Every previous would-be hegemon — Spain under Philip II, France under Louis XIV and Napoleon, Germany under Kaiser Wilhelm and Adolf Hitler, the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin and his successors — inspired decisive opposition from other states. The United States, by contrast, has aroused less opposition than any previous great power, for the simple reason that most countries are not afraid of us. They know that we are not motivated by purely selfish considerations. While the United States has always sought to promote its national interests, it has interpreted those interests broadly enough to include the defense of freedom around the world.
Trump threatens that understanding with his “America First” policy. He thinks he is protecting U.S. interests, but, in reality, he is destroying the “secret sauce” that is responsible for America’s greatness. If the United States pursues a me-first policy, every other country will follow suit, and the law of the jungle will prevail. Such a development will endanger the hard-won achievements of more than 200 years of U.S. foreign policy rooted in the ideals of the Declaration of Independence.