Incoming President Trump will have a foreign policy shaped by people who have been part of the US foreign policy establishment for decades. That might or not be a good thing, time will tell.
But there is a danger of having a cabinet that would look no different than if any of the other Republican candidates had won the election. And so we just turn the clock back 10 years?
Some of the individual names being floated (like Romney) are very fair minded and reasonable people; while I differ on some of the policy issues, he seems like a guy who could handle a 3 am phone call. If he and others are willing to look more critically at the overall context of US foreign policy, then he would be a good choice for the job.
Consider the hot-button issue of Iran, for example. It is easy for people to parrot the neo-cons, and to bloviate about how dangerous the regime is, and how it supports enemies of the US and Israel. Yes and No.
While Iran has a political system that integrates religion (I am very opposed to political religion), there are three things most establishment types forget:
First, the original motivation for Iranian anti-westernism is legitimate and understandable: US and UK intervention in the ouster of a democratically elected president, Mossadegh.
Second, additional motivation for Iranian anti-westernism is legitimate and understandable: US support for the Shah and his secret police, SAVAK, which tortured and killed thousands.
Third, ongoing motivation for Iranian anti-westernism is legitimate and understandable: US ignorance of the first two motivations and present military encirclement of Iran with NATO bases in neighboring countries.
These three concerns have to be recognized and validated. And then the US-Iranian relationship can move on.
Finally, it only makes sense to warn about “political Islam” if there is a similar attack on two other nefarious franchises: Fundamentalist Christianity and Orthodox Judaism, two strains of old testament infection that continue to plague the modern world.
Without historical context, and without the a universalist (for the West) reaffirmation of human values, then criticizing Iran becomes something for brainless puppets – and wooden puppets at that, because the nose will keep growing with all the lies.