Retired Army Colonel Andrew Bacevich said President Donald Trump lacks a “coherent” worldview, which could have an impact on the upcoming talks with North Korea and the ongoing conflicts with Syria and Russia.
Speaking on Greater Boston Thursday, Bacevich said Trump has been “flying solo” when it comes to crucial international issues and is not surrounded by the right people.
“It really seems to me that we’ve got a guy who — we’ve seen it time and again — he acts on impulse," said Bacevich, who also noted that a so-called Trump foreign policy doctrine is virtually non-existent. "He basically takes the advice of the last person he talked to and goes with that. So, I don’t see anything coherent.”
In the past few weeks, Trump has been criticized for first declaring an intention to pull troops out of Syria only to then order missile strike in response to the country’s alleged use of chemical weapons on its citizens. Over the weekend, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley announced additional sanctions against Russia, and just days later Trump changed his mind.
On North Korea, and whether Trump’s strategy of trading barbs and threats with its leader Kim Jong-un has worked, Bacevich said it’s “theoretically possible” that it may have helped bring them to the table.
“If the president brings peace to Korea, then by golly I’ll be the first one to stand up and say, ‘Award this man the Noble Peace Prize,’” he said, adding that “I don’t think it’s about to happen.”
Asked what advice he would offer the president, Bacevich, who serves as professor emeritus of International Relations and History at Boston University, suggested he hire a new class of advisors.
“He needs a better team than he has," Bacevich said. "A better team than people like John Bolton as national security advisor; better than Pompeo if he’s confirmed as Secretary [of State]; and he needs to learn to thoughtfully listen to his team — to preside over a serious debate over policy options rather than just getting up in the morning and shooting off his mouth in some tweet.”
For more on Col. Bacevich’s insights on Trump’s foreign policy, click on the video link above.