Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member Latest Breaking News Editorials & Other Articles General Discussion The DU Lounge All Forums Issue Forums Culture Forums Alliance Forums Region Forums Support Forums Help & Search


(15,923 posts)
Sat Dec 14, 2019, 01:02 AM Dec 2019

An inside look at Trump's foreign policy: 'This is literally insane'

‘Holy f---. This can’t last. This is literally insane.” This salty quote, coming about midway through Peter Bergen’s rollicking account of President Trump’s foreign policy, is how an unnamed senior official describes the response of the two original adults in the room, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, to one of many presidential decisions they felt unwise and uninformed — in this instance, the blithe approval of a Saudi-led blockade of Qatar in 2017. Soon enough, the government careers of both of these experienced and proud men would meet an unceremonious end. But their sentiments succinctly capture the way most of official Washington — and much of the world — thinks about U.S. foreign policy under Trump.

From the moment Trump strutted into the Oval Office, we have been buried by an avalanche of jaw-dropping revelations about what happens when an unhinged, cynical and impulsive commander in chief bumps up against professionalism, decency and the rule of law. So when opening a new book promising still more inside stories of Trump’s foreign policy, it is hard to expect an author to say anything new — especially when the book was written before the impeachment drama started. Perhaps the best one can hope for is something that helps put this craziness in perspective and lays out the stakes for the future.

Bergen’s “Trump and His Generals” meets the test. A respected national security analyst at New America and CNN, Bergen provides a deeply informed study, written with clarity and flair. Reflecting fresh research and nearly 100 interviews with some key players, his retelling of Trump’s foreign policy skillfully synthesizes what’s already known and adds gossipy tidbits. Although it doesn’t change the fundamental story line and may not create breaking news, it is the best single account of Trump’s foreign policy to date.

The narrative arc of Bergen’s tale is familiar, showing how the relationship between the president and the military brass who initially staffed his administration — retired Marine generals Mattis and John Kelly, and Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster — went down in flames. Bergen traces the ways Trump’s fanboy fascination with “his” generals transformed into deep frustration with their caution and ethical code.


2 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
Highlight: NoneDon't highlight anything 5 newestHighlight 5 most recent replies
An inside look at Trump's foreign policy: 'This is literally insane' (Original Post) Zorro Dec 2019 OP
Trump doesn't like people who have caution and ethical codes. tanyev Dec 2019 #1
Well, he knows more about foreign policy than any of them dalton99a Dec 2019 #2
Latest Discussions»Editorials & Other Articles»An inside look at Trump's...