• Making the US largest ally, the EU, hate the guts of the US? Check.
• Making the population of the new hyperpower hate the guts of the US? Check.
• Making all Asian allies of the US doubt the value of its commitment to anything? Check.
• Grovelling at the feet of an adversarial power, Russia, siding it against the FBI and CIA? Check.
Trump’s foreign policy has devolved into chaos
(..) The NK negotiations are a fiasco (..)
The administration’s foreign policy is now a scattershot mess of improvised initiatives, some aimed at real problems, some not. Big challenges (..) are all but ignored. Eccentric follies, such as the cold war with Canada, take center stage.
Bob Woodward’s new book depicts Trump’s top advisers working to save the country from his worst ideas, sometimes by snatching papers off his desk. But that’s a better description of 2017 than now. The aides who did that snatching — Gary Cohn, Rex Tillerson, H.R. McMaster — are mostly gone, replaced by a new crew content to allow Trump to indulge his most powerful compulsions. So we have trade wars driven by Trump’s ignorance of elementary economics and vindictive campaigns to punish close allies — such as Justin Trudeau of Canada and Angela Merkel of Germany — for the president’s seething personal resentments.
The silver lining is that Pompeo and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis are allowed, for now, to pursue some relatively sensible and conventional policies that contradict Trump’s viscera. (..) The only problem is that Trump could reassert himself at any time and pull the plug.
This makes the work of a Trump national security functionary sound pretty dreary, and no doubt it is. But there are perks: In this, as in no other administration, it is possible for anonymous “senior officials” to pursue their own causes. (..)
First came an assault on the Palestinian movement, with U.S. funding canceled for U.N.-run schools and health clinics in the Gaza Strip (..) Apparently Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, real estate developers turned would-be Middle East peace brokers, believe squeezing the Palestinians will induce them to be more reasonable, (..) Longtime veterans of Mideast diplomacy will tell you the opposite result is far more likely (..)
Even more striking was the relaunch by national security adviser John Bolton of his decades-long pursuit of his personal white whale, the International Criminal Court. (..)
The next day, reporters asked State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert to explain how the United States could legally prosecute international lawyers and judges. She repeatedly refused even to try. (..)
State can’t explain the new ICC policy any more than it can say why we are starving the Palestinians and crusading against Canada.
It’s the norm of an administration that has substituted chaos for coherent foreign policy.