Throughout the campaign, the magazine attacked him. Now that he is president, the magazine still attacks. No grace period for him.
From January 31:
Trump’s Grand Strategic Train Wreck
Believe it or not, President Donald Trump has a grand strategy. According to some analysts, Trump’s endless streams of erratic and apparently improvisational ideas don’t add up to anything consistent or purposeful enough to call a grand strategy. We see it otherwise. Beneath all the rants, tweets, and noise there is actually a discernible pattern of thought — a Trumpian view of the world that goes back decades. Trump has put forward a clear vision to guide his administration’s foreign policy — albeit a dark and highly troubling one, riddled with tensions and vexing dilemmas.The editorial concluded:
As the Trump team realizes how intractable the contradictions are among the president’s various policy pronouncements, it may see the wisdom in backing off of some of the more problematic or dangerous ones. And the fact that there are so many profound disconnects between what Trump says and what is wise may create space for the president’s more sober advisors — such as James Mattis, John Kelly, Rex Tillerson, and Nikki Haley — to shift policy and even influence the president’s thinking. We can hope that this is the scenario that ultimately unfolds. But in the meantime, both the content and contradictions of Trump’s grand strategy make it seem likely that U.S. foreign policy and the international order are in for a rough ride.Two months later, Foreign Policy magazine -- not The Donald -- is the one seeing "the wisdom in backing off of some of the more problematic or dangerous" ideas.
Its headline on a column by Kori Schake on Monday read, "Trump Has a Strategy for Destroying the Islamic State — and It’s Working."
From Foreign Policy:
Trump Has a Strategy for Destroying the Islamic State — and It’s Working
Defeating the Islamic State was candidate Trump’s top national-security priority, one of the few policy issues on which he was consistent. While his claim to have a secret plan — and that keeping it secret was good strategy — was risible to national security experts, his policy goals were and are consistent.
American effort should focus on fighting the Islamic State. Regime change to push Bashar al-Assad out of power was not only a lesser objective, but counterproductive to a stable end-state for Syria that prevents terrorism and too costly given Russia and Iran’s support for the regime. Stability is to be prioritized over humanitarian relief or democracy promotion. Russia is to be palliated, their interests supported.
He proclaimed that “we are going to convey my top generals and give them a simple instruction. They will have 30 days to submit to the Oval Office a plan for soundly and quickly defeating ISIS.”
While strictly speaking that deadline has passed without apparent formal approval, the Departments of State and Defense have indeed been prioritizing defeating the Islamic State. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made his first big international event the gathering of the coalition fighting the Islamic State, reinforcing the president’s twin messages that it is the administration’s top national-security priority, and that “the United States will increase our pressure on ISIS and al Qaeda and will work to establish interim zones of stability, through ceasefires, to allow refugees to return home.”
Secretary of Defense James Mattis met early with Middle Eastern partners and has taken a number of decisions that look to strengthen forces in the fight: increasing the number of American servicemen and women in Iraq and Syria, reinterpreting the advise-and-assist mission to put U.S. forces closer to the front, parachuting U.S. forces in to sever routes around Mosul, getting presidential approval for greater delegation of authority for operations, and further delegating that authority to commanders.The caption under a photo of a grouchy General Matis read: "It may be incremental, but it's coherent. And watch out, Iran."
No one who actually studied Trump should be surprised.
This is exactly how President Trump operates as a chief executive officer. He hires experts (architects, engineers, lawyers, and the like) and tells them what he wants, then lets them do their job.
If they fail, they are gone. No hard feelings. He did that with Corey Lewandowski. If they discredit him, they are gone. He did that with Paul Manafort. If they succeed, he finds another job for them. He did that with Kellyanne Conway.
I fully expect four or five Cabinet members to be gone by year's end. The media will say it is chaos and turmoil. Nope. It's how Trump operates.
He is Lincoln firing generals until he finds the right one.
President Trump seemed to find his the first time out. We shall see how long Mattis lasts.
"Trump the Establishment" is now on Kindle.
"Trump the Establishment" is also available in paperback.
This is the sequel to "Trump the Press," which covered the nomination. The original -- "Trump the Press" -- is available on Kindle, or in paperback on Amazon.
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