Several times (eg here, here and here) this Blog has noted that Trump is no Libertarian, but since a few of his electoral promises were very compatible with reducing government, while not one of Hillary's was, he was infinitely preferable to her; for anything, divided by zero, is infinite. Those I liked were his intention to scrap the sanctions and make peace with Russia; to disengage America from foreign entanglements like the MidEast, his firm support of gun rights, his scorn about PC, his intention to dismantle the abominations of Obamacare and the death tax, and his hostility to the IRS.
I also liked his historic Inaugural Speech, forming as it did a declaration of war on the establishment and bureaucracy of D.C. Ever since he took office, however, the signs are that he is losing that war. At this writing the latest shocker is that he is extending the US military presence in Afghanistan, the direct opposite of any disengagement strategy. He is apparently bereft of a single powerful friend in the Capital, and his own party has miserably failed to support him. The odds are growing that he will have to resign in disgust and hand over to Mike Pence, a conventional Establishment Conservative. If he were to do so noisily, announcing that the FedGov is irreparable, that would have merit; it would be preferable to holding on to power for its own sake and ending up delivering the opposite of everything he promised.
How come, in particular, that his proposals to improve foreign policy seem to lie in ruins? - Jared Kushner may be the key.
Kushner was featured in Forbes last winter. The magazine reckons this richly talented young man managed the Trump campaign so skillfully as to bring about the victory. He is the son of Charles Kushner, a highly successful real-estate developer in the same market as Trump, and Jared followed with major successes of his own. When he and Ivanka Trump fell in love there was no problem getting her father's blessing on the marriage. In her words, they "bonded at once."
So Jared is family, and is quietly installed in the middle of the White House. Obviously he likes Trump and favors his policies, but his own family's political history may suggest he's also a pragmatist. Charles has been a major contributor to the Democrats, and was imprisoned for declining to pay taxes by Chris Christie, once considered as a running-mate by Donald. Jared's brother remains a Clinton Democrat. So Jared's commitment to Donald's program may be rather shallow. Hence, perhaps, the bewildering speed with which the President's most fervent supporters have been displaced from key positions.
Jared may be the source of this turmoil and has been called a "moderate" by the anti-Trump screechers in the MSM, but it would be painfully hard to displace him; Trump's love for his daughter is at stake. The irony is that without Kushner, Trump would not be President; yet with him, his program is blunted. Instead of being slightly libertarian here and there, he could easily end up like all the others.
Jared's influence may have been greatest, alas, in the field of foreign policy; for the Kushners are Jewish, and as Forbes pointed out, Jared is especially devout. Not to the point of wearing rabbinical garb and growing his hair in sidelocks and a beard, but he does adorn his office with the Pirkei Avot and silver mezuzahs on its doors, and he must have influenced Ivanka's decision to convert to Judaism before marrying him. All this may not make him a card-carrying Zionist, but it does suggest he has a very soft spot for the State of Israel.
There's the problem. If I understand it right, the MidEast alignments at present have Israel and Arabia and sometimes Turkey on one side, and Iran, Syria and Syria's backer Russia on the other. How can Trump pursue peace with Syria and Russia, when his son-in-law has a religious conviction that they are enemies? How can he not fulminate against Iran, when in truth the Iranians could become a more valuable friend to Americans than Saudi Arabia? Jared Kushner is far from being a Trump opponent, but currently Trump is surrounded by adversaries and his most faithful friend is steering him away from doing the most valuable thing he might have done: to let Israel, along with every other foreign country including Russia and Iran, manage its own affairs with neither help nor hindrance from the USA.
Now, a lot of the foregoing is speculation on my part; I have no bug in the White House to record the conversations between the Prez and his son-in-law. But perhaps you'll agree that it's likely. Even if not, for sure anyone in political power is faced inevitably with hard choices - dilemmas. Course A will lose him X, Course B will lose him Y. Which to choose?
In the coming zero government society also, such dilemmas will occur of course; it's a key part of life to make choices, some of them difficult ones. The difference will be that the outcomes will affect only the person making them, and perhaps a few close by. The absurdity by which the decisions of one or of a few people determine the destinies of hundreds of millions of people will vanish. It will be a relic of the government era.