In theory, the president is the most powerful individual in foreign policy. And that’s just it; the president is only an individual, a particularly powerful one, but only one among many. To get a better indication of the decisions being made on foreign policy, especially with long-term actions, look not just on one person, but also on Congress: hundreds of voting members from a wide variety of backgrounds.
Yes, but that one individual proved to be powerful enough to get himself elected president. He is now in a position to use the loyalty he commands from his voters to impose his will upon Congress. If a senator, particularly from his own party, balks at following his leadership he may very well find himself out of a job. There is more than enough evidence to point to collusion between Trump, or at least his campaign surrogates, and Russia. Yet, the Republican party is dragging its feet in pursuing an investigation. They have put party above country.
Military support to Poland, Romania and several other states was already happening during the Obama administration. Heavy investment has been put into these countries. Much intelligence has been shared, strategic planning has been made. Many current senators were around while the Obama administration was doing this, and supporting it, as they do now. Blocking Russia is a strategy that runs very deep into the American political psyche; across generations (as in the Cold War). Most very well know, whether consciously or subconsciously, that creating a buffer is something the U.S. needs to do to prevent a Russia-Western Europe entente that could pose an existential threat.
Regarding "current senators" - see above.
Blocking Russia runs deep in the American political system because Russia once was a Communist power, and that brand of communism threatened both capitalism and U.S. hegemony within the capitalist system. Kleptocrats have a long history of being tolerated in U.S. politics. Study the history of people bosses such as Frank Hague, James Curley, Ed Crump, and Huey Long. I think it was Huey Long that once quipped that he avoided military service because he had no reason to be upset with U.S. enemies at the time of his life that military serve might have been appropriate, or something to that effect. Look at opinion polls and you will see a startling apathy, particularly among Trump voters, when it comes to potential dangers from Russia.
There is a difference between an existential threat, and choosing a different set of leaders to follow.
All this doesn’t change just because the guy in the oval office may have personal friendly relations with Putin. Foreign policies don’t change because of personalities. The “struggle” between the security state and the so-called “Trumpians” is more a struggle that Trump has between resisting the wave and going with the flow
I could just as easily argue that it is you who is resisting the wave.
This current containment is much different than Kennan’s idea. This is a very different situation than in the Cold War. Communism is no longer the threat; very little emphasis is now put on political ideology than on raw national power.
Well, yes, that is pretty much central to what I am arguing.
And here’s the current situation on that raw national power: Russia, feeling threatened by the expansion of NATO, seeks to expand its power west into Eastern Europe as a buffer. The U.S., alarmed by the expanding power of Russia into Europe, seeks to block Russia to prevent a Eurasian hegemon from forming that could challenge the U.S.; Those Eastern European countries, caught in the middle, have had their own sovereignties (let alone their power) in jeopardy. That sovereignty is not guaranteed with Russia; they were swallowed up by the Soviets before. It is with the U.S., and the U.S. also seeks to boost them to create an effective buffer.
It’s as simple as that.
Eastern European countries are dead set on trying to keep their nations alive. They’ve been through centuries of being absorbed by others. The last two decades have given them a rare opportunity to be completely sovereign. They’re going to pursue that no matter what leaders they elect.
That is more an argument that such leaders will turn to Germany for leadership. They may also fall victim to old habits and see leaders arise in kleptocratic coalition with Russia, their electoral process having been more thoroughly sabotaged than our own.
Moreover, I would add that this struggle between the security state and Trump is one in which we potentially lose either way. Trump wins - more power to the kleptocrats. The security state wins - a further step away from civilian control of the military.
Sure, military leaders in the U.S. may very well be pursuing the strategy you suggest, ignore Trump as a pain in the arse and proceed as if he did not exist. Congress will be key. Will they do their job and allow investigations of Trump-Russia collusion proceed?
Or will they stand by and allow Trump to stop the investigation and then allow him to take further steps toward colluding with Russia?
Yes, I would like to see Trump rendered powerless. Still, I do not relish the idea of the security state tightening its grip on the U.S.