Blogs: Paul Pillar

Why Religious Policies in Israel Matter to U.S. Gentiles

Tillerson's Frustrations

Isolation in Hamburg

Paul Pillar

To be fair, the limitations on display at the G-20 meeting were not all a matter of Donald Trump.  In searching for offsetting benefits along the path of destruction that is the Trump presidency, one possible benefit is how his excesses have made clearer than ever the limitations on U.S. power in a multipolar world.  Although U.S. leadership and influence have indeed been falling fast, it is not only in the last few months that the ability of the United States to get its way has not been nearly as great as some common versions of American exceptionalism would hold.  Most previous presidents, by showing decent respect to the opinions of mankind and by avoiding inexcusably backward postures such as Trump’s on climate change, have nevertheless avoided the kind of isolation in display at Hamburg.  Trump is demonstrating mostly his own limitations, but he also is demonstrating how even the power of the United States is not sufficient to overcome understandable resistance to stupid and narrowly conceived policies.

Image: Donald Trump speaking at CPAC 2011 in Washington, DC.​ Flickr / Gage Skidmore

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A Syria Deal Trump Should Make with Putin

Paul Pillar

To be fair, the limitations on display at the G-20 meeting were not all a matter of Donald Trump.  In searching for offsetting benefits along the path of destruction that is the Trump presidency, one possible benefit is how his excesses have made clearer than ever the limitations on U.S. power in a multipolar world.  Although U.S. leadership and influence have indeed been falling fast, it is not only in the last few months that the ability of the United States to get its way has not been nearly as great as some common versions of American exceptionalism would hold.  Most previous presidents, by showing decent respect to the opinions of mankind and by avoiding inexcusably backward postures such as Trump’s on climate change, have nevertheless avoided the kind of isolation in display at Hamburg.  Trump is demonstrating mostly his own limitations, but he also is demonstrating how even the power of the United States is not sufficient to overcome understandable resistance to stupid and narrowly conceived policies.

Image: Donald Trump speaking at CPAC 2011 in Washington, DC.​ Flickr / Gage Skidmore

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The Plummeting of U.S. Standing in the World

Paul Pillar

To be fair, the limitations on display at the G-20 meeting were not all a matter of Donald Trump.  In searching for offsetting benefits along the path of destruction that is the Trump presidency, one possible benefit is how his excesses have made clearer than ever the limitations on U.S. power in a multipolar world.  Although U.S. leadership and influence have indeed been falling fast, it is not only in the last few months that the ability of the United States to get its way has not been nearly as great as some common versions of American exceptionalism would hold.  Most previous presidents, by showing decent respect to the opinions of mankind and by avoiding inexcusably backward postures such as Trump’s on climate change, have nevertheless avoided the kind of isolation in display at Hamburg.  Trump is demonstrating mostly his own limitations, but he also is demonstrating how even the power of the United States is not sufficient to overcome understandable resistance to stupid and narrowly conceived policies.

Image: Donald Trump speaking at CPAC 2011 in Washington, DC.​ Flickr / Gage Skidmore

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