Then again, Trump’s approach to Central America is an excellent illustration of the ways in which “America First” fails America.
If the administration is not going to have a realistic strategy for defeating gangs in the Northern Triangle — whether out of an ideological aversion for nation-building, stinginess with foreign aid, or mere indifference — it will need a realistic strategy for dealing with the inevitable fallout. If it doesn’t have that, as we still don’t, we’ll have exactly the kind of crisis at the border that Trump endlessly bemoans and which he is now doing so much to worsen.
In other words, if we’re not going to solve or at least try to mitigate problems over there, we will have to confront them over here. Previous presidents have made similar mistakes: Barack Obama’s ill-judged military exit from Iraq in 2011 created the conditions in which the Islamic State metastasized three years later (forcing our return). But it’s difficult to think of any president as eager as Trump to cut off his nose to spite his own face — not that there’s much face left to save at this point.