After Trump: The Next U.S. President’s ‘To Do’ List for Repairing the Damage

After Trump: The Next U.S. President’s ‘To Do’ List for Repairing the Damage
President Donald Trump stands outside the West Wing to welcome visiting Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi to the White House in Washington, April 9, 2019 (AP photo by Manuel Balce Ceneta).

For critics of U.S. President Donald Trump’s approach to foreign policy, there is little more to do at this point than wait and hope: wait for the 2020 election, and hope that U.S. voters opt to replace him as president. But even in a best-case scenario in which America rejects Trump’s counterproductive “America First” agenda in 2020, the next president will face the daunting task of digging out from the ruins Trump will leave behind—and that’s assuming he does no further damage in the intervening two years.

That will not mean returning to the status quo ante, nor necessarily should it. For one thing, the world will have changed in significant ways independently of Trump’s foreign policy missteps. But more importantly, the status quo ante was flawed in ways that helped spawn Trump’s victory in 2016.

Instead of undoing the damage Trump has incurred, the next American president should think of it more as healing the wounds he has opened—between the U.S. and the world, but also within the country. Here are the four top items on that “To Do” list.

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