American foreign policy

What Happens to Foreign Policy After Donald Trump?


Donald Trump has made illogical moves that have changed the foreign policy of the USA for worse, and while some of the people are trying to prevent the damage at the moment, the long-term challenges might be problematic. Dan Byman wrote in Lawfare: “Repair is hard while destruction is easy.” This is something leaders should have in mind because the international policy is important for the economic growth and the national security of one country.

Byman says that “[n]one of Trump’s changes are irreversible,” but he may be wrong. Most of those changes have begun before Trump came into office and while America is burning down its bridges, the rest of the world is not waiting for the 2020 election to see who the next president would be. The US will most likely return to the policy and rhetoric of the mid-2010 when the new president is elected.

When Trump came into power, we could say that the world was biding its time until his presidency ended, but if that was ever the case, it is not the situation right now. In Saudi Arabia, we have the Sunni-Shia conflict which is becoming more prominent and which Washington is abetting. Meanwhile, France and Germany are coming up with the ideas on defense, whereas the Chinese offer to denominate African countries’ sovereign debt in yuan. And these are just three examples with more on every step.

However, many of these changes are not yet visible according to Dan Drezner. This will become prominent, and in the next two and a half years, other countries of the world will show how they deal with what is going on around them. All of this means that the next US president will face the situations unknown to the American policies. Changes will occur in four categories abroad, and one at home and they are listed below:

• The accelerated weakening of mid-20th-century international institutions.
• The misalignment between the economic needs of the US at home and the focus on the global economic policy.
• The disconnection between the international affairs institutions and the realities of the leading-countries competition.
• The change in how America meets and greets the world.
• The role of values in the American foreign policy.

The accelerated weakening of mid-20th-century international institutions

The organizations which are keeping the international peace have not been at their peak power for a long time. The US is failing to acknowledge that institutions, most of which have been created after the World War II and post-Cold War period are no longer valid.

It would be a challenge for the US to keep good relationships with the EU countries, which are preoccupied with Brexit, the emergence of nativist and illiberal governments in some of the key states and the strengthening of the right. Furthermore, Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan established an autocracy, and we are wondering what the purpose of NATO is. What does it mean to “restore” NATO or the G20? Also, the United Nations and Bretton Woods institutions are a mixed bag of function. Their role has been diminished almost completely in the recent years, and that is not likely to change. Fixing these institutions would require a lot of time and effort. Post-Trump-policy will have to do the assessment of each organization and see what is holding up and what not and make the necessary changes.

The misalignment between the economic needs of the US at home and the focus on the global economic policy

In the future and with the new president, things such as Trans-Pacific Partnership liberalization model will require a different strategy as well as different skills. Diplomats will spend more time building coalitions to enforce the rules which already exist and less time negotiating new deals.

The disconnection between the international affairs institutions and the realities of the leading-countries competition

We have reached the point where several countries have the power to influence the world politics, and the US is no longer a sole state with that privilege. However, the international affairs institutions are not able or willing to acknowledge such a reality, forcing Trump to make foolish decisions. Rebecca Lissner and Mira Rapp-Hooper ask: “Can an international order be economically and politically open if its leading states are not liberal?” It is a debatable question with more than one answer.

The change in how America meets and greets the world

Every recent secretary of state starting from Robert Gates to James Mattis has called for more funding for diplomacy and development assistance, and so did every administrator of USAID. Ever since 9/11, the US has increased defense spending with the aim to reduce voters’ security anxieties, and that has created a counter-effect. The US no longer has an ethical and political doctrine of when it is appropriate to use force, and the US leader now solves all problems with the military tools and by risking the American lives.

The role of values in the American foreign policy

The American values play a key role in the foreign policy of the United States, but the younger generations are skeptical of the role of their country in the world. They are questioning their country’s desire to intervene, and they claim that the US has no rights nor business to solve other people’s problem and dig into the sovereignty of other states.

And with the emergence of other world powers such as China and Russia, the role of the world policeman is becoming more and more challenging every day. From now own, the United States are not the only ones who are requested to solve the issues around the world and to be effective at that, they will have to work with the other governments who may be illiberal and authoritarian. It will require a lot of work, patience, and skill to achieve such goals, as well as humility and acceptance, which is not America’s forte.

With everything that is going on around the world, we can no longer provide the simple answer to the question: “What role does the US play in the world?” We can no longer answer this questions by saying that we are doing all of this because we want to defeat China or Russia. The war against communism is also long gone. Furthermore, the war on terror is just as questionable. Nobody is taking advantage of the United States, considering that it is the world’s leading power. One of the answers could be to “sustain the US communities, institutions and values in a globalized world,” but this also might not provide a sufficient answer to the skeptics.

