Fareed Zakaria has it absolutely right. Donald Trump’s foreign policy address last week may have avoided vulgarity, refrained from bigotry and been read from a teleprompter, but was “an embarrassment, a meandering collection of slogans that were mostly pablum.”
Jacksonian pablum. Or the sort of isolationist victimhood spouted by Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the United States (1829 to 1837).
But Jackson, at least had an excuse. He was born in an English colony and was, at one point in the course of the revolutionary struggle, captured and knocked around by the British.
What’s Mr Trump’s excuse for isolationist suspicion of the world.
Mr Zakaria describes Jacksonian thinking as follows:
“In his book Special Providence, Walter Russell Meade explains that Andrew Jackson represents a distinctly populist style of American thinking that is different from the country other major ideological traditions. It is anti-immigrant and nativist, economically liberal and populist, in foreign policy largely isolationist but if and when engaged abroad militaristic and unilateral. In trade it is protectionist and on all matters deeply suspicious of international alliances and global conventions. Jacksonians are exasperated not so much by enemies but by our allies. They want to abandon the world or utterly dominate it. What is exaspirating, in fact, intolerable for them is engaging with the world, working with other countries to achieve incremental progress, manage conflicts and thus solve problems.”
Unfortunately, that’s what an American president has to do.