Will Trumpian foreign policy prove permanent?

I see several elements of Trumpian foreign policy, noting this list is far from exhaustive:

1. Little if any emphasis on human rights.

2. There is no particular tendency to prefer to deal with the democracies, if anything the contrary (it is easier to do “funny” opportunistic deals with the autocrats, plus democratic citizens, especially in Western Europe, may not want their leaders to do deals with Trump).

3. Problems can pop up all over the place, there is nothing special about Europe, and Europe is irrelevant to many of the most important geopolitical struggles.

4. Allies, if that word even can be used, pop up on an opportunistic basis and then are rapidly discarded if need be, with no expectations of feelings really being hurt either.  Period-by-period maximization is more common than credibility or investing in relationships.

5. The doctrine of “maximum pressure.”  Trump has been trying this with North Korea, and to a lesser extent with China, although with inconsistencies in both cases.  This consists of dropping a lot of the diplomatic pretense and simply declaring that the U.S. will do everything possible to bring about some outcome, and then making some moves in that direction.

6. Not worrying as much about the kind of diplomatic processes traditionally imposed by the State Department.  #2, #4, and #5 above often are more consistent with a kind of direct transactionalism than with the bureaucratization of foreign policy.

I now believe that, for better or worse, #1-6 are likely to survive in American foreign policy, with or without the reelection of Donald Trump.


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