In November 2016, the electorate college of United States reported that Donald Trump won the US Presidential election after more than one year of an intense rivalry between Trump from the Republicans and Hillary Clinton from Democrats. The Republican also dominated and won both the congress and the senate.
In spite of the fact that election was a most intriguing race, few analysts anticipated that Trump would win, while most of the experts believed that Hillary Clinton would win because of her long political experience in US politics. The US foreign policy for the new Republican government proved to be more questionable during the first week of Trump’s presidency, and there will be, without a doubt, a significant change in the US foreign strategy towards the world in the foreseeable future.
The US is the main superpower of the world since the cold war and has forged many alliances in today’s world. Nonetheless, there were many policies that Trump declared in his campaign that could harm the United States relations with its key allies if Trump transforms his ideas into reality.
The main allies that the US has today are the EU, Japan, South Korea, and Israel, Arab League, and many other nations. On the other hand, there are some regional powers and also other major military powers that the US has had some conflicts of interest in what’s going on in the world regarding politics, diplomacy, economics, and furthermore in
security such as Russia, China, and Iran. In this article, I will examine the US foreign policy in tradition and compare with the predictions of Trump’s foreign policy towards the allies and also non-allied countries.
THE EUROPEAN UNION.
The European Union and the United States are the biggest economic powers in the world. They also dominate the international trade among the world and also the international politics of the globe. In addition, U.S. and EU are also the main international Aid donors of the world that is because of their economic growth. After the cold war in 1990, and when the new unipolar era came in the world politics, EU and the US were the
main economic growth leaders of the world. Although there is no fully integrated foreign policy in the EU member states, however, EU influence has been growing around the world. Nevertheless, while the EU has no common agreed position towards the Global politics. For example, its members were divided highly on EU’s foreign policy on Iraq war while some member states supported the war and others were against the war.
The European Union is a key ally to the United States in terms of security and Economics. Many of the European Union member states are also members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). In terms of Economics, the EU and the US represents 60% of the Global GDP, 33% of the world trade in goods and 42% of the world trade in terms of service. The global financial crisis in 2008 both affected the economy of the EU and the US, while the US was the purveyor of the economic crisis. However, in the last decade, there were some problems in the EU member states that may have an impact on the relations between the US and the EU.
These problems may include the Euro-zone crisis in 2011, the refugee crisis in 2015 and also Brexit (UK departing the EU) which is ‘the most important issue’ now in the EU politics. These problems inside the EU may affect the future relations between the US and EU while the EU is more important for the US in terms of security.
In reality, the European Union doesn’t like the slide victory of Trump in the US elections, but they have to work with him in these days while they are the main allies of US in terms of security of Europe and there are many challenges that both the EU and US are facing together. This year 2017 would be a big year for Europe. Three big Eurozone countries Italy, France, and Germany are facing elections which are more important
for the European Union countries. Also, Britain is triggering article 50 so as to revoke the union, so the EU and the US relations will grow up in Trump tenure for the prospect of both the EU and the US.
After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the bilateral relations between the United States and the Soviet Union successor (Russia) warm under Russian President Boris Yeltsin. Nonetheless, thatNwarm relation has deteriorated significantly under Vladimir Putin. Under President Obama’s administration and also in the previous
administrations, there were some treaties about the security and Nuclear arsenals between the United States and Russia such as the New START which was an important agreement between both the US and Russia that was ratified in Obama’s administration.
From 2014, there were many contrasts between the United States and Russia in Ukraine and after 2015 when Russia announced a military campaign in Syria, the contrasts between both US and Russia was increased. Russia has intervened Ukraine,and this has increased the differences between the two states. After the Russian intervention in Ukraine, Syria was another block that both super power countries have many contrasts: Russia is supporting Assad’s administration in order to control Syria, while the United States is supporting the opposition rebels so as to remove Assad and his cliques.
Ukraine and Syria are the main contrasts in these years between the
former rival superpowers.
President Trump has argued in his campaign the slogan that the Russian President Putin ‘doesn’t respect Obama and his administration’ and that was the reason that encourages Putin’s intervention in Crimea.
After the election, there were some arguments and clear indications that believe that the US presidential election was intervened by Russia for the benefit of Trump. However,both Russia and Trump dismissed that suggestion.
