To understand where we are and where we are going, we must first understand where we have been.
Trump became president with a set of deeply rooted visceral instincts about the world—hostility to alliances, skepticism of free trade, and support for authoritarian strongmen—but little idea about how to convert these beliefs into policy. He had few advisers qualified for high office who believed what he believed. He was insecure.
And so he turned to a number of highly experienced businessmen and former military officers to fill key national-security and foreign-policy positions—John Kelly, James Mattis, H. R. McMaster, Gary Cohn, and Rex Tillerson.
These men saw their role as constraining the president, not empowering him. They measured their success by what they prevented from happening, rather than by what they made happen.
In the Trump epoch, this was the age of constraint.
The president did not always listen to the “axis of adults.” In fact, he took pleasure in defying them on occasion, but he usually returned to the fold under pressure.
The president grew weary of the adult supervision and he gradually realized that he was the president.
Source: Trump couldn’t ignore the contradictions of his foreign policy any longer