Trump is Impeachable But so is US Foreign Policy

| Nov 27, 2019

The establishment is out of touch with America.

By Mark Hannah, Senior Fellow

This article appeared in Inkstick on November 27, 2019

The professional diplomats who testified before the House impeachment inquiry this month were poles apart from President Trump. They were poised and prudent. They were driven by high purpose and equipped with high minds. They stepped into the spotlight reluctantly and didn’t preen. And yet, the decades-old bipartisan foreign policy consensus they represent is unloved by most Americans.

However tempting it might be for those leading the impeachment hearings to drive a wedge between the national security establishment and the current president, it is a mistake to lean too heavily on the diplomats’ expressions of America’s national interests. Confusing Donald Trump’s potentially impeachable offenses with legitimate questions about the country’s foreign policy is a gambit which could backfire. After all, most voters are similarly dissatisfied with the status quo.

This is a conclusion of a study we just released entitled, “Indispensable No More? How the American Public Sees US Foreign Policy.” The hearings have warned of Russian aggression, revanchism, and malign influence, but most Americans are less anxious. If Russia were to be so brazen as to invade a Baltic NATO ally of the United States, only half of our survey respondents from across the country would opt for a military response.

Americans would treat their country’s national security challenges very differently than those who testified this month. Fewer than one in five Americans believe peace is best achieved by “maintaining overwhelming strength” or by “promoting and defending democracy around the world.” Significantly more would pursue peace by focusing on “the health of American democracy” and “avoiding unnecessary intervention” or by pursuing “economic integration” and free trade. This flies in the face of the longstanding interventionist consensus in Washington, comprised of Republicans with their mantra of peace through strength and Democrats with their dogma of armed democracy promotion.

Read more of this article in Instick

Written by Mark Hannah

Mark is a senior fellow with the Independent America project at the Institute for Global Affairs and host of IGA’s podcast, None Of The Above.

Read more from Mark

This post is part of Independent America, a research project led out by IGA senior fellow Mark Hannah, which seeks to explore how US foreign policy could better be tailored to new global realities and to the preferences of American voters.

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