In late October, when it was still conventional wisdom that Hillary was "guaranteed" to win the presidency, the WaPo explained that among the neo-con, foreign policy "elites" of the Pentagon, a feeling of calm content had spread: after all, it was just a matter of time before the "pacifist" Obama was out, replaced by the more hawkish Hillary.
As the WaPo reported, "there is one corner of Washington where Donald Trump's scorched-earth presidential campaign is treated as a mere distraction and where bipartisanship reigns. In the rarefied world of the Washington foreign policy establishment, President Obama's departure from the White House — and the possible return of a more conventional and hawkish Hillary Clinton — is being met with quiet relief."
The Republicans and Democrats who make up the foreign policy elite are laying the groundwork for a more assertive American foreign policy via a flurry of reports shaped by officials who are likely to play senior roles in a potential Clinton White House.
Not only did the "foreign policy" elite get the Trump "scorched-earth distraction" dead wrong, it now has to scramble to find what leverage – if any – it has in defining Trump's foreign policy. Worse, America's warmongers are now waging war (if only metaphorically: we all know they can't wait for the real thing) against libertarians for direct access to Trump's front door, a contingency they had never planned for.
As The Hill reported earlier, "a battle is brewing between the GOP foreign policy establishment and outsiders over who will sit on President-elect Donald Trump's national security team. The fight pits hawks and neoconservatives who served in the former Bush administration's against those on the GOP foreign policy edges."
Taking a page out of Ron Paul's book, the libertarians, isolationists and realists see an opportunity to pull back America's commitments around the world, spend less money on foreign aid and "nation-building," curtail expensive military campaigns and troop deployments, and intervene militarily only to protect American interests. In short: these are people who believe that human life, and the avoidance of war, is more valuable than another record quarter for Raytheon, Lockheed or Boeing.
On the other hand, the so-called establishment camp, many of whom disavowed Trump during the campaign, is made up of the same people who effectively ran Hillary Clinton's tenure while she was Secretary of State, fully intent on creating zones of conflict, political instability and outright war in every imaginable place, from North Africa to Ukraine.