Donald Trump Should Embrace a Realist Foreign Policy
John J. Mearsheimer, The National Interest, November 27, 2016
If Donald Trump makes the right choices, he could fundamentally alter U.S. foreign policy for the better.
Trump campaigned against America’s powerful foreign policy community… He accused them of producing “one foreign policy disaster after another,” and promised to “develop a new foreign policy direction for our country.”
This was precisely the message many voters wanted to hear, and the president-elect now has the opportunity to change how the United States deploys its power around the world.
The United States has worked to topple regimes and promote democracy in six countries in the greater Middle East: Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen. Each attempt has been an abject failure…
This campaign has also made America’s terrorism problem worse: Al Qaeda has morphed and multiplied, and we are now at war with ISIS, which is largely a consequence of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq…
Spreading democracy, especially by force, almost always fails. It inevitably involves large-scale social engineering in societies that most Americans poorly understand…
The Trump administration should adopt a realist foreign policy. Realism is chiefly concerned with America’s position in the global balance of power, and it shuns doing social engineering inside other countries.
Instead, Washington would respect the sovereignty of other states even when it disagrees with their internal policies.
Americans prize their own sovereignty, which is why they recoiled at the idea that Russia might be interfering in the recent presidential election. The United States should treat other countries according to the same standard and respect their sovereignty as well.
Regarding Syria, Washington should let Moscow take the lead in shutting down that conflict, which means helping the Assad government reestablish control over most of the country.
A Syria run by Assad poses no threat to the United States; indeed, both Democratic and Republican presidents have long experience dealing with the Assad regime…
Read more: Saddam’s Death, page 82, december 2016