In a February 6, 2018 op-ed for Foreign Policy, “The Trouble Before the Storm,” POMED deputy director for policy Andrew Miller takes a look at President Trump’s first year in office, making the case that there is no indication Trump is ready for a military crisis in the Middle East.
The Trump presidency passed its one-year mark last month, presenting a logical opportunity to take stock of the administration’s Middle East policy. One year is long enough to begin discerning some of the systemic implications of the new administration’s policies. It may seem a quixotic task to evaluate President Donald Trump against his campaign rhetoric, given his notorious message indiscipline. But for all of his flip-flopping during the 2016 presidential campaign, he nevertheless offered, even if he never fully articulated, a series of fairly consistent positions regarding the Middle East.
As with many of the president’s policy positions, the underlying philosophy can best be described as “anything but Obama.” Trump derided his predecessor’s Middle East policy as a “disaster” and accused President Barack Obama of “appl[ying] pressure to our friends and reward[ing] our enemies.” In this vein, Trump strongly criticized the previous administration’s support of the Arab Spring, saying that he would pursue“regional stability, not radical change” in the Middle East. He viewed Obama’s nuanced approach to friends and enemies alike as a strategic miscalculation…
Read the full op-ed here.