Trump dominated the election-year debate by proposing a more hopped-up version of foreign-policy activism than the usual advocates of activism, and a fuller kind of disengagement than those who wanted to scale down. The combination—radicalism at both ends of the spectrum—seemed the essence of his appeal. For Trump, American policy was supposed to serve only American interests. Best of all, Trump suggested, his entire approach would be free. Yes, we could be “great again”—and on the cheap. Such a blend of much more and much less could easily have seemed incoherent, or crazy. But the two halves of Trump’s formula worked together better than critics appreciated.
The candidacy of Ebrahim Raisi dooms Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s chances of winning a second term in next month’s elections, writes CFR’s Ray Takeyh. Raisi, a protégé of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has long been groomed to become the Islamic Republic’s next supreme leader.
Thus far, President Donald J. Trump’s foreign policy resembles a traditionally realist Republican one that focuses on balance-of-power politics, dealing with other great powers on equal footing, and building coalitions for specific tasks, writes Ray Takeyh. In time, he may also recognize the importance of a robust human rights and democracy promotion policy.
We are not yet 100 days into the Trump presidency, but already the president has clocked one unenviable milestone after another. It’s all too easy to take for granted the broken norms that characterize this administration. So it’s important to pause and consider all the myriad ways in which Donald Trump has already gone where no president has gone before.
The big question now is whether Trump and his aides participated in the Russian hack-and-leak campaign to influence the U.S. presidential election in his favor or if Trump was just an unwitting beneficiary of Russian meddling.
Trump’s repeated mischaracterizations of the U.S.-Mexico relationship undermine vital U.S. interests. Ambassador Robert D. Blackwill and Theodore Rappleye assess his many untrue statements and emphasize the dangers they pose to the United States.
These have been a choice few days for aficionados of scandal. Washington hasn’t seen their like since the heyday of Whitewater, Iran-contra, and Watergate—in other words for nearly two decades. And in many ways “Kremlin-gate,” the burgeoning scandal over Team Trump’s connections to Russia, is in a class by itself.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2016 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass. Read and download »