The addition of uber-hawkish fresh faces to President Donald Trump’s national security team raised justifiable worries that the president was assembling a “war cabinet.”
But as the limited targets of the U.S. missile strikes against Syria on Friday show, a continuation of the essence of Trump’s foreign policy in the Middle East is far more likely: a worst-of-both-worlds mix of tactical, hawkish confrontation and an underlying strategic retrenchment.
Call it a passive-aggressive Middle East strategy — aggressive enough to turn up the heat on the region’s conflicts yet passive enough to ensure that the United States does not really invest in addressing them.
The above excerpt was originally published in Foreign Policy.
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