The impeachment inquiry into U.S. President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine is primarily a story about a president who appears to have weaponized foreign policy in a bid to bolster his own electoral chances. Yet it is also a story about what happens when America’s foreign policy decision-making system collapses.

For nearly three years, national security wonks have been trying to explain why the seeming minutiae of the policy process matters — how the way an administration organizes, or disorganizes, itself profoundly affects the quality, even the basic integrity, of America’s interactions with the world. With each new revelation, the Ukraine scandal is driving this point home.

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