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America Needs a Bipartisan Foreign Policy. Donald Trump Can Make It Happen.

America Needs a Bipartisan Foreign Policy. Donald Trump Can Make It Happen.

A new approach must consider not just elites’ perceptions and preferences but also those of the public.

DONALD TRUMP won the election after a tough and divisive campaign. While running for president, he did not shy away from questioning some accepted precepts of recent U.S. foreign policy or from making a number of flamboyant policy pronouncements. Consequently, the “morning after” was replete with speculation—and not inconsiderable trepidation in some quarters—about the sort of leadership the world could expect from the forty-fifth American commander in chief. Predictions have covered the gamut. Friends and foes alike are anxiously waiting to see what the new president will do in office, studying what he has said, and preparing their own options and possible responses.

Trump has the opportunity to “think big,” as he writes in his book The Art of the Deal and elsewhere, and recast American and Republican foreign policy for decades to come. As he does that, he will be constrained by the world as he finds it and by America’s domestic circumstances. Given these limitations, and the core beliefs he explicated during the campaign, a prudent foreign policy is possible and can find bipartisan support. The opportunity is there. I hope he seizes it.

THERE’S NO sugarcoating it: the world is in the most dangerous period since the end of the Cold War. What’s more, the very structures of the post–World War II international order are in question.

There is growing global chaos, across multiple regions. Crises and threats from even remote places today can have international impact. Major powers, first and foremost Russia and China, are challenging the current rules of the game to advance their agendas and visions. As a result, for the first time in decades, there is a real risk of war among the major powers.

Russia is taking advantage of power vacuums created by U.S. retrenchment and using modernized elements of its military power to hammer home the message that the United States and the West cannot solve world problems without Moscow’s assistance. That posture reflects Russia’s deep-seated resentment against the West based on the belief that since the end of the Cold War it has been slighted, its interests ignored, and that it has not been given the international stature and respect it covets.

China, meanwhile, is a power clearly on the rise, self-confident and convinced that time is on its side. The country’s dramatically increased economic and military power is permitting leaders in Beijing to pursue an ambitious vision, which they believe they are entitled to because of China’s size, huge population and five-thousand-year history, including long periods of preeminence. Against a backdrop of cultural and historic differences in which China classically did not regard other nations as equal, Beijing seems intent on working toward a Chinese-led international order, a vision that is quite different from the liberal international order created by the West after World War II. These are the motivations behind the maritime territorial grabs in the South China Sea and the efforts for increased influence in Central Asia, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. U.S.-China relations are a key factor in shaping the future of the international order. This relationship has the potential for conflict, because as history indicates, rising powers and status-quo powers often come into military conflict.

Significant changes are underway in several regions. Asia is becoming a rising center in the global economy, due not just to major economic powers such as China, Japan South Korea, India and Indonesia. The future of Europe, America’s most important partner for so many decades, has become uncertain as it grapples with a trifold crisis: the threat from Russia; the pressure of massive population movements from Africa and the Middle East, with all the ensuing domestic political stressors strengthening support for nationalism and opposition to multiculturalism and globalism; and the widely perceived internal flaws of the European Union that led to Brexit.

Across a significant part of the broader Middle East, state structures have been weakening and even collapsing. There are several contributing factors, including the failure of governments and the current state system to meet the needs of their peoples, and because of Iran’s disruptive policies to strengthen its influence by supporting substate actors. A visible consequence is retribalization, the resurgence of alternative identities—sects, ethnicities and tribes. The national borders devised by Western powers for Iraq and Syria, in particular, are not standing up well to the test of time. These factors, and the absence of national compacts among the major communities of key states, have led to internal instability and civil wars and have fostered conditions for the rise of extremist parties and terrorist groups.

Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan are experiencing various mixtures of civil wars, terrorism and extremism, further fueled by regional-power interference. Among these, the threat of terrorism is the most important. Iran is supporting extremist political groups and fielding militias in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and beyond in order to pursue regional hegemony—to which it believes itself entitled because of its size, population, culture and history. Iran’s policies are undermining the state system in the region. As it did after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, Tehran is now also using the rollback of ISIS to expand its influence in Iraq and Syria. Rival powers such as Turkey and Saudi Arabia, which see Iranian actions as the principal threat to the region, are supporting groups opposed to Tehran. Their relations with the United States suffered during the Obama administration because Washington downplayed the Iranian threat.

