Donald Trump has outlived the “axis of adults” who was supposed to guide and shape his foreign policy. He’s run through two national security advisers, innumerable lawyers and lower-level aides, an attorney general, an array of Cabinet secretaries and, any day now, the second of two White House chiefs of staff. He’s dumped the ideologist who helped elect him and never really clarified what his “America First” campaign slogan was all about anyways.
But since we launched The Global Politico days after his inauguration, Trump has more than followed through on his election pledge to shake up the Washington establishment of both parties when it comes to America’s position in the world. Each week, we’ve watched as he’s reoriented – or tried to – U.S. policy toward everywhere from Iran to North Korea, Russia to our North American neighbors.
In 67 episodes over the last year and 85 days, I’ve been privileged to host NATO allies and Middle East leaders come to Washington in search of answers about the puzzling new president; members of Congress, both conservative and liberal, who spend their days trying to unlock that puzzle; and an array of brilliant thinkers and doers, elder statesmen and brash young activists, who are trying to make sense of this disrupted world we’re all living in. I thank all of them – and all of you – for listening, reading and commenting, and here’s one last Global Politico conversation from me, a final session of foreign-policy Trumpology before I sign off.
Susan B. Glasser: Well, hi. This is Susan Glasser, and welcome to The Global POLITICO. This week something a little different. Sadly this is my farewell episode of The Global Politico, while I depart for The New Yorker. It’s episode number 68 of the podcast, since we launched in February of 2017, and we’ve had an incredible run of guests helping us make sense of this disrupted world we’re living in — from three former U.S. Secretaries of State to prime ministers; we’ve had artists and dissidents, senators and statesmen, everyone from Condi Rice to Ai Weiwei, Tony Blair to the architect of the Iran deal. We’ve heard about secret talks with the North Koreans and what it’s like to watch democracy die in Venezuela. And of course we’ve talked Russia, Russia, Russia. But the theme of The Global Politico is the extraordinary and unlikely American presidency of Donald Trump — and how it is disrupting Washington’s relations with the rest of the world. And it is to that theme I wanted to return in my final episode.
My guest is my colleague and partner in crime in The Global POLITICOfrom the very beginning, Blake Hounshell, the editor of POLITICO Magazine. He helped me start POLITICO Magazine; he’s now doing an amazing job running it. We go all the way back to our days together atForeign Policy magazine, and to the extent that you’ve liked anything about The Global POLITICO, I would say it’s been his handiwork; to the extent that you didn’t like it, that’s all my fault.
No, seriously, Blake, I’m delighted that you’ll be with me on what, sadly, will be my last Global POLITICO, at least—it will go on hiatus, as I understand it, as POLITICO thinks about it. Global POLITICO is a project we started together, basically with the very birth of the Trump administration on January 20, 2017, more or less we launched the podcast about a week later, with Jim Baker, former secretary of state and all around wise man, as our very first guest. He was kind of prescient in a way, wasn’t he, Blake, about the troubles that Trump would have, especially, I thought, he was keen to see the emerging dysfunction in the White House, as already kind of a major theme in the Trump era. And that’s certainly proved to be true.