We know he’s not a neoconservative. Definitely not a feminist. And nothing like a liberal internationalist. Could Trump be a realist? Harvard scholar Stephen Walt saw signs last April, but now we have more to go go on.
The faculty director of the “Program for the Study of Realist Foreign Policy” says this:
[But] what Trump recognizes is that the liberal international order is sick. This illness, as the columnist Martin Wolf has argued, is a function of, at the global level, “the declining relevance of the west as a security community after the end of the cold war, together with its diminishing economic weight, especially in relation to China.”
via Randall Schweller, “Three Cheers for Trump’s Foreign Policy“, Foreign Affairs
Reading the headlines, trying to make sense of the tweets, and feeling our way through the fog–we might be forgiven for beign confused. Enter Shadi Hamid, a smart foreign pol analyst–who helpfully breaks down the implications of Trump’s ideas:
As with most doctrines, the policy doesn’t quite match the rhetoric. But Trump’s stamp on American foreign policy will continue to matter in its clear and ambitious attempt to put forward a set of guidelines for those who wish to carry the “America First” mantle into the future. In other words, Trump has managed to introduce a set of ideas that have their own inherent power, even if his administration does not always reflect these ideas in day-to-day foreign policy. This, along with profound shifts in domestic politics, could ensure that Trump is remembered as one of the more consequential presidents of the modern era.
“Deconstructing Trump’s foreign policy”, Brookings
So what else could we call this new strategic paradigm?
Round 2, here we go: Trump’s foreign policy may fit the defition of being a “belligerent isolationist” according to storied Middle East negotiator Dennis Ross. Citing the diplomatic historian Manfred Jonas and using Sen. William Borah (R–Idaho) as the poster child, our era has a name. Will it stick?
Mr. Trump is a 21st-century belligerent isolationist. He believes multinational institutions and agreements do nothing for America. Alliances are encumbrances: Either the allies don’t pay their fair share, or if they do, like the Baltic states in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, they might drag the U.S. into a war if Russia attacks them. For Mr. Trump, international commitments tie America down and are expensive to fulfill.
via WSJ | “What Trump Means by ‘Ameirca First'”, Opinion 8 January 2019