From the Left



Doesn't Trump ever get tired of losing so much?

Dana Milbank on

In fact, that pretty well summarizes the Trump Doctrine: crockery smashing. The "wins" in foreign policy have been things Trump has undone (the Paris climate accord, the Trans-Pacific Partnership) or is in the process of undoing (the Iran nuclear deal, NAFTA). Relations have soured with Britain, continental Europe and countries from Mexico to Australia. He has accelerated gains against the Islamic State, though at the cost of giving more power to Russia -- and the terrorist threat is decentralizing rather than dissipating.

And what do we have to show for this? Well, the Commerce Department reported that the U.S. trade deficit in October widened to a nine-month high. Oh, and the Treasury Department reported that, as of the end of September, foreign holdings of U.S. debt were $6.23 trillion, up from $5.95 trillion when Trump took over. China has regained its spot as the United States' biggest creditor.

At home, too, Trump's "wins" have been things he has undone. He's sabotaged Obamacare, called an end to the DACA program for child immigrants, shrunk national monuments and canceled regulations. But while destruction is easy, creation has eluded Trump. The promised jobs have yet to return: A mere 1,900 coal jobs and 126,000 manufacturing jobs, a tiny sliver of the nearly 1.5 million jobs added under Trump (those a continuation of seven years of job growth). Trump has crowed about the stock market setting records, but it also did in each of the past four years, and about 15-year highs in consumer confidence, but that has been trending upward since 2011.

Tillerson, acknowledging in Europe this week to U.S. diplomats that "we don't have any wins on the board yet," said he would announce "quick wins" in the coming weeks -- but these are items such as updating IT systems and streamlining the department.

Substantive "wins" are getting further from the administration's grasp. Trump had it right two months ago when he said he wanted to give peace a chance before moving the embassy to Jerusalem. Now, he's blowing things up by rewarding Israeli hard-liners, empowering Islamist hard-liners and setting back hopes for peace. Doesn't he ever get tired of losing?

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Follow Dana Milbank on Twitter, @Milbank.

(c) 2017, Washington Post Writers Group



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