Let’s get ready to rumble: a rally in Pyongyang, January 2016
KCNA

Just a few months into the Trump administration, it still isn’t clear what course the president’s foreign policy will ultimately take. What is clear, however, is that the impulsiveness, combativeness, and recklessness that characterized Donald Trump’s election campaign have survived the transition into the presidency. Since taking office, Trump has continued to challenge accepted norms, break with diplomatic traditions, and respond to perceived slights or provocations with insults or threats of his own. The core of his foreign policy message is that the United States will no longer allow itself to be taken advantage of by friends or foes abroad. After decades of “losing” to other countries, he says he is going to put “America first” and start winning again.

It could be that Trump is simply staking out tough bargaining positions as a tactical matter, the approach to negotiations he has famously called “the art of

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  • PHILIP GORDON is a Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. From 2013 to 2015, he was Special Assistant to the President and White House Coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa, and the Gulf Region.
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