After Credibility

American Foreign Policy in the Trump Era

Trump boarding Air Force One, November 2017 Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

Believe me.” U.S. President Donald Trump has used that phrase countless times, whether he is talking about counterterrorism (“I know more about ISIS than the generals do. Believe me”), building a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border (“Believe me, one way or the other, we’re going to get that wall”), or the Iran nuclear deal (“Believe me. Oh, believe me. . . . It’s a bad deal”).

Trump wants to be taken at his word. But public opinion polls consistently indicate that between two-thirds and three-quarters of Americans do not find him trustworthy. The global picture is no better. Most citizens of traditional U.S. allies, such as Australia, France, Germany, Japan, Jordan, Mexico, South Korea, and the United Kingdom, say that they have no confidence in the U.S. president.

In other words, Trump suffers from a credibility gap. This is, perhaps, unsurprising. According to The New York

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