Loyal followers of U.S. President Donald Trump might enthusiastically proclaim that his “America First” foreign policy has been a success. His apologists more modestly argue that, if you ignore Twitter and focus on Trump’s actions, what little has changed in U.S. foreign policy is for the better. Whether enabled by ideological blinders or driven by partisan hackery, both claims are quite simply wrong.
After more than two years of Trump’s amateurish bluster, no amount of posturing and self-declared victories can obscure the damage he has done to America’s interests. His failures are now on prominent display in Iran, North Korea and Venezuela. And the problem is a feature, not a bug, deeply engrained in the president’s worldview and his approach to foreign policy.
Trump entered office convinced that the U.S. has for decades gotten a raw deal on everything from its security alliances to its trade relations. By his telling, a succession of weak U.S. presidents had allowed the world to walk all over America. He often punctuated his narrative of national humiliation with declarations that the U.S. had become a global laughingstock.