“Prudence is the Trump buzzword for foreign policy.”

Ohio State professor Randall Schweller is a rarity in the international relations field: a Trump supporter.

Just before the election, a poll of academics found that less than 4 percent of international relations scholars believed that President Donald Trump’s views on foreign policy “closely reflect their own.” Yet Schweller, once voted one of the 25 most innovative scholars in the field, is a vocal exception — he endorsed Trump in a September 2016 interview with the New Yorker.

I was curious whether Trump’s first year in office — in which he repeatedly threatened to go to war with North Korea over Twitter, among other things — might have changed Schweller’s mind, so I called him. In our conversation, Schweller stood by his old assessment.

“I think he’s had a very good first year,” Schweller said of the new president.

His core argument was that Trump, unlike his predecessors, understands the limits of American power. For Schweller, Trump represents a retreat from the hubris of the Obama and Bush years — and dubiously successful wars of regime change in Iraq and Syria. He believes that Trump is a realist — someone who knows what matters for America and has done a decent job advancing that.

It’s a controversial argument, to say the least. Our conversation follows, lightly edited for length and clarity.

Zack Beauchamp

In September 2016, you said, “We’re at a point in our history where he, Trump, is the right guy for the job.” Do you stand by that after President Trump’s first year in office?

Randall Schweller

Yes. The American people are sick and tired of what was going on; they wanted a real shakeup. It’s like they wanted someone to roll a grenade down the table, and Trump was the grenade. He Read More Here