The Trumping of US Foreign Policy

DENVER – The United States’ presidential campaign, already long and tumultuous, will no doubt become even more so in the coming months, as the two parties’ nominees, now officially selected, face off ahead of November’s election. But voters will have a clear choice before them, especially with regard to foreign policy.

The Democratic Party’s nominee, Hillary Clinton, promises continuity. A Clinton administration would remain a willing partner to America’s friends and allies, and it would make clear to America’s adversaries that the broad tenets of US foreign policy will not change. Current US policy, rooted in strength and guided by pragmatism, has been generally successful in ensuring peace and stability for decades.

Quite a different vision has emerged on the Republican side, with the nomination of Donald Trump. And yet the candidate is a secondary issue – a symptom of the rapid transformation of the Grand Old Party itself, which has been a bewildering spectacle for American and foreign audiences alike.

The GOP establishment spent the primary season wringing its hands, asking how something like the Trump candidacy could happen. For example, in March 2016, hundreds of Republican advisers, representing a broad spectrum of foreign-policy views, signed an open letter expressing their opposition to Trump. While some of these advisers may come to support him this fall, having been “reassured” of his commitment to their views, most will not.