Walter Russell Mead tries to put a positive spin on Trump’s terrible foreign policy decisions:

The Trump administration recognizes that, and its strong backing of Arab and Israeli priorities—President Sisi’s government in Egypt, Saudi Arabia’s military campaign in Yemen, the Jerusalem embassy—reflects the demands of coalition diplomacy. Expect more of this. Rewarding useful allies is a cornerstone of the Trumpian approach to foreign policy. The more active America’s Middle East allies, the smaller the risk of heavy American engagement in a Middle East ground war.

Mead credits Trump with pursuing a coherent strategy when there is scant evidence of anything like that. He describes U.S. clients in the region as “useful allies,” but none of them has proven to be useful at doing very much except causing more headaches for the U.S. and implicating us in their crimes. The activism of reckless clients has not kept the U.S. out of unnecessary wars, but instead keeps pulling us into them. Trump has nothing to show for all of his indulgence and reflexive support of these states, and meanwhile the U.S. is responsible for fueling one of the most destructive conflicts in the world.

Trump favors U.S. clients in the Middle East so strongly because the president buys into the idea that Obama supposedly neglected and ignored these governments and intends to do the opposite of whatever his predecessor did, and he is very susceptible to flattery from foreign leaders eager to win him over to their side. Indulging these clients hasn’t made them more effective or useful in advancing U.S. interests, and in the case of the Saudis increased U.S. support for the war on Yemen has compounded one of Obama’s greatest errors to the detriment of U.S. security and the welfare of the people of Yemen. The so-called “neo-American era” Mead describes is defined by a series of foolish decisions that are already squandering U.S. influence and power in vain pursuits.