Blogs: Paul Pillar

Terrorism in Tehran: Reality Confounds Rhetoric

Syria: Still a No-Win Situation

The Paris Agreement and Trump at his Worst

Dozing Off on the Way to Planetary Ruin

Trump Is No Realist

Paul Pillar

A realist would not overlook how giving a green light to Sunni monarchs to crack down  on Shia dissidents would encourage them to do exactly that, as in Bahrain, with implications for the stability and future of the U.S. military presence there.  A realist would not overlook how the continued absence of democracy and self-determination for Palestinians has major consequences for state-to-state relations in the Middle East, however much some customary friends wish that were not so.  A realist would understand how Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s lurch toward authoritarianism diminishes what otherwise could have been a more positive role for Turkey in the international relations of the Middle East, and a realist would have seen no reason to congratulate Erdoğan on the referendum result that has facilitated the lurch.

It is not clear yet whether Donald Trump’s foreign policy has enough coherence to merit the label of any “ism”, with or without capital letters.  But it certainly isn’t realism. 

Image: President Donald Trump walks with NATO Secretary General Jens Stolenberg on April 12, 2017, along the Colonnade outside the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC.