Saturday November 11, 2017
As US President Donald Trump marks the first anniversary of his election with a high-profile, 11-day tour of Asia, the spotlight remains largely fixed on Washington investigations into whether his presidential campaign "colluded" with Russia and whether these investigations could truncate Trump's tenure - much as Watergate truncated Richard Nixon's.
But as the Watergate scandal was closing in on then President Nixon, he did not let fulminating against his critics keep him from extending a foreign policy record that, in retrospect, even many of his detractors and political opponents acknowledge as a hallmark of his presidency. From the start of his second term in January 1973 until his resignation in August 1974, Nixon sustained his historic opening to China, concluded the US withdrawal from Vietnam, and successfully managed the riskiest US-Soviet nuclear standoff since the Cuban missile crisis.
Today, the key question is: Can President Trump salvage his presidency - or, at least, his legacy - by abandoning the stale, "get tough" sophistry currently shaping US foreign policy debates to positively seize the strategic initiative in critical parts of the world?