US President Donald Trump gave a speech recently at West Point military academy in which he said the job of US soldiers was not to rebuild foreign nations. He said it was time to end the era of “endless wars” and put in its place a renewed, clear-eyed focus on defending America's vital interests.“It is not the duty of US troops to solve ancient conflicts in faraway lands that many people have never heard of. We are not the policeman of the world,” he said. The comments were in some ways similar to those made by US President Barack Obama in 2016 when he said that “the Middle East is going through a transformation that will play out for a generation, rooted in conflicts that date back millennia.” The US trend toward greater isolationism and a more narrowly tailored view of vital interests than in the past has major ramifications for the Middle East as well as US allies and partners. Trump has already indicated that he wants to withdraw from Afghanistan and Syria. A new US-Iraq strategic dialogue foresees some US forces potentially leaving Iraq as well. Washington is also reviewing the role of AFRICOM and forces in Africa, including those deployed to the Sinai as part of the multi-national forces.The US under the Trump administration has wanted to wrap up decades of American involvement globally that dates back to the era of George H.W. Bush (1989-1993). In the aftermath of the fall of the Soviet Union, the US became the world’s sole superpower. Bush sought to harness that, predicting a “new world order.” He said that the era of historic cooperation with other countries was on the horizon and that the world would emerge free from the threat of terror, “stronger in the pursuit of justice and more secure in the quest for peace.” The nations of the world could live in harmony, he claimed in 1990 to a joint session of Congress.Bush believed in a world of order and rules and used that to compile the coalition that ejected Saddam Hussein from Kuwait. He spoke passionately about a world under the “rule of law” that would supplant the “rule of the jungle.” In this world there would be a “shared responsibility for freedom and justice. A world where the strong respect the rights of the weak.” He said it was America’s role in the world to defend common vital interests and stand up against aggression, and to be determined to confront actual and potential despots around the world.That vision has now been entirely discarded. Bush’s policies of 1990 graduated to become the Clinton era’s focus on humanitarian intervention and George W. Bush’s “pre-emption.” Bush wanted to push democracy onto countries the US invaded. The Clinton era was more about checking ethnic cleansing. The entire edifice of this concept of confronting despots or a rules-based world order is now gone. This can be seen in how Russia was able to annex Crimea or how Turkey invaded Afrin, among other examples.As the US walks away from parts of the world, the vacuum is inevitably being filled by other countries, usually America's adversaries. Trump’s message at West Point is that those countries abroad willing to use force will see no pushback from the US. This has in fact been the general theme of the administration. Other countries need to take care of themselves. If European countries care about NATO or ISIS, they need to chip in more.The US has not ended all military aid and assistance; it is still, for example, providing funds to Ukraine or Lebanon. The overall trend though is to reduce the US footprint, even when the footprint isn’t very large, such as in Syria.This has ramifications for Israel because the US-Israel alliance is predicated not only on mutual interests and military links, but also on a network of alliances. When the US is strong and Israel is strong, they work together with other states. If Washington is seen to be reducing its role, Jerusalem will need other allies and even have to go it alone in some places.America's retreat may embolden enemies and adversaries over time to challenge Israel in new ways. The overall ramifications are not yet clear, but we can see elements of them as US allies in the Middle East have turned to China to buy drones; some have even turned to Russia. Iran continues its mission creep in Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and Iraq.While US national defense strategy officially seeks to confront China and Russia, the notion that America won’t help rebuild countries – and will dismiss as ancient hatreds the modern conflicts around the world – may not bode well for Israel.