Number of policies: 1.5
Radical Islam: War Is Coming
In his inaugural address, Trump promised to eradicate “radical Islamic terrorism” from the planet. That phrase delighted his supporters, including a new national security aide, Sebastian Gorka, who called the use of the phrase “putting the marker down for the whole national security establishment.” But the replacement of Michael Flynn (who famously once tweeted that fear of Muslims is “RATIONAL”) with H.R. McMaster as national-security adviser puts a big question mark over the Trump team’s approach to Islam. McMaster has not given an interview since his appointment, but anti-Islamic writers are already up in arms about him, since he does not share Gorka’s view of the religion. In his first staff meeting at the National Security Council, McMaster called the use of the term “radical Islamic terrorism” unhelpful, explaining that he viewed terrorists as “un-Islamic,” according to The New York Times.
Number of policies: 2.
Iraq’s Oil: Take It or Leave It
Throughout the campaign, Trump repeatedly threatened to seize Iraq’s oil. That line of thought culminated in a speech at CIA headquarters the day after the inauguration, when he lamented the missed opportunity to take it, musing “maybe we’ll have another chance.” That chance could have come as early as this week, when James Mattis, former Marine general and current secretary of defense, arrived in Baghdad. But Mattis chose not to take it, declaring: “We’re not in Iraq to seize anybody’s oil.” At least until Trump tweets say otherwise.
Number of policies: 2
Israel-Palestine: Will Two Become One?
The so-called two-state solution is Schrodinger’s peace plan: both dead and alive at the same time. Standing next to the Israeli prime minister last week, Trump casually shrugged off decades of official U.S. policy. “I’m looking at two states and one state,” he said. “I like the one that both parties like.” That message did not go over well, judging by the response from the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, who was quickly dispatched with a new line. “The two-state solution is what we support,” Haley told reporters. “Anybody that wants to say the United States does not support the two-state solution—that would be an error.” Since then, Trump opted to re-emphasize his ambiguous position, saying he likes the solution, but “so far it hasn’t worked.”
Number of policies: As many as it takes to make the Israelis happy
Europe and NATO: Love Them or Leave Them
Trump has declared NATO “obsolete” and predicted that “more countries will leave” the European Union. Vice President Mike Pence attempted to soften the blow this week, carrying the message on a trip to Europe that Washington is “steadfast and enduring” when it comes to the EU and “unwavering in our commitment” to NATO. That effort was almost immediately undercut when Reuters reported that chief White House strategist Steve Bannon had told the German ambassador to the U.S. that the EU was a “flawed concept.” As of Thursday, Trump is “totally in favor of it.”