OpEd- Stephen Wertheim in the Washington Post on Isolationism and President Trump

Monday, February 20, 2017 - 12:30pm

OpEd by Stephein Wertheim, "Quit calling Donald Trump an isolationist. He’s worse than that."

Under President Trump, American foreign policy is returning, many commentators say, to the isolationism that preceded World War II. This line of interpretation (and often attack) emerged during the election: While Hillary Clinton warned that her opponent would “tear up our alliances,” an array of experts supplied such fears with a historical pedigree. As Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass put it, Trump stood for a “new isolationism,” a revival of the 1930s dream of “turning away from global engagement.”

The problem is, Trump isn’t an isolationist. He is a militarist, something far worse. And calling Trump an isolationist isn’t an effective critique.

The term “isolationism” was coined in the 1930s to caricature Americans who wanted to stay strictly neutral in the looming war.