The New Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is a business leader who has good relations with Vladimir Putin. This relationship had established when Tillerson was the Chief Executive Officer of ExxonMobil, the world’s 6th largest company by revenue. John Hamre, the President and the CEO of the Center for Strategic and International Studies who Mr Tillerson is a member of the board of the Center argues that ‘’Mr Tillerson has more interactive time with Putin than probably any other American Politician, except Henry Kissinger, the former US national security advisor and secretary of state.’’.
Mr Tillerson opposes economic sanctions against Russia. Therefore, many political analysts’ contend that the Trump tenure will be ‘a prospect time for the relations between Russia and the United States’. However, it is predicted that there will be limits to the rapprochement.
One may argue that 2017 will be a year of opportunity to Russia- a more
divided Europe means that Russia would be able to crack the European
Union and the sanctions; this increases the consolidations of the Russia
in its border lines.
The Trump administration and Russia will cooperate as far as counter-terrorism is concerned; Donald Trump and his administration will work to reset the relations between the United States and Russia. This will be critical for Russia given the economic sanctions and the overall decline of its economy.
On the other hand, the United States and Russia will not agree about the annexation of Ukraine. However, the political clash between US and Russia in Ukraine and also in Syria won’t lead both of them to disagree and do not affect the normalisation of Trumps administration.
THE MIDDLE EAST
The Middle East lies at the juncture of Eurasia and Africa and the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean. It is the origin and profound spiritual centre of the three noteworthy religions; Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. All through its history, the Middle East has been the major centre of world affairs; it’s a sensitive area strategically,
economically, politically, culturally, religiously and also in terms of security. Historically, Middle East is the Descendant place where the world’s ancient civilisations originate from, for example,Mesopotamia, Egyptian civilisation, Persian civilisation, etc.
The Mongols, the Kingdom of Armenia, the Seljuks, the Safavids, the Ottoman Empire, and the British Empire also dominated the region politically. The term ‘Middle East’ has come into wider usage as a replacement for the term ‘Near East’ beginning in the early 20th century when the Ottoman Empire, which was allied with some central powers, was
defeated by the British Empire and their allies and then partitioned into number of separate nations that initially belongs to the British and French mandate.
After World War II, there are more than 17 countries in the Middle East with 350 Million population. The core element of the economy these days is energy, and more than 50% of the energy in the World is today in the Middle East. Politically, the Middle East is a
volatile region for more than 30 years, and it became a ground for the competition of the superpowers. The US foreign policy in the Middle East has its foundations as right on
time as the Barbary Wars in the first years of the US’s existences. However, this turned out to be more expansive after the World War II.
Amid the Cold War, the American foreign policy towards the Middle East was concentrating on the prevention of the Soviet Union’s influence by supporting anti-communist governments and backing Israel against Soviet-sponsored Arab nations such as Syria, Iraq, and Egypt.
Since when the US announced the War on Terror in 2001, US policy has included an emphasis on counter-terrorism. The US has now diplomatic relations with all countries in the Middle East aside from the Islamic Republic of Iran, whose 1979 revolution conveyed to control a staunchly anti-American administration.
The basics of Trump’s foreign policy towards the Middle East are to.
1. Work with the Arab allies and others in the Middle East like
Israel and Turkey in the fight against ISIL in Syria and also in Iraq.
2. Pursue aggressive joint and coalition military operations to crush
and destroy ISIL, international cooperation to cut off their funding,
expand intelligence sharing, and cyber warfare to disrupt and disable
their propaganda and recruiting
3. Defeat the ideology of radical Islamic terrorism just as the US
won in the Cold War.
On the other hand, Israel ‘a key ally of the US in the Middle East’ that depends on the support of the United States will work more with Trump’s administration and as many analysts postulate this time will be a good era for the relations between US and Israel. In his campaign,Trump announced that he will move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to
Jerusalem while this decision may be a threat to the Two State Solution policy that the US government was working for the last decades, but no one can predict now the Trump administration’s decision towards its embassy in Israel. If Trump moves the US embassy to Jerusalem, this will increase the Israeli settlements in the West Bank and will increase the political conflict in that Bank. The latest objection of the United States with regard to the appointment of a former Palestinian PrimeMinister to hold a senior diplomatic position in the United Nations indicates how Trump’s foreign policy towards Israel will shape in the near future.
