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What Is Trump’s Foreign Policy

Afghanistan: Closer To Ending ‘endless War’

A review of Trump’s foreign policy records

In Afghanistan, Trump has actually moved closer to ending America’s longest military conflict by reaching a conditional peace deal with the Taliban and supporting separate peace talks between Afghanistan’s government and the militant Islamic group.

Few impartial observers believe Trump’s drawdown of U.S. troops in Afghanistan from 4,500 to 2,500 by January will benefit Afghanistan itself. In fact, it’s likely to boost the Taliban’s bloody insurgency and further destabilize the region. But it’s in keeping with Trump’s pledge to end “endless wars.” It’s also consistent with polls that show most Americans want a leader who focuses on needs at home, not overseas projects.

“Leaving Afghanistan is the most important foreign policy objective of the remaining days of the Trump administration, and it should be the Biden administrations first priority if Trump fails to remove all U.S. forces,” said Benjamin H. Friedman, policy director at Defense Priorities, a Washington, D.C.-based security think tank.

But more, not less, foreign intervention may be in the cards if the records of Biden’s advisers is anything to go on.

Biden’s pick as National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, is regarded as an exceptionally smart, dedicated and experienced multilateralist who shares the hawkish foreign policy instincts of his former boss at the State Department, Hillary Clinton.

Secretary of State:Biden to name Antony Blinken as America’s top diplomat

Venezuela And Latin America

Trump calls the Nicolas Maduro regime in Venezuela a dictatorship and recognizes opposition leader Juan Guaido as the countrys head. He decries corrupt communist and socialist regimes in the region, especially Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela.

  • The Trump administration recognized Guaido as Venezuelas rightful president in January 2019, along with most South American and European countries. Washington backed a failed April 2019 uprising against the government, urging the countrys military to turn against Maduro. Trump has said he wont rule out U.S. military action to overthrow Maduro.
  • He has ratcheted up sanctions on Venezuela, including penalties on more than one hundred individuals as well as the countrys state oil company. In August 2019, a fresh tranche of sanctions targeted Venezuelan assets in the United States.
  • He reversed most of the Obama administrations efforts to liberalize U.S. relations with Cuba, which he said benefited the Raul Castro regime.

This project was made possible in part by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Us Election: How Donald Trump Has Changed Global Foreign Policy

US President Donald Trump’s handling of foreign policy during his first term in office has had repercussions around the world, forcing issues into the spotlight and shaping how diplomatic communication takes place.

From his early days on the 2016 campaign trail, Donald Trump made clear in just two words the aims his foreign policy would pursue: “America first.”

Now, after nearly four years of a Trump presidency, those words have been fleshed out with facts and events. Unilateralism and confrontation have marked Trump’s foreign policy, as have personnel turnover, surprise and confusion.

Regardless of the outcome of the US election on November 3, the changes under Trump in both policy substance and delivery have shaped the arena in which other global actors conduct diplomacy, as well as their own approaches.

Here are some major shifts:

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Are These Sincere Proposals Or Just Campaign Talk

It is difficult to extrapolate concrete plans from his pronouncements, particularly since they are not always consistent.

Some days, for example, he called NATO obsolete and implied that he would reduce American commitments to European security. On others, he did not go as far, saying only that European states should contribute more to NATO and focus more on terrorism.

Some statements seemed mainly about making a political point. For example, Mr. Trump said he opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal because it was designed for China to come in, as they always do, through the back door, though the deal excludes China.

The agenda seemed to change with his mood, and he has released relatively few policy papers, making many foreign policy analysts wonder whether he may be entering office without a plan.

You should not believe anyone who says they know what Trump will do even if that persons name is Donald Trump, Jeremy Shapiro, research director of the European Council on Foreign Relations, wrote in a postelection policy brief.

Threats To Leave Nato

U.S. Foreign Policy in the Age of Trump: Selected Readings

As a candidate in 2016, Trump regularly targeted the 30-country North Atlantic Treaty Organization , an alliance created in the wake of World War II as a bulwark against the Soviet Union, and later Russian expansionism in Europe.

While Trump, after taking office, said he would honour the alliance, he reportedly explored withdrawing in 2018, prompting action from Congress.

Trump has maintained a contentious relationship with German leader Angela Merkel, long considered a key US ally, surprising her and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg by withdrawing and reshuffling US troops from Germany in June 2020. Critics say the move has left NATO weakened against Russia.

Trumps abrupt November 2020 announcement of a troop drawdown in Iraq and Afghanistan, where NATO service members train local forces, also unsettled countries in the alliance, who had not been consulted in the plan.

Trump maintained that the US was overpaying in its direct contributions to the military alliance, while European powers were delinquent in paying their fair share a claim that has been debunked as a mischaracterisation.

Trump also took credit for a rise in defence spending from NATO members during his presidency, despite that increase being pledged in 2014.

Biden has vowed to restore and expand NATO.

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Cybersecurity And Digital Policy

Trump has feuded with a number of large U.S. technology companies, arguing that they are conspiring to defeat him in the 2020 election. Although he has often brushed aside concerns about Russian interference in U.S. elections, his administration has imposed sanctions and other measures against the Russian intelligence assets deemed responsible.

Relations With Military Leadership

Trump ruptured traditional U.S. norms of civil-military relations and strained presidential relations with military leadership. He initially expressed admiration and praise for his generals but began deriding them in both public and private in the later years of his presidency. In 2020, Reuters observed that Trump grew increasingly irritated when the advice of his generals “ran against his wishes,” and that he was “frustrated by the wars he inherited and uncomfortable with an apolitical military leadership he sometimes sees as disloyal.” In 2020, Trump publicly derided U.S. military commanders, accusing them of pushing for war to benefit military contractors.

The Atlantic reported in 2020 that while on a visit to France, Trump had disparaged U.S. military personnel, including fallen soldiers, in crude and demeaning language CNN and Fox News corroborated much of the reporting while Trump denied making the comments. The controversy only further strained his relations with the military late in his term.

On November 22, 2020, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Council stated via Twitter that the 6-month period is over and the US is no longer party to the Treaty.

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Iraq Syria And The Islamic State

IraqUnited States relationsAmerican-led intervention in Iraq Withdrawal of United States troops from Iraq Haider al-Abadi

On October 9, 2019, Turkeylaunched an offensive into northern Syria against the Kurdish-led Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria after Trump shifted his personal support from the Syrian Kurds to Turkey.

In November 2019, Trump approved a mission for U.S. troops to secure the oil fields in eastern Syria. Later that month, Trump said that the remaining American troops in Syria were there “only for the oil”, and that the U.S. was “keeping the oil”. Seizing oil without local government permission would be a war crime of pillage, but the U.S. military confirmed it was coordinating with Rojava and the Syrian Democratic Forces that controlled the area.

Responses to chemical weapons in Syria

According to investigative journalist Bob Woodward, Trump had ordered his defense secretary James Mattis to assassinate Syrian president Bashar al-Assad after the chemical attack in April 2017, but Mattis declined Trump denied doing so.

In response to the Douma chemical attack in Syria, in April 2018, Trump ordered missile strikes against the Assad regime targeting alleged chemical weapons compounds the U.S. led strikes were carried out along with the United Kingdom and France.

Responses to the Islamic State

During the campaign

What Is Donald Trumps Foreign Policy

Trump vs. Biden on foreign policy
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By Max Fisher

WASHINGTON President-elect Donald J. Trump will enter the White House having promised to radically alter United States foreign policy, with ramifications for Americans and the world.

But its not yet clear how. Mr. Trump offered vague and sometimes contradictory proposals during his campaign, with few of the typical details or white papers. Voters, foreign policy professionals and the countrys allies are all, to a real extent, left guessing.

Here, then, is a rundown of what we know about Mr. Trumps foreign policy ideas and what some experts say about their feasibility and likely ramifications.

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Nuclear Threats: No New Wars

Lukens, now a senior partner in London for Signum Global Advisors, a public policy consultancy, said Trump was also correct to point out that the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, including the U.S., did not nearly go far enough in addressing Tehran’s ballistic missile program or support for regional militias.

‘Treating us like garbage’:Many Iranian Americans feel fed up with Trump

“What I have an issue with is the execution,” he said, noting that there’s been no indication whatsoever that Trump’s unilateral decision to pull the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear agreement has accomplished what was intended: reigning in Iran.

On the contrary, a report issued by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, concluded this month that Irans uranium stockpile is now 12 times larger than permitted under the nuclear accord that Trump abandoned. It’s a dramatic increase that may partly account for why, according to a report in The New York Times, Trump recently asked his senior advisers whether he had options to take action military strikes against Irans main nuclear site in the coming weeks.

Reports:Trump explored military strike on Iran

The summits produced little beyond photo-ops.

‘Faded away into a dark nightmare’: North Korea says Trump’s diplomacy has failed

Back To The Jacksonian Tradition

In his classical book Special providence: American Foreign Policy and How It Changed the World, first published in 2001, Mead distinguishes four principal schools of thought that have shaped the American foreign policy debate from the 18th century to the 21st century, and identifies them with four Founding fathers or US presidents Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson and Woodrow Wilson. According to Meads typology, Hamiltonians regard a strong alliance between the national government and big business as the key both to domestic stability and to effective action abroad. Hence, the Hamiltonian school considers that US foreign policy should be driven by commercial realism and free-trade. Wilsonians believe that Americas mission of spreading democratic and social values throughout the world is a moral obligation and should therefore be at the core of US foreign policy. Opposing both the Hamiltonian and the Wilsonian policies of involving the US in costly economic or political alliances, Jeffersonians seek to replace commercial engagement and democracy promotion with nation-building at home. Their main purpose is thus to reduce the costs and risks of foreign policy and to advance US foreign policy interests in the safest and most economical ways.

