Washington Post deputy editorial page editor Jackson Diehl outlined in a Sunday column that President Donald Trump may have promised his supporters an “America First” presidency, but it’s quickly become a “Trump First” policy instead.
In the column, Diehl explained it took Trump about one month to completely destroy his 2016 campaign promise.
“Thanks mostly to the president’s increasingly unhinged behavior,” he began, “Trump’s corruption in Ukraine” and his disaster in Syria has blocked a more significant story of Trump’s change on his “America First” policy.
“The unraveling started on Sept. 7, when Trump abruptly announced that he had canceled a previously undisclosed summit with the Afghan Taliban due to be held the next day at Camp David, and shelved a draft peace deal that a State Department special envoy had spent a year negotiating,” Wrote Diehl. The goal was for Trump to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan in time for his reelection to prove he could meet a 2016 campaign promise. It evidently didn’t occur to anyone in Trump world that having the Taliban visit Camp David the week of Sept. 11 might not be the best idea.
Just one week later, Trump’s campaign against Iran fell apart too. An Iranian-sponsored drone attacked an oil field in Saudi Arabia, proving Trump’s efforts weren’t working. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ultimately was forced to ask Iraq and Pakistan to help broker a de-escalation with Tehran, because Trump’s plans weren’t working.
Two weeks after the drone strike, Trump’s nuclear treaty negotiations with North Korea blew up in his face. Kim Jong Un rejected the president’s proposal for a deal. They’ve since been firing off missiles as they were prior to meeting with Trump.
Then Trump had his notorious call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, where Trump desperately wanted to get off the phone, and ultimately agreed to allow Turkey to wage an ethnic cleansing campaign against America’s Kurdish allies that were fighting ISIS in Syria.
“Is there anything left to the ‘America First’ agenda?” Diehl asked. “Not really. The attempt to oust the socialist government of Venezuela flopped back in April. The plan for the ‘ultimate deal’ between Israelis and Palestinians has never been released, and Trump’s point man on that project, Jason Greenblatt, announced his departure last month.”
Meanwhile, Trump’s trade war with China is still a disaster. Friday, the two sides announced a “partial deal,” which would essentially have the two sides call a truce.
“This is the place in the column where I am supposed to identify the common thread that explains all these disasters. Only there isn’t one, other than Trump’s mounting erraticism,” Diehl explained.
The president has come to realize that he has no chance of achieving anything in his domestic agenda, so he sought to resolve some of his foreign policy promises, only to realize it’s a lot harder than soundbites and conspiracy theories.
“But the carnage of Trump’s foreign policy likely isn’t over yet,” Diehl warned. “Kim Jong Un has set a year-end deadline for getting what he wants from Trump — an end to sanctions — after which North Korea could return to testing nuclear warheads or intercontinental missiles. Iran may carry out further strikes in the Persian Gulf to try to force Trump to lift sanctions. And the Islamic State will probably regain its footing in eastern Syria. All that may not be as threatening to Trump as an impeachment vote. But it could do a lot of damage to U.S. national interests.”