from Pressure Points

Trump Versus the Government

December 11, 2018

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Blog posts represent the views of CFR fellows and staff and not those of CFR, which takes no institutional positions.

As the Trump administration reaches the halfway point, what are we to make of Trump foreign policy?

In the January issue of Foreign Affairs, I address that question in an article entitled "Trump Versus the Government." There I argue that the president "is finding the vast U.S. government to be both an instrument of and a frequent barrier to the implementation of policies that he desires." The article discusses Trump's foreign policy choices, resistance to them in the government and even among some Trump appointees, and the uncertainty that this phenomenon can create in the minds of foreign leaders. It critiques some aspects of Trump foreign policy, suggesting for example that the president "has still not grasped that enormous benefits come from having a moral foundation for U.S. foreign policy," and supports many other steps the president has taken: "real accomplishments—not just greater defense spending by NATO allies but also a new, renamed North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and a better trade deal with South Korea—and to reasonable demands, including for fairer trade relations with China." The article also suggests that Trump's style requires excellent staff work to be successful and argues that staffing problems have still, at the halfway mark, not been solved.

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U.S. Foreign Policy

Donald Trump

United States

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More on:

U.S. Foreign Policy

Donald Trump

United States

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