To the Editor:
Re “We Will Never Be the Same,” by Ivan Krastev (Op-Ed, Dec. 4):
The only thing more disturbing to me than Donald Trump’s presidency is the tendency to hold him accountable for all of the changes and challenges in the world today, including what Mr. Krastev laments as America’s “lost” sense of global leadership and rising tensions with China.
Let’s remember that it was George W. Bush who, after 9/11, started a bold foreign policy of regime change and democracy promotion that created a boomerang effect on America’s leadership in the world.
And it was Barack Obama who initiated a foreign policy shift from “indispensable nation" to “nation building at home.” Obama officials touted America’s new global role as “leading from behind.”
Even President Trump’s hard-line approach to China predates him. George W. Bush formally changed China’s label from “strategic partner” to “strategic competitor.” And Mr. Obama began an aggressive “pivot to Asia” to help contain a rising China.
Yes, Donald Trump’s style is corrosive and destructive. And many of his polices are without nuance. But if America is to rebound from the Trump presidency — which it certainly can — the first step is to candidly recognize how we got here.
The writer teaches American foreign policy at Columbia University. He formerly served as a foreign policy adviser and speechwriter in the Senate.
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