 

Pakistan’s support for insurgents and terrorists in Afghanistan is an enduring problem. The effort to use assistance as leverage to encourage Islamabad to abandon support for terrorists and Taliban insurgents has not been successful, and Pakistan’s policies have contributed to Afghanistan’s precarious condition and increased Taliban attacks. The consequent disorder has also enabled an increase in ISIS and Al Qaeda’s presence there.

Technological diffusion compounds these threats. Nuclear weapons and ballistic-missile technologies are proliferating. Hostile powers have developed cyber capabilities that can threaten the critical infrastructure of the United States and other developed countries. States, groups and individuals have used cyber attacks and hacking to meddle in the domestic affairs of states, including the United States. Communication technologies and social media enable political groups to mobilize in real time and allow transnational terrorist networks to operate at little cost, to recruit adherents worldwide and to do so in secrecy.

 

Some retrenchment was to be expected after the George W. Bush era, which had seen almost eight years of war, two regime-change operations and two large simultaneous nation-building projects. Arguably, though, some of President Obama’s policies overcompensated, creating power vacuums that were soon filled by hostile powers and negative forces. Obama believed that in the twenty-first century, unlike earlier times, it was less than optimal to use military power to achieve geopolitical goals. He therefore sought to disengage from key regions. He made a great effort to engage adversaries, such as Russia, China and Iran, hoping that reasonable compromises could be found and that diplomacy alone could be a sufficient tool. The results have been mixed. In Syria, for example, his decision to draw, but ultimately not enforce, a “red line” reverberated around the world and undermined U.S. credibility. Too often, his emphasis on diplomacy alone was read as a weakness by revisionist powers, and they felt encouraged to press forward with aggressive agendas.

MEANWHILE, INTERNAL discord within the country over foreign policy has clearly increased. The record of the very expensive and protracted conflicts undermined the confidence of the public. Growing economic problems and demographic changes have encouraged a focus on domestic issues. The end of the bipolar world and the complexity of current global challenges have made agreement on priorities and strategies more difficult. Though bitter partisan fights also marked the George W. Bush and Obama administrations, the divisions deepened further over the course of the presidential campaign.

The differences between the major candidates were stark. While Donald Trump called for “America First” policies, Hillary Clinton supported a globalist agenda involving costly policies that, at times, seemed only loosely linked to American interests. Clinton supported traditional U.S. alliances without question, but Trump felt they should be subjected to rigorous tests of relevance to the current challenges and burden sharing. Clinton denounced Vladimir Putin as an aggressive authoritarian leader, while Trump appeared sympathetic to the notion of seeking areas of cooperation and sensitivity to legitimate Russian interests. Trump advocated more military spending to bolster deterrence, but Clinton was silent on whether her ambitions required larger defense budgets. Clinton sought to downplay the ideological component of the terrorist threat, refusing to relate it to radical Islamism, while Trump highlighted the ideology of terrorists and advocated strict vetting systems for visas and for immigration from countries where terrorists operated. Clinton, historically a supporter of NAFTA and the TPP, hedged on those positions in the campaign, but Trump saw those trade deals as undermining U.S. prosperity.

Of course, these differences between the candidates reflected divisions inside the country over issues of foreign policy. One side argues for retrenchment. It contends that countries need to solve their own problems and that Americans gain little and risk much from entanglement abroad. This group includes many supporters of President Obama as well as Republican budget hawks and isolationists. Another school of thought calls for a restoration of American primacy. It argues that Americans, as well as others, depend on the stability and prosperity made possible by U.S. global power and activism. These advocates include the so-called neoconservatives in the Republican Party and many globalists among the Democrats.

A discussion of a new foreign policy must take into account the relative U.S. power position. While the United States remains the world’s strongest power, with unmatched capabilities in the military, economic, technological and intellectual domains, its advantage over others has eroded. The U.S. share of global GDP declined to 20 percent, as fast-growing economies claimed greater shares and U.S. growth lagged. U.S. national debt reached levels, as a percentage of GDP, not seen since immediately after World War II, when debt had funded the war effort. Annual deficits continued to run at $600 billion, and the growth of spending on entitlement programs is escalating. Meanwhile, budget deals had gutted military spending: force-structure cuts were scheduled to reduce the army to its smallest size since the interwar years. Currently, readiness is at its lowest in decades, and modernization programs are constrained, even as the threat from abroad increases.

