During the election campaign, Trump trounced the untouchable consensus on NATO’s post-Cold War purpose. Questioning the purpose of an alliance formed to fight a war that ended 25 years ago is indisputably a reasonable thing to do. But until Trump came around, no one did.
Since November 8, Trump has continued to reject accepted wisdom. For 37 years no US president would speak with the president of Taiwan. And then President-elect Trump took a call from Taiwan’s President-elect Tsai Ing-wen.
It’s not clear where Trump stands on either NATO or Taiwan. But it is eminently apparent that by ignoring protocol, Trump expanded his maneuver room in his dealings with NATO and China.
Then of course, there is Jerusalem. Since 1948 the US has refused to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital – or even as part of Israel. This policy of nonrecognition – embodied by the US refusal to transfer the US Embassy to Jerusalem – has been maintained by a bipartisan consensus despite the fact that for the past 20 years, US law has required the State Department to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the embassy to Jerusalem.
When Trump promised to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, his words were greeted with cynicism.
But then this week his senior adviser Kellyanne Conway said Trump is serious about moving the embassy to Jerusalem.
In one fell swoop, the 68-year-old consensus is gone.