‘Never More Adrift’: William J. Burns on Repairing U.S. Diplomacy After Trump

‘Never More Adrift’: William J. Burns on Repairing U.S. Diplomacy After Trump
Ambassador William J. Burns, president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, at his desk in Washington, March 20, 2015 (Photo by Bill Clark for CQ Roll Call via AP Images).

In many ways, the foundations of American foreign policy have withstood President Donald Trump’s efforts to fundamentally remake them since taking office in January 2017. But if there is one area where Trump has had a clear and consistent impact, it is on American diplomacy. A hollowed-out State Department, a chaotic policy process and Trump’s transactional approach to foreign policy have undermined ties with America’s closest allies and partners, while creating uncertainty and confusion for both partners and adversaries.

For this week’s interview on Trend Lines, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, is joined by William J. Burns to discuss the damage that Trump has done to American diplomacy, and how to repair it. Ambassador Burns is president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Prior to that he was the deputy secretary of state from 2011-2014, culminating a 33-year diplomatic career during which he served as undersecretary for political affairs, assistant secretary of state for near eastern affairs and ambassador to Russia and Jordan, among many other senior positions in Washington and abroad. Click here to read the full transcript of the interview.


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Trend Lines is produced and edited by Peter Dörrie, a freelance journalist and analyst focusing on security and resource politics in Africa. You can follow him on Twitter at @peterdoerrie.

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