The new president won’t have the luxury of easing into these challenges. First of all, it is likely that other powers—both friends and adversaries—will try to test him, to try and take his measure. It will not just be state actors but also terrorists and extremists who will do so. Then too, some of the crises he inherits are urgent and immediate, and must be addressed right away. These include Syria and the war against the Islamic State.

To navigate these challenges and crises, President Trump must embrace a strategic perspective­—to determine what his objectives are and how he will pursue them. He must also determine what outcomes are unacceptable to the United States. Such a perspective can help in prioritizing issues and enable him to shape the future. Trump will need domestic support from both the public and Congress. One way for him to restore bipartisanship and unity, goals he clearly stated in his early-morning acceptance speech, is to identify a few issues, based on his commitments in the campaign, where agreement can come more easily. To win broad and lasting support for his foreign policy, Trump’s choices must relate to domestic circumstances and include not just elites’ perceptions and preferences but also those of the public.

Besides demonstrating from the beginning both the understanding and the readiness to deal with immediate issues, he will have to focus on the longer term in the following ways.

First, strengthening the underpinnings of American power is clearly necessary and has broad support. As other powers have risen economically, the relative standing of the United States has declined. Urgent actions are required to restore the health of the U.S. economy and the strength of the military. The new administration needs to bolster U.S. innovation and technological leadership.

Second, ensuring peace among the great powers. Among its landmark achievements, U.S. statecraft ended the Cold War without open conflict and maintained peace among the great powers for an impressive seventy years. That took both political skill and military deterrence, as well as soft and hard power to secure national interests and values, while appreciating the legitimate concerns of others and keeping tensions at a level below great-power war. Cooperation among the major powers is important not only to diminish the potential conflict with each other but to containing and decreasing instability around the world.

Third, prevent the domination of key regions by hostile powers. In the post–Cold War period, American presidents have consistently stated that certain regions—particularly Europe, East Asia and the Greater Middle East—were critically important because of their wealth or resources. Although the balance of U.S. activities among the regions varied over time, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama all recognized the geostrategic importance of these regions.

Fourth, the need to counter extremism and terrorism threatening the United States is an obvious and shared goal, underscored by the ability of the Islamic State to launch multiple attacks and to inspire homegrown terrorists. This threat has deep roots and is ultimately the product of an internal crisis of Islamic civilization. It will be around for a long time. While Americans may disagree on the means required to counter this threat, the goal of protecting the country from terrorism garners bipartisan support.

Fifth, standing up for our values and promoting democracy and good governance selectively where we have confidence we can be effective is an enduring U.S. foreign-policy tradition. This means taking local conditions and America’s ability to shape events into account in order to avoid a situation in which the aftermath of regime change is hijacked by extremists or groups tied to hostile powers. Washington must strike a balance—a middle way between the expensive, risky zeal of universal evangelism resulting from American exceptionalism and multiple, large-scale nation-building exercises, on the one hand, and the passive posture of serving as an example for others to follow or not, on the other. Sometimes small state-building efforts can be a prudent option to address a strategic problem. America should engage with like-minded movements and groups abroad so long as they are truly indigenous and have genuine traction, but understand that it is for them to win their struggles for freedom. While crafting American foreign policy always has involved a tension and balance between U.S. interests and values, a bipartisan path forward needs to prioritize interests and promote values in a realistic and prudent way.

WHAT STRATEGY can both effectively pursue these goals and secure bipartisan support? Republicans and Democrats alike must bring to the table their best ideas to broker an agreed agenda to enhance economic growth and increased employment, not just to bring revenues in line with government expenditures, but also to address the inequities in American society that are undermining social and political cohesion.

But some issues will require difficult compromises. Reforms need to create an immigration system that embraces a new and more confidence-inspiring enforcement regime, for reasons of both national security and economic health. Potential extremists need to be screened out. But America must continue to attract the best and the brightest the world has to offer. Illegal immigration must be curbed to reduce pressure on wages and jobs at the lower end of the income spectrum. Only with such a system can agreement be reached on the status of undocumented immigrants already in the country.

