Editor’s Note: The following is excerpted from American Power and Liberal Order: A Conservative Internationalist Grand Strategy by Paul D. Miller. © 2016 by Georgetown University Press. Reprinted by permission.
Over the past year, real-estate tycoon Donald Trump mesmerized the American media during his run for the presidency. He broke every rule of expected conduct for presidential candidates and not only survived—he thrived. Many of his attention-grabbing departures were matters of style and character. But among his heresies were some novel policy proposals—especially in foreign policy. Trump called into question NATO’s usefulness; promised to start trade wars with China, Mexico, and Japan; and openly admired the autocratic ruler of Russia while disparaging the leaders of the United States’ democratic allies. He embraced waterboarding and threatened to kill terrorists’ families while simultaneously promising to keep America out of foreign entanglements and let Russia sort out the Middle East. During his first major foreign policy address in April, he openly called for an “America First” grand strategy. He argued that the United States has been taken by its allies and rivals alike, played for a fool by free riders coasting on America’s overly-generous provision of global stability. It is time, in Trump’s view, for America to step back and the rest of the world to pay up.