Mainstream media reporting can give the impression that the Trump administration is fraught with chaos, leaving the affairs of state abroad unattended to or adrift.
Indeed, you’d think that nothing could possibly be getting done in American national security and foreign policy at the White House, the Pentagon, the State Department or United Nations.
Rather, it seems quite the opposite is the case.
I’d argue that the affairs of state overseas seem well in hand. Take a gander at some of the following “for instances” since Team Trump took office less than a year ago.
•Russia: It would be hard to argue that the White House has been “soft” on the Kremlin. The administration has upped painful economic sanctions on Moscow over Crimea and approved the sale of lethal weapons to Ukraine, which is fighting Russia-backed forces in the Donbas region.
President Trump also approved the sale of Javelin anti-tank missiles to the country of Georgia last year, which is in a frozen conflict with Russia over Tbilisi’s territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
•NATO: Also related to Moscow, the Trump administration re-committed to transatlantic NATO ties. This includes keeping U.S. troops forward-deployed to Eastern Europe and the Baltics on permanent and rotational bases.
Moreover, Montenegro joined NATO last year, expanding the alliance to 29 members — and we’re finally seeing more NATO countries (other than the U.S.) increase their defense spending — something high on the president’s wish list.
•North Korea: Trump pushed back hard on North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un over his ballistic missile and nuclear programs. The State Department also put Pyongyang back on the State Sponsors of Terrorism list, piling on punitive economic sanctions.
•United Nations: The U.S. has gotten more out of the United Nations on North Korea’s naughtiness than ever before, resulting in historic restrictions on trade with Pyongyang — and with the unprecedented support of Moscow and Beijing.
The U.S. also pulled out of the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) over its anti-Israel bias — not to mention getting the United Nations to cut $285 million from its operational budget.
•Iran: Thankfully, the new Trump team saw the Iran nuclear deal for what it is: a bad deal that only puts the ayatollah’s atomic ambitions on hold. New economic sanctions on Tehran’s missile program and the Revolutionary Guard Corps and standing up for human rights during recent protests were also good calls.
•Terrorism: Team Trump focused like a laser beam on international terrorism, leading to a huge drop in terror plots here. There were 14 plots in 2016 and only six last year; that’s much, much better.
The progress is directly related to the Pentagon’s actions to collapse the ISIS caliphate, but it also comes from targeting al-Qaeda in Yemen and al-Shabab in Somalia and chasing down terrorists elsewhere.
Trump’s team also deserves credit for staying the course in Afghanistan and cutting aid to Pakistan over long-standing terrorist safe havens there. It rolled back sanctions relief on communist Cuba, struck Syria for using chemical weapons on its people and recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, too.
And so on.
This piece originally appeared in the Boston Herald