Former President George W. Bush, Senator John McCain, Senator Bob Corker and other Republican luminaries have publicly criticized President Donald Trump’s foreign policy in recent days.
Yet, long before Trump took over the national political conversation, the conservative foreign policy establishment had systematically betrayed conservative principles and abandoned intellectual rigor for ideological rigidity in foreign policy.
Many individuals and institutions participated, but one example of how a major conservative think tank went about the task shows the insidiousness of the betrayal and offers insight into the intellectual disorderliness that led to Trump’s rise.
It was the fall of 2005, and the Iraq War was raging. I had just graduated from Stanford Law School and given up a lucrative Wall Street law firm salary to spend a year as a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).
A few weeks into my fellowship, AEI issued what I perceived as a very unsubtle threat against me. I was told to stop conducting research on national sovereignty and international law and instead work on democratization in Asia. AEI understood that I was exploring opportunities in Vice President Dick Cheney’s office, and if I did not listen they would make sure I did not succeed.
I had been a conservative my entire adult life. Never did I imagine that this venerable institution of conservative thought would threaten me for attempting to put conservative thoughts on paper, but it did.
Sovereignty is a concept that lies at the heart of President Trump’s “America First” agenda. Recently, it has emerged with greater force and clarity. Yet with a few exceptions, the policy establishment does not have the slightest clue what it means.
Most intellectual elites had no idea what the Trump political revolution of the 2016 election meant either. Some, including many Never Trumpers, have continued to pretend they can explain Trump to the masses with great authority, while others foam at the mouth at his every utterance and action.
Certainly, self-styled “smart people” are entitled to remain within their own bubbles and talk only to people who confirm their worldviews. For those who actually wish to understand the world better, the emergence of sovereignty as a more cogent governing concept in the Trump administration is a fascinating development.
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Ying Ma recently spoke with the ABC, Australia’s public broadcast station, about North Korea, President Trump’s UN speech, sovereignty in foreign affairs, Obamacare repeal efforts, illegal immigration, and other issues. Click HERE to view the video (interview begins around 9:25).
Earlier this week, Ying Ma spoke to The Foreign Correspondents Club of Hong Kong about the Donald Trump presidency, the Trump political revolution of the 2016 campaign, the Trump administration’s controversies and accomplishments, and her continued support for the President.
Watch a video of the discussion here or on YouTube.
Ying Ma spoke to Bloomberg Markets Asia about President Donald Trump’s new Afghanistan strategy, the promises he made as a candidate to end America’s “stupid, endless wars,” and his determination not to leave a vacuum for terrorists in Afghanistan. To view the video, please use the YouTube player below or click HERE.
Earlier in the week, Ying Ma spoke with Bloomberg “Daybreak Asia” about Trump’s reaction to the violence in Charlottesville, his perception by the business community, and the outlook for his policy agenda. Click HERE to listen to this radio interview.
The heated debate over the weekend about whether President Trump was enabling white supremacist groups revealed the mainstream media’s eagerness to label him a racist. Yes, Trump should have more unambiguously spurned racists who invoked his name as inspiration for their violence, but the mainstream media’s coverage and Trump haters’ reaction also showed the knee-jerk, decrepit nature of this country’s discussion on race.
When it was confirmed that a female counter-protester died and more than a dozen were injured, Trump said on Sunday, “We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides, on many sides.”
In turn, pundits and politicians alike lambasted Trump’s failure to explicitly name white supremacists in his condemnation.
On CNN’s “State of the Union” yesterday, anchor Jake Tapper asked if Trump was sending a dog whistle to the white supremacists who supported him. To bolster his point, Tapper repeatedly pointed to his interview with Trump in February 2016 where Trump did not explicitly disavow support from former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.
Nowhere did Tapper point out that two days before his interview with Trump, the presidential candidate was asked at a press conference about Duke’s endorsement and unequivocally declared, “I disavow.”
After his interview with Tapper, Trump reiterated his rejection of Duke’s support on Twitter. Tapper said nothing about that either.
Conventional wisdom says that President Donald Trump has been propagating America’s retreat from the world, giving China a golden opportunity to fill the void and make its case for global leadership on issues such as trade and climate change. These declarations grew to a crescendo at the G-20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, earlier this month, but they are fundamentally mistaken about U.S. leadership and Chinese reforms and ambitions.
Chinese leaders are determined to challenge U.S. dominance in Asia and had never planned on asking for American permission, no matter who occupies the White House.
U.S. global leadership also is not premised on blindly following the preferences of other countries. Additionally, under Trump’s predecessor, U.S. foreign policy bounced between setback and blunder, especially in Asia. The Trump administration would be wise not to rush into the same exercise.