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Trump’s Lucky Year

Why the Chaos Can’t Last

Adult supervision? Trump with Mattis and Kelly at the White House, October 2017. Yuri Gripas / Reuters

When Donald Trump became president of the United States, many wondered just how abnormal his administration, and particularly his foreign policy, would be. After all, as a candidate, Trump had evinced a partiality for foreign strongmen, derided U.S. allies as a gang of freeloaders, proposed banning Muslims from entering the United States, sneered at Mexicans, and denounced free-trade agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement and the nascent Trans-Pacific Partnership, while demonstrating little understanding of most other dimensions of international politics. Scores of former senior Republican foreign policy officials, myself included, repudiated his candidacy on the grounds of both his character and his bent toward populist isolationism. His inaugural address confirmed fears that he viewed the world in darkly narrow, zero-sum terms. “We’ve made other countries rich while the wealth, strength, and confidence of our country has dissipated over the horizon,” he said. He went on: “

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