Yesterday marked the eighth and final night of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. The gift-giving tradition in my family has always been to offer one major present on the first night and smaller ones, often practical items like gloves and scarves, on each of the following nights.
Before lighting the candles yesterday, I thought about what gifts I would offer Donald Trump and his administration for Hanukkah this year. The list I came up with collapses my family’s tradition: Every one of the eight gifts, it turns out, are major presents, but they are all also practical when it comes to the conduct of American foreign policy.
Nevertheless, the present I would offer on the first night remains the most important: coherence. Trump won office having campaigned on a provocative and iconoclastic foreign policy agenda. Though it was often portrayed as amateurish and poorly thought-out, that had more to do with Trump himself than the kinds of changes he proposed. From recalibrating America’s alliances to downsizing America’s global burdens and responsibilities, many of the points he made have been argued elsewhere by respected foreign policy specialists.