Trump’s inaugural address contained a lot of populist boilerplate and committed to achieving a lot of overly ambitious or impossible goals. One of the more unrealistic pledges he made concerned combating jihadists:
We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones – and unite the civilized world against Radical Islamic Terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth.
First, that isn’t going to happen. We have seen that the U.S. doesn’t know how to do this, and it is better at destabilizing countries and creating opportunities for jihadist groups to flourish. It’s not even clear why it should be the responsibility of the U.S. to take on such a mission if it were possible. Trump emphasized that “America first” would be the guiding principle of his administration, but at the same time he committed to some version of Flynn’s multi-generational global war that would condemn Americans to fighting foreign wars for decades to come. One can have a foreign policy that prioritizes American interests, or one can have a global mission to eradicate an ineradicable phenomenon, but in order to have the latter the former will have to be cast aside. The endless, global war implied by this statement has nothing to do with benefiting “American workers and American families,” and it dooms the U.S. to deeper entanglement in precisely those parts of the world that we don’t understand and where our involvement earns us nothing but hostility.
Read more at The American Conservative.