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It would be foolhardy to assume that the President-elect does not take his own oft-stated views seriously, and these do not align especially well with those of Henry Kissinger.But Kissinger’s advice is being sought, and prospective cabinet officials may be more amenable to it than not.And, indeed, few if any can be said, in practice, to have anything so coherent as a foreign policy doctrine, much less a grand strategy.Experience also suggests that the foreign policy of the Trump Administration will depend a good deal on who gets the key jobs—Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense, as well as National Security Advisor—and on who wins the interdepartmental struggle that will inevitably ensue: the battle for bureaucratic priority, the fight for regular access to the President, the war of leaks to the media.Four competing visions of world order—the European-Westphalian, the Islamic, the Chinese, and the American—are each in varying stages of metamorphosis, if not decay.
a collapse of what remains of European hard power and/or the will to use it, due to the inability of modern European leaders to accept that diplomacy without the credible threat of force is just hot air; and/or 4.
Unfriendly states have been biding their time, waiting for the U. Between now and then, he needs not only to staff his Administration, but to formulate some kind of strategic framework, without which crisis management will quickly degenerate it into the kind of institutional free-for-all that followed 9/11, when (as we now know) the Vice President and Secretary of Defense successfully launched from the rubble of the twin towers an invasion of Iraq that was one of the great non sequiturs of U. foreign policy: a crypto-imperial project that (as some of us correctly predicted at the time) the American public lacked the appetite—or attention span—to pursue to a successful conclusion. Kissinger’s recommendations to Trump may be summarized as follows: 1.
Do not go all-out into a confrontation with China, whether on trade or the South China Sea.
Kissinger’s analysis of Trump’s victory is that it was “in large part a reaction of Middle America to attacks on its values by intellectual and academic communities.” As such, it presents an opportunity to close or at least narrow the “gap between the public’s perception of the role of U. foreign policy and the elite’s perception.” However, there are clear and present dangers.
Terrorist groups may seek to provoke an inexperienced and impulsive President into an overreaction. In other words, Trump may be only a few months away from his first foreign policy crisis.