Peter Beinart writes: Through his public statements and presidential appointments, Donald Trump is remaking Republican foreign policy in two fundamental ways. The first concerns Russia. Previous GOP leaders like Mitt Romney and John McCain described Moscow as an adversary. Trump describes it as a partner. The second concerns Islam. Previous GOP leaders — most notably George W. Bush — insisted that the U.S. had no beef with Islam, or with the vast majority of Muslims worldwide. Trump and his top advisors disagree. They often describe Islam itself as a hostile force, and view ordinary Muslims as guilty of jihadist sympathies until proven innocent.
On the surface, these two shifts seem unrelated. But they’re deeply intertwined. Before Trump, Republican leaders generally described the United States as fighting an ideological struggle against the enemies of freedom. Now, Trump and his advisors describe America as fighting a civilizational struggle against the enemies of the West. Seen through that very different lens, Muslims look more nefarious and Vladimir Putin looks more benign. [Continue reading…]