Is it time to be optimistic about Donald Trump? Since Trump won the U.S. presidential election, liberal foreign policy commentators have split into two camps. Some have stuck to their pre-electoral stances that Trump’s election could signal the implosion of American power and principles. Others have started to reassess their views, resulting in a spate of think pieces explaining why the next president-elect could prove a moderate pragmatist in office.
I made my own minor contribution to this somewhat spineless school of literature last week, arguing that Trump could come to recognize the value of United Nations mediators and peacekeepers. This is a defensible argument, but it is hard to deny that it was rooted in a curious mix of forlorn hopes and a lack of imagination.
As someone who has worked on the U.N. for over a decade—and who, despite that, still likes the institution—I naturally hope that it will navigate the looming Trump era without too much damage. Having tracked the ups and downs of blue-helmet operations for so long, I am also at risk of assuming that U.N. forces will keep on policing troubled states more or less indefinitely, however the broader strategic picture alters.