Contrary to appearances, Trump has a coherent foreign policy organized around three principles, says Sam Clovis, the candidate’s chief policy advisor and retired Air Force Colonel.
“One, we want to take a very clear worldview in our foreign policy, dealing with the national interest, and let that be our organizing principles. Two is that we want to make sure that we engage in free markets, but we want those markets to be fairer as well. And three, if we do not have strong economic recovery, we can’t do the other two,” said Clovis. “If that’s not a Trump doctrine, I don’t know what is.”
The practical application of that doctrine plays out in several ways. Trump’s narrow definition of “national interest” does not include things like democracy promotion, humanitarian intervention, the responsibility to protect people from atrocities or the advocacy of human rights abroad. Trump believes that economic engagement will lead to political opening in the long run. He doesn’t think the U.S. government should spend blood or treasure on trying to change other countries’ systems.
“This is a long game; it’s not a short game,” Clovis said. He faulted neoconservatives who “ think you can go out there and in three weeks after Iraq collapses you can create a constitutional democracy over there.”