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The Risks Of Trumps Jacksonian Foreign Policy Decision

However, there are at least two problems raised by Trumps America First grand strategy and todays resurgence of the Jacksonian tradition in US foreign policy.

The first one stems from the fact that Trumps foreign policy strategy represents, as Fareed Zakaria argues, the most radical departure from a bipartisan American foreign policy since 1945 and, as such, constitutes a challenge to the liberal order because it comes with a causal disrespect for the norms and values of liberal democracy itself. Some analysts question further the consequences of Trumps grand strategy by asking whether it will cause the collapse of the liberal world order and the end of the West as we know it.

Indeed, the Trump phenomenon has let the genie out of the bottle and the resurgence of Jacksonianism in US foreign policy now seems unstoppable. Only time will tell if the return of Jacksonian America will end up with the worst case scenario, i.e. the unraveling of US-led liberal international order and the rise of new revisionist great powers. A less dramatic scenario could be built on a more benign and constructive nationalism essentially, internationalism with a nationalist ascent. According to this scenario, the goal of US nationalist foreign policy would not be to abandon the liberal internationalist project, but to improve it by using US leverage to reform international institutions, all while taking seriously identity politics in both foreign and domestic policy.

Funding Readiness And Oversight

Transcript: Donald Trumps Foreign Policy Speech

As president, Trump frequently said that he inherited a “depleted” military from his predecessor, Barack Obama, despite evidence to the contrary in regards to funding, readiness, and infrastructure. Retired Army general David Petraeus and military analysts Michael E. O’Hanlon and Lawrence Korb also denied Trump’s claims of a U.S. military readiness crisis, regarding them as inaccurate.Under the four fiscal years of the Trump administration, U.S. military funding totaled about $2.5 trillion, about $100 billion in additional funds annually, but spending was lower than during Obama’s first term when using data adjusted for inflation.

Trump often boasted of the U.S. military’s weapons arsenal to the point of exaggeration, with weapons experts noting Trump’s comments in regards to the W76-2 thermonuclear warhead and F-35 fighter jet in particular as “extravagant” and “sometimes straying beyond reality…”

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Foreign Relations Of Donald Trump

A major theme of Trumps presidential campaign was his view that the United States had long been treated unfairly or taken advantage of by other countries, including by some traditional U.S. allies, and that under Obamas leadership the United States had ceased to be respected in world affairs. In numerous speeches, tweets, and interviews, he threatened to impose tariffs on countries that engaged in what he deemed unfair trade practices harshly criticized the World Trade Organization and promised to renegotiate NAFTA , which he called the worst trade deal the United States had ever signed. He also criticized NATO , dismissing the alliance as obsolete but also insisting that other NATO countries devote more of their budgets to defense spending. In January 2017 he withdrew the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a regional trade agreement between 12 Pacific Rim countries that had been a major foreign policy achievement of the Obama administration.

Troop Withdrawals Taliban Deal

In his final months in office, Trump has overseen continued withdrawal of US troops from foreign countries, most recently withdrawing an estimated 700 US troops the entire force in Somalia by a January 15 deadline.

As of that date, the number of US troops in Afghanistan had been further reduced to 2,500, down from about 13,000 when the US in February 2020 inked a deal with the Afghan Taliban that sought to end US involvement in the South Asian nation while encouraging the armed group to begin peace talks with the Afghan government.

Intra-Afghan negotiations remain underway in Doha, Qatar, but there have been no significant breakthroughs. Critics have said the deal favours the Taliban without adequately defining their commitments.

Trump also drew down US troops by about 500 to 2,500 in Iraq by January 15.

Trump had previously, and abruptly, withdrawn several hundred US troops from northern Syria in October 2019, earning a rebuke from within his party for leaving Kurdish allies vulnerable to an advancement by the Turkish military.

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Nafta Mexico Trade Dispute And Usmca

During the campaign, Trump condemned the North American Free Trade Agreement , saying that if elected president, “We will either renegotiate it, or we will break it.”

During his meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after becoming president, Trump stated that he viewed the Canadian situation different than Mexico, and only envisioned minor changes for Canada, with much larger ones for Mexico.

During the campaign, Trump vowed to impose tariffs in the range of 15 to 35 percent on companies that move their operations to Mexico. He specifically criticized the Ford Motor Co.,Carrier Corporation, and Mondelez International. The dispute was partially resolved by the USMCA, which requires Mexican auto manufacturers to pay their workers a minimum wage of $16/hr.

After taking office, White House press secretary Sean Spicer noted that Trump was considering imposing a 20% tariff on Mexican imports to the United States as one of several options that would pay for his proposed border wall. The Mexican government stated that if unilateral tariffs were imposed on Mexico, it would consider retaliating by imposing tariffs on goods Mexico imports from the United States.

In September 2018, the United States, Mexico, and Canada reached an agreement to replace NAFTA with the United StatesMexicoCanada Agreement . NAFTA remained in force until the ratification of the USMCA in July 2020.

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