Donald Trump Goes Rogue

George Packer: “Power politics favors regimes accustomed to operating outside the liberal order…. Trump imagines that America unbound, shaking hands or giving the finger, depending upon short-term interests and Presidential whims, will flourish among the other rogues. After his meeting with Kim, he flew home aglow with wonder at his own dealmaking prowess, assuring Americans that they could now sleep in peace. In fact, Trump had secured nothing except the same vague commitment to dismantling North Korea’s nuclear program which the regime has offered and routinely betrayed in the past. Meanwhile, he gave up something real—joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises, which he called ‘provocative,’ the language of totalitarian and aggressive North Korea. Without allies and treaties, without universal values, American foreign policy largely depends on what goes on inside Trump’s head. Kim, like Putin, already seems to have got there.”

“Power politics is not a system that plays to American strengths. For all our lapses, we thrived for seventy years by standing for something. It wasn’t boilerplate at all, and we are present at the destruction. When the next global economic crisis or major war or terrorist attack happens, America will be alone.”

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