The President’s rogue handling of international affairs may be, slowly, coming to an end with the establishment tightening his collar
Trump’s appeal to forgotten America was forged by his anti-establishment rhetoric. For them, he offered something different from the presumed Obama-Clinton handover. This was not only in domestic affairs, but in the international arena too.
When he won the election, he continued with this character. He espoused the views that Russia could be an ally, China was in the palm of the U.S. over North Korea, and multilateralism was dead.
In the past week though, the world has witnessed something (although not entirely) different.
Okay, in typical Trump fashion the Polish establishment shipped in right-wingers by the busload to ensure he got a rapturous reception in Warsaw. But what Trump said in the Polish capital was much more interesting than the pomp of his ceremony.
For the first time, it seemed Trump accepted that the world did not work as he hoped. During the campaign, his visions of a unilateral, America-centric world could blossom as he saw fit.
He sold that vision to the American populace.
What Trump has now realised is that he failed to sell the truth. He believed that by his mere presence he could change the viewpoint of ‘Washington’ on international affairs. But Washington is more experienced than Trump.
They had consistently warned Trump that the aspirations of the world he had sold the populace were false. He had consistently ignored such warnings.
Trump’s rhetoric in Warsaw may have been alarming for some in its right-wing, Western-centric approach, but it did at least mark some sort of change.
He no longer believes that the U.S. can control China in the Far East, nor does he believe in easy collaboration with the Putin regime. To put it plainly, Washington is starting to win. The establishment is, albeit slowly, shaping Trump into a realistic president.
Whether this will last remains to be seen. Will Trump continue this way, or will the rogue influences of his administration remind him why he is there?
It may well come down to a split within the government. Will certain members of the administration, namely chief strategist Steve Bannon, continue to drive Trump away from the Washington mould? Alternatively, can First Daughter Ivanka and Jared Kushner keep the President on the straight-and-narrow?
Certainly it seems that Trump’s ear is open to his daughter more than it is to Bannon. She even stood-in for him during a summit dinner at the Hamburg G20 on Sunday. Her influence in the White House seems to be growing continually.
Regardless of which way the presidency goes from here, Trump will upset at least one group.
If he is swayed by the rogues, he will continue to upset international co-operation and multilateral institutions. Controversial decisions like that of the Paris Climate Change will repeat, and Trump’s conviction in unilateralism will be as solid as ever.
But if the establishment continue to develop their influence, he will let down the people who backed him for president in the first place. Those who wanted a change in the domestic and foreign arenas. Those who saw no good in continuing with career politicians or family dynasties.
Let us not get ahead of ourselves, much of the rogue elements of Trump’s world remain. His embarrassing escapades on Twitter, for example, or his rigid belief that multilateralism doesn’t work.
Trump the enigma is not going away anytime soon.
We do have him, however, for at least four years. Will Trump the rambunctious outsider be as attractive to forgotten America in 2020? What can be certain is that the image of the anti-establishment candidate will not work down the line.
Regardless of which way the Trump presidency goes, after four years he will inevitably become The Establishment.