On matters of war, Donald Trump has consistently spoken and acted in contradictory and unorthodox ways. He campaigned in 2016 with a mixed message of attacking the legacy of the Iraq war and U.S. military adventurism, while simultaneously pledging to commit war crimes and promote imperialism as a matter of policy. On part four of American Mythology, we take an in-depth look at Trump’s war and national security policies. He escalated drone strikes in Somalia and Afghanistan, authorized troop surges and massive bombings in Iraq, launched cruise missile strikes in Syria, and threatened to “totally destroy North Korea.” On the other hand, he signed a deal with the Taliban to withdraw U.S. forces, attempted to end the Korean War, and claims to have fired John Bolton to avoid being in “World War 6.” In assessing Trump’s war policies, we seek to navigate past the rhetoric from Trump and his critics and examine his place in the history of U.S. presidents. In many ways, Trump has represented a continuity of U.S. policy with largely tactical differences from his predecessors. Overall, Trump built on some of the worst excesses of the Bush/Cheney administration and took advantage of the weak guardrails left behind by the Obama administration.
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