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Commentary

Cohen: Trump has underestimated the resolve of Americans and their institutions

SAIS foreign policy expert says we are at 'a clarifying moment in American history'

Eliot Cohen, a conservative foreign policy expert and vocal critic of President Donald Trump, calls Trump's whirlwind first week in office "a foretaste of things to come" in a commentary authored over the weekend for The Atlantic.

Cohen, a professor of strategic studies at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, describes the bubbling turmoil of domestic politics as "a clarifying moment in American history."

From The Atlantic:

Precisely because the problem is one of temperament and character, it will not get better. It will get worse, as power intoxicates Trump and those around him. It will probably end in calamity—substantial domestic protest and violence, a breakdown of international economic relationships, the collapse of major alliances, or perhaps one or more new wars (even with China) on top of the ones we already have. It will not be surprising in the slightest if his term ends not in four or in eight years, but sooner, with impeachment or removal under the 25th Amendment. The sooner Americans get used to these likelihoods, the better.

Cohen, a former aide to Condoleezza Rice under George W. Bush, helped organize and publish in August an open letter signed by 50 national security officials denouncing Trump as unfit for office. He doubled down in November in a_Washington Post_ op-ed in which he warned that "service in the early phase of the [Trump] administration would carry a high risk of compromising one's integrity and reputation" and urging young Republican civil servants to stay away.

Though he paints a grim picture of America under Trump, he concludes in his Atlantic commentary that "he will fail."

Cohen also manages to strike a hopeful note as he looks forward to a time of common renewal:

He will do much more damage before he departs the scene, to become a subject of horrified wonder in our grandchildren's history books. To repair the damage he will have done Americans must give particular care to how they educate their children, not only in love of country but in fair-mindedness; not only in democratic processes but democratic values. Americans, in their own communities, can find common ground with those whom they have been accustomed to think of as political opponents. They can attempt to renew a political culture damaged by their decayed systems of civic education, and by the cynicism of their popular culture.

Read more from The Atlantic
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