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The case for Trump’s foreign policy

The president has shifted how both parties think about trade, alliances, Russia, and China. Is that a good thing?

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China’s President Xi Jinping shakes hands with US President Donald Trump before a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Osaka on June 28, 2019.
Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

Rebeccah Heinrichs is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute where she specializes in nuclear deterrence and missile defense, a former adviser to congressional Republicans, and one of the sharpest defenders of Donald Trump’s foreign policy.

Heinrichs sees a clear foreign policy worldview animating the Trump administration — one with more successes to its name than critics are willing to admit. I see a worldview that – even if you agree with it — is inconsistently applied, and one whose goals are often undermined by the president’s impulsive, anti-strategic behavior on the world stage. So I asked Heinrichs to come on my podcast and persuade me that I’m wrong.

In this conversation, Heinrichs and I discuss how Trump shattered the foreign policy consensus that preceded him, why he sees China as such a central threat to American interests, the trade-offs that come with engaging in multilateral agreements and institutions, whether the threats America faces require global cooperation to address, the importance (or lack thereof) of how other countries view America, the ways that Trump undermines his own purported foreign policy aims, Trump’s ally-bashing, the US-Saudi Arabia alliance, the Trump administration’s stance on human rights, what we can expect if Trump gains a second term, and much more.

My conversation with Heinrichs can be heard on The Ezra Klein Show.

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