The Nation

Among members of the nation-security elite, it’s become de rigueur to bemoan Donald Trump’s “neo-isolationism” and its alleged threat to the liberal international order. That line finds its popular counterpoint among Resistance liberals, who echo Hillary Clinton’s famous complaint that Trump is Putin’s “puppet.” It’s hard to reconcile either accusation with the fact that Trump’s national-security team is overwhelmingly staffed with hawks like National Security Advisor John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, eager militarists who cannot in any way be called isolationists. Under their direction, America has become the bully-boy of the world stage, trying to badger and humiliate all potential rivals, including Russia. The isolationist label doesn’t describe any actual policy, although it does have some relevance to political theater: Trump keeps saying he opposes the “endless wars” he inherited and seems very eager to chum up foreign leaders, even going so far as to effuse about how he and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un “fell in love.”

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