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Why U.S. foreign policy needs a middle-class message

NATO headquarters, with circle of flagpoles and soldiers at attention
NATO's headquarters in Brussels. Photo: Dan Kitwood / Getty Images

The Trump administration announced yesterday new trade and investment restrictions on China, the latest shot in a possible trade war, fired in retaliation against theft of U.S. intellectual property. Together with steel and aluminum import tariffs, these measures represent a further isolationist turn for American policy, following years of attacks from President Trump on economic engagement, alliances, legal immigration and anything else that smacks of internationalism.

The problem: From NAFTA to NATO, Trump has disregarded bipartisan consensus on America’s role in the world. Yet no constituency has arisen to defend the internationalist foreign policy that his critics yearn for.