One of the enormous achievements in the legacy of President Obama regarding diplomacy was that he agreed with Iran keeping in mind the end of the Iranian goal to have a Nuclear weapon through the P5+1 countries.President-elect Trump and most of the Republicans over and again criticized this Nuclear Deal, while Israel and Saudi Arabia who are the main allies of the United States in the Middle East was also against this nuclear atomic deal. It is important to analyse Why Israel and Saudi Arabia were against the Iran Nuclear deal?
Israel was against this Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action because Iran has repeatedly argued that it will eliminate Israel on the planet. SaudiArabia was more over against this agreement because Saudi Arabia and Iran who are both the pioneers of Sunni and Shia respectively were enemies for a long time- they also differ from various perspectives that relate to their religious beliefs.
The economic and military sanctions against Iran that the United States, United Nations, and other international organizations like the European Union has imposed to Iran 20 years ago was an Economic and Military advantage for Saudi Arabia because Saudi’s economy and military power had grown up significantly for the last two decades, therefore, many observers contend that this Nuclear deal between the P5+1 and Iran would not be a beneficial for
the Saudi’s national interest and this is why the Saudi Arabian
government was thwarting this deal.
Beside this nuclear deal between P5+1 countries and Iran, the United States and Iran have other contrasts in politics which some of them are going back to history. For instance, the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran have numerous differences in what’s going on Syria and the political future of Syria.
Iran bolsters the Assad
administration in order to control Syria while they are ensuring Assad with regard to their own national interest, while Assad religiously is an Alawi politician (A branch of Shia). However, while the United States is in the war keeping in mind the end goal to dispose Assad and his allies, on the other hand, there are some differences in the values of
democracy and liberty between the Western countries led by the United States and Iran.
While Trump repeatedly criticized this international nuclear deal and announced that this was a disaster and catastrophic for the United States, Israel and as a whole for the Middle East security. In addition, he also threatened to walk away from this agreement in his campaign. The question needs to be looked is: Does President Trump will rip up or renegotiate with this agreement or does he want to implement this more fearlessly? One of the thorniest foreign policy questions of Trump over the coming months is what to do about this deal. J.D Gordon, Trump Foreign Policy Adviser in his campaign argues that ‘’Trump will renegotiate this agreement, this renegotiation will focus on the enrichment of the Uranium while we know that any country that is able to enrich its Uranium can build a Nuclear weapon’’. With the appointment of Secretary of Defence James Mattis, Trump’s former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and also Mike Pompeo as his CIA
director who are the keys of the US National Security Team have one thing in common: To oppose Iran Nuclear Deal.
It is worth mentioning that there have been 6 United Nation Security Council resolutions against Iran. Trump wants to force the Iranian government to come back to the negotiating table. Coming back to these days, there will be no doubt that Trump’s administration will take some sanctions against Iran for their military exercise.
In order for the United States to renegotiate or to get rid of this Nuclear deal, the US has to get some advice from the European Union, Russia and China in with respect to reforming or reviewing this Nuclear deal because the United States was not the only partner of the agreement- there were other international partners such as (EU, Russia
and China). Therefore, the USA has to get some suggestions so as to getrid out of this agreement. Some political and security analysts argue this will not be a favourite for the European Union allies and some of the European countries will refuse to re-impose sanctions against Iran while they have already started trading with Iran such as France as. Already, US have its own unilateral sanctions against Iran, going back
decades while it is just extended by the congress.
Donald Trump believes that ‘China has outmanoeuvred the United States in
these years, particularly regard with trade’. In order to use pressure to China, before he comes to office, President-elect Trump phoned toTaiwanese President in December. This was not an easy task to do while it shows that he broke the US diplomatic tradition since in 1979, which President Carter signed a “One China Policy” in order to ‘recognize China as an independent state and derecognize Taiwanese government’. Even though there are a wide economic and trade relations between the US and Taiwan, however, many analysts argue that this congratulatory phone call means that Trump’s administration wants
‘to pressure Chinese government in order to renew the trade agreements’ between US and China, therefore it’s predicted that the diplomatic relations between China and the United States will be erratic.
Japan and South Korea
Japan and South Korea are the main allies of the United States in the pacific and East Asia in terms of security, political and trade. Japan and South Korea are considered to be one of the closest allies and partners of the United States after World War II. The United States has military bases in both Japan and South Korea and this increases the security of the region although Trump wants to ramp down the US military presence in the Asia-pacific region. On the other hand, Japan and South Korea both have commonalities with the US in terms of Democracy, liberty and Human Rights comparing to the other regional powers in the Pacific like China.
