The only member of Obama’s foreign policy team in his first term who opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq was Barack Obama himself. There’s little difference between liberal interventionism and neo-conservatism. All sides of America’s political establishment like to meddle overseas. They just use different rhetoric to justify it.
Donald Trump is against America intervening overseas unless it is in America’s national interests. He doesn’t want to nation-build and launch wars for democracy.
There is one corner of Washington where Donald Trump’s scorched-earth presidential campaign is treated as a mere distraction and where bipartisanship reigns. In the rarefied world of the Washington foreign policy establishment, President Obama’s departure from the White House — and the possible return of a more conventional and hawkish Hillary Clinton — is being met with quiet relief.
The Republicans and Democrats who make up the foreign policy elite are laying the groundwork for a more assertive American foreign policy via a flurry of reports shaped by officials who are likely to play senior roles in a potential Clinton White House.
It is not unusual for Washington’s establishment to launch major studies in the final months of an administration to correct the perceived mistakes of a president or influence his successor. But the bipartisan nature of the recent recommendations, coming at a time when the country has never been more polarized, reflect a remarkable consensus among the foreign policy elite.
This consensus is driven by broad-based backlash against a president who has repeatedly stressed the dangers of overreach and the limits of American power, especially in the Middle East. “There’s a widespread perception that not being active enough or recognizing the limits of American power has costs,” said Philip Gordon, a senior foreign policy adviser to Obama until 2015. “So the normal swing is to be more interventionist.”