The United States must also update its trade policies to ensure that mercantilist states are unable to take advantage of free trade by, for example, dumping products such as steel onto the U.S. market or thwarting U.S. exports through non-tariff barriers and currency manipulation. The U.S. government must take a harder line in trade negotiations and develop better capabilities to enforce trade agreements in real time, not at the end of a long and litigious process. The era of unquestioning and celebratory globalization is ending. The effects of trade on various strata of American society must be scrutinized more closely.

Efforts to maintain great-power peace will necessarily focus on bilateral issues but also on certain critical regions. Trump has spoken often about the need for new approaches towards Russia, China and the Middle East, particularly in light of dangers posed by the Islamic State and by Iran.

In order to maintain great-power peace in these regions, the United States should pursue a policy of “congagement”—a combination of containment and engagement. The containment element consists of steps that maintain a balance of power to strengthen deterrence and discourage outright challenges to the existing order, while engagement fosters dialogue and understanding, and explores common interests and opportunities for cooperation. The formula can vary depending on the circumstances, but the critical thing is to always consider both elements. This is especially important given the U.S. proclivity to see countries either as friends to be engaged or foes to be confronted.

This strategy must also be employed with flexibility. Containment and engagement will not always be deployed in equal doses, and policymakers need to adapt the balance to changing circumstances. Various forces, not just U.S. actions, shape the policies of other powers. Domestic circumstances, for example, can make other powers more aggressive or cooperative. Washington must recognize changes in a timely manner and adjust accordingly.

U.S. strategy vis-à-vis Russia and China, for example, would pursue national interests by strengthening deterrence and not narrowly tailoring diplomacy to areas of competition and potential conflict. Instead, the United States should be open to and seek cooperation to address regional and global issues and to understand what other powers seek, being sensitive to their legitimate interests and resolving disputed issues peacefully where possible. At the same time, U.S. diplomacy should be alert to opportunities to prevent collaboration among these states to develop into an effective anti-Western axis.

This approach can be practically applied through four pillars in each of the key regions. First, make any needed adjustments to ensure that alliances are focused on actual and current challenges, not residual issues from the past. Engage allies in identifying new and effective ways to deal with these challenges, and come to agreements on how each member can contribute appropriately and actively. This speaks to the reduction of the “free riders” problem that Trump has already raised, and it also creates a more sustainable and enduring arrangement. Trump has already stated that he intends to engage allies within the first six months.

Second, develop an approach toward partners and potential partners who, though not currently allies, seek to cooperate with Washington against a common threat. In selected cases, the militaries of frontline states could be networked into the intelligence or operational systems of the United States and its allies.

Third, refine U.S. economic and political instruments of power to advance positive change in the world and bolster business and geopolitical interests. China, in particular, is employing its economic instruments on a massive scale, while the United States lags behind. Many other countries, including European allies, see their diplomacy as a legitimate means to support their economic and business interests internationally. The new administration needs to look at ways to address this gap. Here the business background of the new president can be helpful. An important early task should be to develop a proposal for a successor agreement to the TPP that addresses the concerns that Trump raised in the campaign, but that will prevent China from operating on an open field in the trade area.

Fourth, review the democratization agenda, which needs to become more selective, more nuanced and more cognizant of unintended consequences and more reliant on indigenous readiness. To date, Trump has given the impression of being more focused on state-to-state relations and less interested in the promotion of democracy or regime change. The goal of increasing prospects in the near term for stability may warrant such an approach in certain countries, but he will want to become more sensitized to internal rifts, subnational and transnational movements, and other substate fracture lines. Further, the United States does not and should not seek frontal military challenges to Russia, China or Iran, which would be costly and risky. The president-elect must acquire a deep understanding of his adversaries’ perceptions, beliefs, history and culture. He should also identify and understand their profound internal vulnerabilities—a lack of domestic political legitimacy, for instance. The spread of democracy can serve values and interests.

IN EUROPE, this four-part strategy should be applied to restore the continent’s “whole and free” aspiration. It requires congagement with Russia and guidance to European allies as they struggle with urgent problems such as mass migration from the Middle East. Washington might also encourage Europe to address the issues that led to Brexit and that might produce further defections, for example, by better adapting some of the institutions that led to this alienation.

With respect to Russia, America and its NATO allies will need to develop an approach that maintains deterrence against potential Russian aggression, but explores areas of potential cooperation and gives due respect to Russian legitimate concerns and sensitivities. On deterrence, America needs to take into account not only the potential for conventional conflict but also irregular warfare.