The United States will have to face many challenges in the post-Trump era. It is unlikely that he is going to win at 2020 election considering all of the bad moves he has made during his presidency and with two years to go. However, there is hope. All of the mistakes that he has made, and that were made by the presidents before him, can and should be recovered. However, it will be much harder than most of the people think, especially now that the US is not the only country in the world that is shaping its destiny.


Trump is ruining America’s foreign policy


President Trump’s foreign policy so far seems to be benefiting America’s opponents and leaving its allies bewildered.

The conclusions of the “The Future of America’s Global Role” debate is unanimous. Current American foreign policy is erratic and is leaving plenty of space for Russia and China to exert its influence all over the globe. Lack of consistency has created an atmosphere in which American allies find it hard to trust Washington and is causing severe doubt in the intentions of President Trump’s actions. Moscow and Beijing are aware of this and are slowly increasing their role in regions that were until recently a sole purview of the United States.

The fourth panel on the role of the United States in the world, held at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, has attracted many experts on foreign policy, Loren DeJonge Schulman, deputy director of studies at the Center for a New American Security in Washington, among others. Schulman, who served as a Senior Advisor to National Security Advisor Susan Rice in President Obama’s administration, has stated that the U.S. diminishing role in international affairs doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing.

“I think the global perception has gone from the U.S. being a reliable partner, and someone that many countries would aspire to emulate in some ways, to someone who is an unreliable partner,” said Schulman. “That is not necessarily a bad thing … It is good, in some ways, for people to think that the United States is not going to solve every problem for us constantly.”

Anna Simmons, from Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, agrees with Schulman.

“This business of us going around the world foisting our conception of how other people live on them is only causing us more problems rather than helping us solve anything,” she said.

Trump’s administration has been forced to interfere in global affairs more than once, despite president’s America First platform in which he ran. North Korea, Syria, and Jerusalem are just a few of the issues President Trump encountered in his first year in office. Recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel seems to have caused the greatest damage to America’s reputation and possibly made peace in the Middle East unachievable goal.

As other nations obtain more power and start to exert their influence in international theater, it would appear that the American dominance is bound to deteriorate. This can make the current situation a sort of preparation for the time where United States is no longer a sole superpower, according to John Schuessler, an associate professor in the department of international affairs at Texas A&M.

“I don’t see as a choice where we have a question on who we’re going to hand off the reins to,” he said.


America Has to Change Its Foreign Policy and End Wars

As the cost in blood and gold continues to ramp up, American politicians seem oblivious to a simple fact: despite all the wars we have fought in since 9/11, our security and economic development have been suffering.

Currently, engagements in Syria, Afghanistan, and Yemen are proving the point without a doubt, but even to mention a peaceful resolution of these conflicts is considered a heresy in Washington. The military option has become a default solution to almost any problem. Yet, these wars are draining our resources and making us vulnerable to future conflicts.

Despite his campaign promises, President Trump ordered a significant number of troops to Syria, with an objective to help Syrian rebels capture ISIS capital Raqqa. But once that objective has been accomplished, the army stayed. The mission has become a purpose, instead of the other way around. Now, we have a military leadership struggling to find an objective for these troops, despite the clear indications that there isn’t one. So why are they still in Syria?

Yemen is another case in point. There was no threat to American interests there. The only objective is supporting Saudi Arabia as they continue to blunder through the war, killing thousands of civilians and causing a famine that endangers millions. All the efforts to extricate the US from this conflict have failed, despite the clear bipartisanship support.

The greatest failure of American foreign policy is Afghanistan. Despite all the effort, the security situation in the country is a nightmare. Just a few days ago a suicide attack killed 57 people. The recent Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction’s (SIGAR) reports clearly states that the mission has failed in every possible segment, whether it is economic development, political stability, or Kabul’s government corruption. The massive expenditure of lives (15 Americans were killed last year in Afghanistan) and money (some $45 billion per year) haven’t achieved a single proclaimed goal. But the mission continues, without clear parameters or any achievable objective. Any mention of troops returning home is met with a stiff and almost hysterical resistance.

So far, the United States has spent about $15 billion on Syrian campaign. Two Americans have lost their lives in the conflict. As things stand now, it seems almost certain that Syria will turn into another Afghanistan, only much more dangerous one because of various international players present on the ground, like Russia and Iran.

Reconsidering the use of military power has become a critical issue. Instead of exploring different avenues of approach, our first instinct is to bomb everybody and ask questions later. Not only it is detrimental to America’s international reputation, but the cost in soldiers’ lives and treasury is also slowly becoming unbearable. The money we spend on these pointless wars can be employed for many different things we as a nation sorely need, especially in the light of mounting budget deficit. The lives of our servicemen we so carelessly sacrifice will be needed in future. The time to change the way we conduct our foreign policy is long overdue.