CNN: Trump’s “America First” Policy Is Dead

This is what passes for analysis at CNN.


“(CNN) – If the last two years have shown us anything, it’s that America’s strength depends on its international alliances.

The twin shocks of the Covid-19 pandemic and Russia’s war on Ukraine have exposed the pitfalls of former President Donald Trump’s so-called America First policy, which was premised on the idea that working with our allies requires the United States to contribute more than what we gain in return.

The pandemic revealed that the only way to handle a devastating virus in an age of global movement is through international coordination and cooperation. Sharing valuable research on the virus and information about caseloads or new variants, not to mention working across borders to distribute vaccines, have all been crucial to the fight against the pandemic.

And with Vladimir Putin waging war in Ukraine, the US has worked in concert with its allies to apply immense economic pressure on Russia and provide military support for Ukraine. The fact that an attack on any NATO country bordering Ukraine would trigger a fierce response from other members of the alliance remains an important check on Russia’s territorial ambitions. …

Where to start?

As a candidate, Donald Trump said some exciting things about foreign policy in the 2016 election that motivated us to vote for him. He called the Iraq War a total disaster. He criticized NATO. He wanted to negotiate a better relationship with Russia. He wanted to end the war in Afghanistan and focus on domestic priorities instead of starting new wars in far flung parts of Eurasia.

As president, Donald Trump staffed his administration with Pentagon generals like “Mad Dog” Mattis and establishment hacks (remember Miles “Anonymous” Taylor?) who constantly sought to undermine him to preserve the status quo. He mostly ended up defaulting to Ronald Reagan’s “peace through strength” doctrine. The entire Trump presidency was swallowed by Russiagate and the threat of impeachment that loomed over Trump meant that in practice he ended up defaulting on foreign policy to the worst actors in the Senate like Lindsey Graham. We saw this play out over and over again.

Trump wanted to withdraw from Afghanistan. He ended up negotiating a deal with the Taliban, but he faced fierce resistance from the Pentagon and the Republican Senate who prevented it from happening on his watch. He signed an executive order to withdraw American troops from Syria, but that also got walked back due to the intervention of Lindsey Graham. Trump assassinated Iranian general Qasem Soleimani because he needed the support of Republican senators like Lindsey Graham in his impeachment trial. Trump supported Marco Rubio’s pet project of overthrowing the government of Venezuela to install Juan Guaidó as a puppet president. Montenegro (2017) and North Macedonia (2020) joined NATO under Trump who did not slow NATO expansion and mostly scolded European countries for not rearming.

The two areas of foreign policy that stand out under Trump and where he made his biggest contribution were North Korea where he got along with Kim Jong-un and reduced tensions (this was positive) and Iran where he unilaterally withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal and fomented regime change and tried to crush the country with sanctions (this was negative). Unlike Joe Biden, Trump at least had a positive relationship with MBS because of his Iran hawkishness and his arms sales to Saudi Arabia, which looks better in hindsight given our record gas prices and the current extreme threat to the petrodollar.

Trump renegotiated our existing free trade agreement with South Korea. He imposed tariffs on Chinese goods which Joe Biden has kept in place. Obama, Trump and Joe Biden have all tried to execute the “pivot to Asia” and bring American foreign policy in line with “the era of Great Power conflict.” Just as Obama escalated George W. Bush’s War on Terror, Trump finished off ISIS and Biden executed Trump’s withdrawal from Afghanistan. There is usually far more continuity than change in American foreign policy.

As a candidate, Trump did a lot of saber rattling about illegal immigration from Mexico, but he ended up getting along with Mexico. He negotiated deals with Mexico and with Central American nations like Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador which helped stemmed the flow of illegal immigration. This was probably Trump’s greatest foreign policy triumph and he got more help from Mexico in solving illegal immigration than from the Republican Senate who refused to fund the border wall. If memory serves, we couldn’t afford to build the wall. We ended up needing that $13 billion for Ukraine.

