There will come a day, hard as it is to visualize right now, when Donald Trump will no longer be president. When we make it to that finish line, hopefully without any intervening mushroom clouds or global cataclysms, will we have decisively avoided what Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tennessee) recently warned might be "World War III"?
Not so fast, I argue in today's L.A. Times. Corker, while more of a self-styled "realist" in comparison to uberhawkish fellow Trump apostate Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), nonetheless has wanted to arm the Ukranians, "get Assad," and make the usual terrible Republican sports metaphors about life-and-death foreign policy decisions. "More often than not," Corker complained about Barack Obama in 2014, "the president doesn't hit singles and doubles; he just balks."
There is a default interventionism in both Washington and the media, and it seems to be concentrated extra hard among Trump's most strident GOP critics, such as Ohio Gov. John Kasich. And if you don't think Republicans have been saying crazy things about using "the threat of extinction" against North Korea for a good quarter century, you haven't been paying attention. From the column:
Conservative NeverTrumpers — or should we call them the Unfitters since the man's in office?— may be broadly correct about the president's erratic temperament, shoddy management and aggressive incoherence on the world stage. But too many lack any sense of self-awareness, let alone regret, about how their foreign policy preferences have contributed to the global instability Trump is exacerbating. […]
The anti-Trump interventionists may be right about the unique dangers this president poses, not just through his chaotic foreign policy but also his retrograde 19th century ideas about trade and immigration. But for decades there has been a default Washington posture of aggressive meddling into the whole world's affairs, and downright belligerence toward many rogue states. Trump won't be around forever, but until that foreign policy tradition is confronted and questioned anew, the dangers he poses will live on.
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