An Interview with the Honorable Derek Chollet
On October 2, 2018, the Honorable Derek Chollet spoke at a Fletcher School luncheon on the topic of “Foreign Policy in a Post-Trump Era.” This interview was conducted by Elissa Miller, Editor-in-Chief, and Courtney Hulse, Managing Director for External Relations of The Fletcher Forum of World Affairs.
FF: We wanted to start by asking you about your 2016 interview with The Forum, which was published in our 2017 Winter Edition. You talked about your preliminary expectations for the Trump Administration’s foreign policy. About two years later, what is your assessment now? What are your reflections two years later?
DC: In many ways what we’ve seen, which should not be a surprise, is a foreign policy still deeply divided internally between various impulses. We see a president who has followed through on what he talked about in the campaign—whether it was withdrawing from the Paris Agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or the Iran nuclear deal. But there has been very little follow up on what would replace each of these. So, we’ve seen a president that is determined to disrupt but has not placed much emphasis beyond disruption. But at the same time, you’ve seen an administration, which in their formal documents such as the National Security Strategy and the National Defense Strategy, that has tried to reorient American foreign policy around great power competition, particularly regarding threats from Russia and China. So there still seems to be fundamental disconnects within this administration.