National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster characterized the foreign policy style of President Donald Trump as ‘disruptive’ in a speech this week, adding context to recent Trump statements that have left supporters and detractors alike wondering as to where the President definitively stands on key issues.
“Some people have described him as disruptive. They’re right. And this is good — good because we can no longer afford to invest in policies that do not advance the interests and values of the United States and our allies,” McMaster said during a speech at the Israeli Embassy. The speech preceded a major meeting between President Trump and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday.
Speaking with Abbas on Wednesday, President Trump said the United States and its allies would do “whatever is necessary” to achieve a lasting peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians. In a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in February, Trump caused alarm after appearing to walk back American support for the “Two State Solution,” long a bipartisan staple in American foreign policy.
“I’m looking at two-state and one-state” Trump said. “I like the one that both parties like. I’m very happy with the one that both parties like. I can live with either one.”
But on Wednesday Trump struck a more definitive tone in his meeting with Abbas, saying “I will do whatever is necessary … I would love to be a mediator or an arbitrator or a facilitator, and we will get this done.”
Trump’s seemingly unpredictable style has been a favorite target for his critics, but now is being branded as a strength. The President “is not a super-patient man” and “does not have time to debate over doctrine,” McMaster said, describing the President’s personality and leadership as one that creates opportunities for progress.
In the last week, President Trump has welcomed the idea of meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, something once almost unthinkable for an American president, as well as invited president of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte to the White House. Duterte’s invitation caused some in the administration to offer strange explanations relating to North Korea and South Asian security as necessary for such a meeting. McMaster, faced with 4 to 8 years of this type of diplomacy, appears to be embracing and advocating this approach, rather than simply explaining and justifying on news programs like some of his peers in the administration.
Image courtesy of the U.S. Navy