Trump’s foreign policy toward Israel was to give Bibi Netanyahu everything he wanted. This was another area in which he broke with his predecessors. He caved to the Republican Senate and sold Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine which Obama had refused to do. Trump continued to pile sanctions on Russia like Obama although it was nothing like what we have seen under Joe Biden. Both Obama and Trump tried and failed to reduce tensions with Russia which ultimately ended when the liberal establishment went insane after Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election. We have been marching toward World War III ever since.

Trump’s “America First” foreign policy was a mixed bag. In some areas, he got his way like with North Korea, Mexico and Central America. In other areas, the Republican Senate and the Pentagon got their way like in Syria and Afghanistan. As a lame duck president, Trump attempted in the final months of his administration to make good his campaign promises and withdraw American troops from Germany, Afghanistan, Africa and other places, but that too was blocked by the Pentagon.

The Trump presidency repeatedly demonstrated how difficult it is change American foreign policy. Trump himself got impeached the first time over a phone call with Zelensky in which he demanded an investigation of the corrupt ties between the Democrats and Ukraine. He was impeached over temporarily halting arms sales to Ukraine. The phone call was leaked to the media and consumed Congress until COVID struck. The State Department and our embassies, particularly the one in Kyiv or “Keev,” were full of people who considered themselves “the Resistance” and Trump’s enemies.

In sum, we never had an “America First” foreign policy under Trump. We had the traditional Republican foreign policy of ever larger military budgets, meddling in foreign countries and permanent wars. We saw how little democratic control that we have over steering our foreign policy.

About Hunter Wallace 12387 Articles
Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Occidental Dissent


  1. We’re reaching the part of the narrative where the Alt-Lite starts to pine for the halcyon days of Trump – a pang of guilt, perchance, for not supporting him in 2020.

    • Trump will become US Gorbachev.

      Even now 30 years later, some people trashing Gorbachev as traitor who doomed Soviet Union. And the others defending Gorbachev claiming that Gorbachev did everything to make Soviet Union great again and people who worked against Gorbachev actually doomed Soviet Union.

      Truth is hidden in FSB secret archives so actually we do not know what Gorbachev did behind the scenes.

      With Trump, things look the same. He pushed Empire into full madness and self destruction. I think that Trump is greatest white leader of all times. First time in history, Jews and communists are seriously on the ropes. Opponents claim that this is random accident and coincidence.

      Whatever, Jews and communists going down in flames and later we can sort the mess out.

      And don’t forget the Q. Even in most controlled and purged systems, some dissidents still remain and now when nuclear war becomes realistic, they may come out from closet.

      • Gorbachev was a Jimmy Carter type faggot. Surprised he hasn’t taken a job with CNN or PBS Jewshour.

      • Gorbachev openly betrayed USSR, though. It isn’t really a mystery. He became an American PR guy, talking about the economic blessings of American plutocracy. Then he went on to work for the UN and do tv commercials for American fast food companies while Russia was being plundered. Very clear that he sold out to the west.

  2. “The pandemic revealed that the only way to handle a devastating virus in an age of global movement is through international coordination and cooperation.”

    This is a joke, too. The countries that did well, i.e. China, did so mostly alone. Western “global movement” was proven to be a complete failure.

  3. Dump’s America 1st was more like Israel 1st. Most of cancel culture and statue removal happened under Dump and he did nothing to stop it.

  4. Trump had a lot of potential but wasted it surrounding himself with corrupt insiders. The political elites wanted Ukraine in NATO and Trump said he was going to get us out of NATO in his second term. Countries that are geopolitically volatile like Turkey and Ukraine shouldn’t be part of NATO or any arms pact for that matter because global stability would reduce to a grinding halt.

    Even after the Soviet Union fell, America has been purely belligerent to Russia while they try their absolute hardest not to go to war. Good thing Russia’s political class while not great aren’t blood thirsty murderous neo-cons like here in America.

Comments are closed.