Despite the fact that Donald Trump announced in his campaign that Japan and South Korea have to invest the US and pay the money for the US protection in these two countries, the fact of the matter is that the United States needs allies in that region and has to engage with the regional powers. It is important to note that the first international
leader that met with Donald Trump was the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe who visited Washington after the election and congratulated him for his victory; the fact is that the US will increase their engagement towards these countries according to the regional strategy in South East Asia. The first international trip for James Mattis as a Pentagon chief in South Korea and Japan shows that the significant and importance of the US alliance with Japan and South Korea in the geopolitics of the region.
The US government’s policy about Africa mainly focuses on encouraging African countries for democracy, good governance, investing the health sector like addressing the challenges of HIV/AIDS and Ebola, counter-terrorism in Nigeria and Somalia, etc as mentioned in the Bureau of Africa in the state department mission. The US has military bases in Africa like Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti and other small temporary bases in some African states for just military facilities. There has been a lack of US trade influence in Africa and this became a good opportunity for the Chinese government to invest in the Africa economic infrastructure like roads, railways, energy, sea and airports etc. The American annual trade with Africa was about $85 billion compared to China which was more than $200 billion in 2013. While this was less than 2% of the American Foreign direct investment (FDI) in the globe, nonetheless USA’s focused more on humanitarian aid because the US provides more assistance to Africa comparing to China. The USA annual aid towards Africa is estimated to be around 8 million USA Dollars while
China’s aid is counted to be $2.5 billion.
Under the Obama’s administration, the Africans believed that it was a golden opportunity for them when Obama was elected as the first African-American president and they expected that he will be more assistive to Africa comparing to other previous US Presidents but the only change that Obama made for that 8 years in office was to create a summit for the African business and political leaders in order to investAfrica. The first summit between Africa and the US leaders under auspices of the leadership of Obama has taken place in Washington in August 2014 and it was an opportunity for the US businesses to invest Africa. Another achievement for Africa under Obama’s administration was that the US has created some forums for the African youth in order to train them for leadership in the future like YALI forum and also
Mandela Washington Fellowship
Regarding US-Africa relations, there are many studies that tend to depict that Republican administrations as a ‘’globalist’’ – more likely to look at Africa as part of a bigger picture than as it has own unique geopolitical space. Democrats, meanwhile, are perceived ‘’Africanists’’ who have close sympathies to African interest. But these distinctions are deceptive and proved elusive. Some Republican administrations, such as George W Bush, paid more attention to African issues such as the HIV/AIDS than compared to Bill Clinton’s democratic administration did. However, on this new Republican administration
‘Trump era’, many African analysts believe that ‘Trump will focus on the counter-terrorism’ which is important for Africa’ since there are number of terrorist groups that operate in some African countries like Somalia and Nigeria, but the other US interests in Africa depends on the picks of the African department in the US State Department. The
absence of US in the African trade is a good opportunity for China to invest Africa in order to make their influence.
Comparing the Obama’s administration foreign policy and the Trump’s foreign policy, Trump’s administration will concentrate on building up the US economy, increasing the Foreign direct investment in the US, attracting new investors and his foreign policy mostly will focus on the U.S economy; he would get a retrenchment policy that will not be sharper that the Obama’s retrenchment policies in his presidency. Obama’s presidency exercises extremely strait in the Middle East to avoid longer term challenges of the US policy in the Middle East. The foreign policy of Obama’s tenure looked like a policy that was based on the liberalism ideology, especially in China while he was focusing on
widening the trade relations and to avoid any type of political disagreement. In Russia, his government started with the reset programme in order to prepare for a ground that will be more beneficial for both the US and also Russia, although the interests and also the political influences of both US and Russia not allowed them to work and achieve the Obama’s agenda on this reset. But many analysts believe that Trump will be more aggressive when it comes to China in order to renegotiate in their trade deals. It is the contention of the piece that Trump will continue to maintain its close relations with its South East Asia pacific allies such as Japan and South Korea. It is also predicted that Trump’s new foreign policy doctrine will be highly critical to its trade relations with China. With respect to Trump’s new foreign policy doctrine on Africa, it is not clear which direction he will take on his policy on Africa, however, it is possible that he will have much better and improved relations with Africa than his predecessor.
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