo as his Secretary of State. The Trump administration went after Julian Assange. This is a man who put “Mad Dog” Mattis in charge of the Pentagon and picked H.R. McMaster and John Bolton to serve as his national security advisers. He brought back Elliot Abrams. “America First” in action turned out to be the same old Reaganism. Shower the Pentagon with money and defer to the military-industrial complex on everything.