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Does a Trump doctrine on foreign policy exist? Ask John Bolton.

3 54 0
03.05.2019

Understanding President Trump’s foreign policy is a challenge, since he has written and spoken little on the subject for most of his life. So how to make sense of his worldview? Is there a Trump Doctrine?

Michael Anton, a former Trump national security official, believes there is, and he explains it in a recent essay in Foreign Policy. The Trump Doctrine, Anton argues, is simple: “Let’s all put our own countries first, and be candid about it, and recognize that it’s nothing to be ashamed of.” But, as Daniel Larison responds in the American Conservative, “That isn’t a doctrine. It is a banality.” What country has not put its own interests first? What president has argued to give preference to global interests over American ones?

Anton outlines a certain kind of nationalist conservatism that does seem at the heart of Trump’s worldview. More important — because Trump is rarely consistent and could change his mind tomorrow — it reflects the views of the man closest to him on foreign policy, national security adviser John Bolton.

Bolton has been variously described as a neoconservative, a paleoconservative and a conservative hawk. In fact, he is simply a conservative, in the oldest, most classical sense: someone who has a dark view of humankind. As a former U.S. official told the New Yorker, Bolton believes that Thomas Hobbes’s famous description of life........

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