To a New Foreign Policy by Tom Donelson

Trump’s foreign policy may be a return to the realpolitik of the Nixon era and Trump’s foreign policy may have a coherent strategy based on a balance of power view of the world. Michael Barone noted, “Some will dismiss his appointments and tweets as expressing no more than the impulses of an ignorant and undisciplined temperament — no more premeditated than the lunges of a rattlesnake. Others may recall that similar things were said (by me, as well as many others) about his campaign strategy. But examination of the entrails of the election returns suggests that Trump was following a deliberate strategy based on shrewd insight when he risked antagonizing white college-educated voters in the process of appealing to non-college-educated whites.”[

Historian Niall Ferguson views Trump’s foreign policy as an extension of Henry Kissinger’s worldview. He observed, “A world run by regional great powers with strong men in command, all of whom understand that any lasting international order must be based on the balance of power.”

As Michael Barone notes, Trump took a congratulatory call for his election victory from Taiwan’s president. The first visitor to Trump Tower after the election was Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe; this sent a message that China will not be allowed to operate in the Western Pacific unchallenged and Trump will work with our allies. Trump also appointed Terry Branstad the governor of Iowa, as the ambassador to China. Branstad first met Xi Jinping in 1985. Barone views the appointment as a “bad cop, good cop” move. He observed, “Trump wants some changes in trade relations with China and limits on its probes in the South China Sea and will build up U.S. military forces. But there’s room for acceptance of China as a great power. Trump wants some changes in trade relations with China and limits on its probes in the South China Sea and will build up U.S. military forces.”[

Trump’s criticism of NATO, including that NATO member states should contribute more toward their own defenses, may have seen results. As Michael Barone noted, “Finance ministers, stung by Trump’s campaign criticisms, are ponying up more money to meet their NATO defense-spending commitments; German chancellor Angela Merkel is backing down from her disastrous decision to welcome 1 million refugees.”[3]

Brexit was the first break in the European Union’s dominance of the continent. While Obama threatened Britain with being sent to the “back of the queue” if they voted to leave the EU, Trump supported Brexit and the U.S-U.K. free trade agreement. Brexit could be the first step toward the formation of the Anglosphere. Trump, as part of his “America First” foreign policy, has little use for multinational organizations. The Anglosphere is an alliance that supports Trump’s view of America’s new role in the world.

In the Middle East, Trump ditch the Iranian deal and attempted to replace it with a Sunni-Israel alliance. Trump recent strategy to pull out of Syria has shaken the core of American policy in the Middle East. Recent Congress efforts to punish Saudi’s over the murder of Khashoggi may undermine the Sunni-Israel anti Iran alliance and Trump pull out may lead to a Turkey -Kurd war which Turks should triumph. Neither Trump nor his opponents on this have explain to many Americans satifaction what our policy in the Middle East is. Andrew McCarthy wrote, “And then there’s the Kurds. I know my friends are angry about the shame of abandoning them. As noted above, I am anguished about that, too. But why are we in this position? If the congressional crusaders who wanted in on this conflict had sought authorization, we could have had a public debate about whether we wanted to hop into the sack with a faction (a) the backbone of whose forces is the Marxist PKK, which is a designated terrorist organization under our law because it conducts mass-murder attacks in Turkey; and (b) with territorial aspirations that have them in long-running hostilities with Turkey, ostensibly our NATO ally. To be clear, I’d be more than willing to entertain the cases that (1) we should not be in an alliance with Islamist Turkey, (2) the PKK is not a threat to the U.S. and should not be on our terrorist list, and/or (3) even if we think the PKK is bad, we should align with the Kurds anyway because our vital interests demand it. But no one has even tried to make those cases…. it seems to me presumptuous of the people stridently denouncing Trump to expect the rest of us to assume they have carried the burden of establishing that we should be in Syria. It seems presumptuous of them to act as if Trump were undermining a cause for which we all agreed we should be fighting. At the time intervention in Syria was being considered, I argued that, without authorization, Obama shouldn’t intervene; later, I argued that Trump was wrong to bomb Syria without authorization (which putative candidate Trump had argued when Obama did it). Someone needs to explain to me why I should be outraged at Trump, but not outraged that we got into this mess without making sure the public, through Congress, was on board. ” The problem is that no one including Trump has yet to establish a new foreign policy to reflect both the world today and its present threat. It is time to do so





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