Sunday, 13 November 2016

PBS: What will foreign policy look like under President Trump?

PBS: What will foreign policy look like under President Trump?

by Larisa Epatko

"Some foreign politicians did celebrate his election: Russian media were joyful. Far right parties in Germany and France also received a fillip, feeling that the wave of populism sweeping the world may lift them to power next year as well. Although President Trump will soon find out that many of Putin’s policies are deeply hostile to the United States whoever is in power in the White House, President Trump may find kindred spirits in the president of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte and Colombia’s former President Alvaro Uribe. But not all populist leaders will simply bond with him and fall in line with his preferences simply on grounds of their shared hostility to a liberal international order and divisive and exclusionary domestic orientation.

This is heavy baggage that Trump brings to the Oval Office. The credibility of the United States as a country committed to pluralism, multiculturalism, inclusiveness, opportunities for all and human rights — in other words, U.S. soft power — has already suffered a serious blow. Recovering that reputation for enlightened leadership will be hard for President Trump, given the xenophobia of his rhetoric on the way to the White House.

In a bleak scenario, President Trump will attempt to implement the policies he proclaimed as a candidate Trump. Although he is unlikely to withdraw the United States from NATO, his divisive posturing could damage the alliance badly. Indeed, he appears to have little use for most multinational international organizations, including the United Nations, and their international dispute resolution processes.

If he persists in his proclaimed attempts to simply order others to adopt policies contrary to their interests, making them pay for walls and wars, and oscillates between withdrawal and erratic angry lashing out, he could damage many a bilateral relationship in Asia, the Middle East and Latin America. He could dangerously escalate reactions to North Korea’s belligerence and intensify tensions with China."

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