The United States should enhance engagement with Russia. The Trump administration should cooperate in areas such as space exploration and counterterrorism, explore political solutions to end the civil war in Syria and perhaps address crises in other countries, thereby creating a basis for broader ties. It should test the chance for an understanding over Ukraine.

Regarding the challenges emanating from the Greater Middle East, the NATO alliance must continue to evolve, as it did in taking on the out-of-area challenges of Afghanistan and security-force training in Iraq. NATO members should create a joint diplomatic, political, military and economic strategy to strengthen moderate states in the Middle East, especially those opposing Iranian hegemony. NATO should work to counter Iran’s proxy militias. Its European members should help Libya and Tunisia create internal political compacts to avoid slipping into chaos. It should lead security-force development. NATO has developed only a minimal counterterrorism capability; much can be done to improve information collection, information sharing and combat capabilities in dealing with the Islamic State and other extremist threats, in order to better disrupt their recruitment efforts and plots. Finally, it should develop an effective Mediterranean security strategy, including efforts to control unchecked migration.

IN EAST Asia, the United States should work with its strong and capable allies—Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand—to enhance deterrence against China’s aggressive conduct in the South China Sea. U.S. policy toward China must press Beijing on currency manipulation and dumping, check its regional ambitions and solve specific problems like North Korea’s nuclear program.

The United States should encourage and support allied efforts to establish and sustain a regional balance of power. The pursuit of a regional balance can benefit from increased security cooperation with current partners and allies but also with India and Vietnam.

To increase regional cooperation, crisis prevention and crisis management, the United States should also encourage the creation of an East Asian equivalent of the OSCE. This would be a multilateral forum, which would include China, to discuss security issues and to resolve disputes. Among the existing forums, the East Asia Summit might be the best candidate to evolve into such a role, because it has the right membership, but it will need to be properly institutionalized and provided with the right mandate.

At the same time, the United States should continue economic and civil-society engagement with the Chinese. Over the long haul, the tens of thousands of Chinese students who attend university in the United States hold perhaps the most promising key to an amicable and sustainable bilateral relationship. These kinds of exchanges, as well as business ties, have the potential to make the U.S.-China relationship a constructive axis.

In building these integrated allied capabilities, both in Europe and East Asia, the United States may have to play hardball on burden sharing; and this is something that Trump has already signaled a determination to do. While some allies are stepping up their defense efforts to deal with new threats, others prefer to rely on the United States. Washington must make clear that continuing U.S. security commitments are contingent on allies building an agreed set of specific forces, maintaining arsenals capable of sustaining operations over extended periods, and undertaking training to guarantee needed readiness and operating capability.

THE GREATER Middle East harbors two major challenges: a bid by Iran to achieve regional hegemony and the terrorist threat emanating from the Islamic State and the Afghanistan-Pakistan area. The United States should seek to avoid a major military intervention, which would be costly and protracted. It should not pick sides in the regional sectarian struggle. Instead, the United States should help create a balance of power against adversarial states. For this, Washington must find ways to leverage the capabilities and resources of its partners. In some instances, our partners have preferred the “good cop/bad cop” approach, conducting business with a problematic regime while the U.S. tries to impose sanctions and other pressures. The Trump administration will need to insist on coherent and unified policies within U.S. alliances.

To tackle Iran, Washington will need to strengthen ties with traditional frontline partners, whose confidence in the United States has diminished during the Obama administration. America should increase its ability to resist Iran’s pursuit of hegemony and to thwart extremist groups at home and across the region. It is in the national interest to see improved governance and economic growth in Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, Afghanistan, and the states of Central Asia and the Caspian region. While they have to do the heavy lifting on these issues, Washington can contribute expertise to further their reform and development programs, as well as help secure assistance through bilateral and multilateral programs and investment from private markets. Washington should encourage Gulf states to help finance this assistance. It is a good sign that Michael Flynn, who has written about the imperative to win the ideological fight in the region, highlights the need to work with the many willing partners that the U.S. government can engage.

