After entering the final year of his four year period as a President, it is time to analyze President Trump’s policies, especially since the Elections 2020 are approaching. Assessing Trump’s take on foreign policy and how his administration has fared so far in implementing it seems fair enough at this point in time. To start with, the analysis can be divided into three parts, the Pre-Trump era (The Barack Obama times), Trump’s term, and future predictions.
Pre-Trump Times: Obama And His Policies
Before Trump had stepped into the Presidential office, Barack Obama had established flexible foreign policies that were directed towards helping other nations. Obama’s foreign policy included keeping borders open with neighboring nations such as Mexico. Obama also had softer immigration policies yet he did lead a NATO coalition in Libya. After Trump succeeded the office in 2016 elections, he vowed to change the course of the foreign policy taking a 360-degree turn.
Trump and his administration, though often come across less empathetic, made significant improvements in the economy by creating jobs. They also succeeded in achieving their foreign policy goals to a major extent.
Upon taking up the office, Trump has intended that he would put ‘America First’ and make decisions that would best serve the interest of the nation. These included sealing borders so that illegal immigrants could be stopped, paying off debts, and being upfront with both allies and enemies about America’s interest.
Trumps’ administration kept a friendly approach towards Israel and declared that the establishment of Israeli settlements in the West Bank was not really against international law. Before Trump’s declaration, America had always cited Israel’s settlements in the West bank as Illegitimate.
When it comes down to solving the ISIS crisis, Trump’s administration pulled out of northern Syria and allowed Turkey to launch a full-scale attack on the Kurdish controlled areas in northeast Syria. He was heavily criticized for this move by his opponents and allies both.
However, according to Trump, by going ahead with this decision, he moved America out of the conflict and let the concerned countries deal with their problems on the ground. Even though this move was seen as ‘betrayal to the Kurdish’ who had always sided with America before, Trump justified his moves by stating the cost of supporting this alliance. Eventually, the ISIS leader killed himself in Syria, and America peacefully moved out of the region.
Though Trump’s policies seem like a mixed bag and a little bit confusing at first, their far-reaching impact speaks volumes for them. Trump has been very critical of Iran and tensions have only spiked during his presidency. When it comes down to North Korea, Trump initially held a very aggressive stance which he later turned into a flexible and friendly one.
This helped him in spending time with the North Korean leader in a one-on-one meeting alongside South Korean one. However, when it comes down to North Korea, Trump’s policies are a mix. Trump is very fond of the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un but he did impose sanctions on North Korea since they were not rolling their nuclear program back.
Talking about China, it is no hidden secret that Trump keeps calling China out for its ambitious trade and has put tariffs on Chinese goods imported into the United States. Recently, when the COVID-19 broke out, Trump called it a Chinese virus and once again ignited the tensions between the two nations.
Analysis: The Good and the Bad
Many political experts criticize Trump for his inconsistent foreign policies and unpredictable ways of dealing with foreign problems. According to these experts, Trump’s administration does not seem to have a proper formula for advocating America’s interests on the international level.
They also believe that Trump’s irrational behavior has led to weakening America’s relationship with its allies. NATO is also not very fond of the way Trump has dealt with conflicts in the past. Some of the experts even state that Trump’s aggressive behavior toward Mexico could have threatened the North America Free Trade Agreement and caused damage to the United States Economy.
Not just that, Trump is also heavily criticized for backing out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement which was about facilitating trade among 12 Asian countries. Additionally, in his early days, Trump had taken some steps which were not at all friendly and humane for the targeted countries.
He had put a travel ban involving 6 Muslim countries and had also stopped their refugees from entering America. Moreover, Trump stopped the sanctuary cities from receiving federal grants and attempted to build a wall across the Mexico border. Lastly, he also refrained from affirming the Paris accord which did bring him under the light of criticism too.
Trump and his administration have a lot of critics who examine his foreign policy from an expert point of view. He is also criticized for having a mind of his own and making decisions based on his own whims rather than using a proper system or institution. The fact that Trump does make confusing and inconsistent decisions cannot be denied. However, Trump’s administration is praised for some of its good decisions too.
While on one hand, Trump is accredited with not accomplishing much, on the other and, people who favor Trump have another story to tell. According to them, not only did Trump manage to pull the economy out of the loss but he has also successfully maintained four years of zero confrontation on behalf of America.
This is something that very few presidents in American history have achieved. Most of his predecessors did end up in military confrontations and though Trump has had his share of tensions with China and Iran, he has successfully avoided a war.
Trump’s administration vowed to put America First in their first Presidential speech. He had criticized the Obama administration heavily for having put America in loss, debts, and pleasing the enemies while angering the allies. However, the truth is, under his own administration too, Trump has not really achieved much on foreign front apart from staying away from much-anticipated war with China.