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Net Assessment

May 16, 2019

Donald Trump won the Republican nomination in 2016 and then beat Hillary Clinton in the general election, in part, by pledging to focus on America’s domestic problems, including raising worker wages, solving the problem of unemployment and underemployment, and repairing the nation’s failing infrastructure. But he was hardly alone in taking this stance. The last four U.S. presidents were elected on promises to fight fewer foreign wars. Recent surveys show why such appeals are successful: The American people want to do more nation-building at home — and less of it abroad. Chris, Bryan, and guest co-host Rachel Hoff unpack the latest survey of U.S. public attitudes on foreign policy. Does Americans’ desire for a different form of global engagement, one that is less dependent upon U.S. military power, reflect a failure on the part of America’s foreign policy elite to explain the continued value of U.S. primacy? Or should those elites do more listening and less lecturing? Related, in the grievances portion of the podcast, Bryan and Chris disagree over whether war weariness is a sign of a mature foreign policy debate or rather evidence of Americans’ collective adolescence. Rachel offers attaboys to Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Mike Gallagher, Bryan praises Larry Kudlow, and Chris gives kudos to Sen. Chris Murphy.