The United States should also keep an eye on the reform agenda of Saudi Arabia’s new leadership. Saudi leaders have at last admitted that in the past, individuals and organizations in their country supported the spread of radical Islam worldwide. They now need to take visible and verifiable steps to eliminate the flow of resources from the Gulf to radical mosques and movements. The Saudi government’s Vision 2030 program describes a platform to modernize the country. If it proves to be serious, the U.S. government may wish to incentivize American firms, universities and civil-society organizations to help ensure that it succeeds.

The United States certainly needs to help contain Iran, check its effort to dominate the region, strengthen the flawed nuclear agreement and penalize Tehran when it violates it, contain and counter its growing missile program, and highlight its human-rights violations. But Washington must also be open to enhanced engagement.

On Syria, the Trump administration would be well advised to proceed on two tracks. Given Trump’s known proclivities, he is likely to first attempt an agreement with Moscow. That makes sense, and there are sensible options regarding Bashar al-Assad’s future—such as becoming the president of an Alawite region in a decentralized Syria. But the president-elect should be ready with a second option: an intensified effort against ISIS in eastern Syria, with liberated areas brought under the control of Kurds and allied Arabs to avoid handing space to Iran-backed militias. Such zones, which could incrementally expand westward, would also provide secure areas for civilians and provide leverage in dealing with Russia, Assad’s regime and Iran.

Third, to combat terrorist and extremist groups in the Afghanistan-Pakistan theater, the Trump administration will need to review U.S. policies in both countries and decide how best to foster an Afghanistan that is not a base for terrorists and can assist the United States in the broader generational struggle against extremism in the region.

The administration will also need to confront the challenge of how to get Pakistan to end its support for violent extremists and terrorists. U.S. leverage over Islamabad includes targeting terrorist and extremist leaders in Pakistan; reducing assistance to the country, including resources provided through the IMF and World Bank; and sanctioning it as a state sponsor of terrorism. On the other hand, if Pakistan verifiably changes course, the United States should be open to increased cooperation.

Further, the United States should engage with the major players in the region, particularly Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, to encourage a regional dialogue. The United States should help create a forum, perhaps analogous to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), to begin such a dialogue to defuse sectarian divisions and national rivalries. This organization should be founded on a charter that articulates the principle of mutual acceptance by Shia and Sunnis, and that initiates a process to resolve conflicts and to find areas of mutual cooperation. While differences among these powers are deep, this forum and dialogue could begin a process of reconciliation.

WILL AMERICAN domestic politics constrain President Trump’s ability to achieve an enduring bipartisan consensus in foreign policy? That could happen, given the polarization of the parties and the take-no-prisoners character of our politics in recent decades. An antidote may be businessman Trump’s proclivity to engage with all parties to a problem and search for a deal that works for everyone. He writes that finding creative solutions to thorny problems is what he likes to do best. His greatest opportunity may be in forging bipartisanship on foreign policy.

In this regard, President Trump should cultivate new mechanisms for developing a common worldview and agenda among leaders of the two parties. Broad consensus on the fundamentals of America’s foreign policy is essential to regaining U.S. preeminence in global affairs. The abrupt reversals of recent years as the presidency passed between political parties has degraded the effectiveness of U.S. foreign policy, eroded the confidence of allies and emboldened rival powers. America’s ability to lead and to exert influence to shape a more peaceful and prosperous world requires strategic patience.

Trump should consider involving congressional leaders of both parties in an extensive policy review to assess how the United States can meet the world’s mounting threats in a manner consistent with America’s internal demands and public opinion. He also should consider making use of bipartisan presidential commissions, for which there is historic precedent. Harry S. Truman’s Hoover Commission, for example, succeeded in reorganizing the executive branch with bipartisan buy-in.

A domestic consensus may not be restored completely, especially at the outset of the new administration, but it may well grow if policies are perceived to be effective in reducing instability and threats and in forging international cooperation toward U.S. goals, even with states with which America does not share values.

The situation in the world is too dangerous for a new bipartisan foreign policy to embrace minimalism. It must be carefully tailored to securing U.S. interests and promoting a more stable world. Both parties can subscribe to that agenda. And if the U.S. economy gets stronger, and allies and partners play their specified roles and bear the requisite burden, U.S. policy can be affordable and sustainable. If President Trump pursues this path, he could end up rivaling Ronald Reagan as a foreign-policy leader.

Zalmay Khalilzad, a former director of policy planning in the Department of Defense, was the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Iraq and the United Nations.

Image: Soldiers during a squad fire range at Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany. Flickr/U.S. Army