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Donald Trump’s New World Order/What a Kissinger-inspired strategy might look like.


Idi Admin
Donald Trump’s New World Order
What a Kissinger-inspired strategy might look like.

Ten days after the election of Donald J. Trump to be the 45th President of the United States, there is a more or less complete lack of certainty as to which direction his foreign policy will take, but a great deal of speculation—much of it alarmist—based on things Mr. Trump has said in speeches and interviews. Yet few if any Presidents base their foreign policy strictly on campaign rhetoric. Few if any break entirely with the policies of their predecessors. And, indeed, few if any can be said, in practice, to have anything so coherent as a foreign policy doctrine, much less a grand strategy. Experience also suggests that the foreign policy of the Trump Administration will depend a good deal on who gets the key jobs—Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense, as well as National Security Advisor—and on who wins the interdepartmental struggle that will inevitably ensue: the battle for bureaucratic priority, the fight for regular access to the President, the war of leaks to the media.

Rather than speculate about such transitional questions, it may be more constructive for now to ask what Trump’s strategic options actually are as seen against the widest parameters that reality may bear. In this context, it is helpful that the nation’s most respected living strategic thinker and practitioner has already aired some of his views. Having endorsed neither leading candidate for the presidency, but having met with both during their campaigns, Henry Kissinger deserves to be heeded. There is, of course, no certainty that his views will be heeded by the President-elect or his national security team. It would be foolhardy to assume that the President-elect does not take his own oft-stated views seriously, and these do not align especially well with those of Henry Kissinger. But Kissinger’s advice is being sought, and prospective cabinet officials may be more amenable to it than not. There is therefore no reason to assume that the embryonic administration is so wedded to a particular strategic doctrine that what follows can be dismissed out of hand.

Let us begin with the geopolitical landscape that Trump inherits from his predecessor. In his most recent book World Order (2014), Kissinger argues that the world is in a parlous condition verging on international anarchy. This is not only because of shifts in the material balance of power from West to East, but also because the legitimacy of the postwar world order is being challenged. Four competing visions of world order—the European-Westphalian, the Islamic, the Chinese, and the American—are each in varying stages of metamorphosis, if not decay.....

Here and in his recent interview with Jeffrey Goldberg, as well as in private conversations with his biographer, Kissinger has outlined four scenarios he regards as the most likely catalysts for a large-scale conflict:

a deterioration in Sino-American relations, whereby the two countries tumble into the so-called “Thucydides Trap” that history sets for every incumbent power and the rising power that challenges it;
a breakdown of relations between Russia and the West, based on mutual incomprehension and made possible by:
a collapse of what remains of European hard power and/or the will to use it, due to the inability of modern European leaders to accept that diplomacy without the credible threat of force is just hot air; and/or
an escalation of conflict in the Middle East due to the Obama Administration’s readiness, in the eyes of the Arab states and Israel, to hand hegemony in the region to a still revolutionary Iran.

One or a combination of these threats, in the absence of a coherent American strategy, threatens to turn mere disorder into a conflagration.

If not Nixon, then who should serve as Donald Trump’s strategic role model? Although his name did not come up in Kissinger’s interview with Goldberg, there is an obvious answer, clearly articulated in the former Secretary of State’s classic work of synthesis, Diplomacy. That answer is Theodore Roosevelt, the antithesis of Woodrow Wilson, Kissinger’s bête noire.

In short, Theodore Roosevelt favored an American foreign policy that was firmly based on the national interest, the build-up of military force, and the balance of power. “If I must choose between a policy of blood and iron and one of milk and water,” he told a friend, “I am for the policy of blood and iron. It is better not only for the nation but in the long run for the world.”

Trump’s August 15 speech may one day be read as the first draft of a Trump Doctrine. With its explicit farewell to “the era of nation-building” and its declaration of intent “to halt the spread of radical Islam,” Trump explicitly drew an analogy between it and the 20th-century threats posed by fascism and communism. “The fight will not be limited to ISIS,” he declared. “We will decimate al-Qaeda, and we will seek to starve funding for Iran-backed Hamas and Hizballah.” And Trump made it clear with whom he intended to fight this war:

"We cannot always choose our friends, but we can never fail to recognize our enemies. . . . We will work side-by-side with our friends in the Middle East, including our greatest ally, Israel. We will partner with King Abdullah of Jordan, and President Sisi of Egypt, and all others who recognize this ideology of death that must be extinguished. We will also work closely with NATO on this new mission. I had previously said that NATO was obsolete because it failed to deal adequately with terrorism; since my comments they have changed their policy. . . . I also believe that we could find common ground with Russia in the fight against ISIS. They too have much at stake in the outcome in Syria, and have had their own battles with Islamic terrorism."

full article.....


Idi Admin
It's a long read, but a good one. It focuses on a Kissinger outlook facing the US during the Trump era and beyond. And some interesting Teddy Roosevelt/Trump comparisons that are hard to miss.