Many political journalists and commentators frequently label Donald Trump as an isolationist, something that is completely inaccurate. According to Alexander de Conde, even the first US administration did not follow the path of true isolationism and surely, it is impossible in modern times, during the global leadership of the USA. Trump isn’t isolationist but he actually has a different vision of foreign policy.
Trump was the first leader from Western countries’ high offices who crusaded against China’s rising power. China was the most commonly used word by Donald Trump during his presidential campaign. Stealing intellectual property, importing American factories were the major issues the Trump administration blamed on China. But the most important is that China is getting stronger and stronger on almost every continent, which made the current White House resident and his foreign policy team wary. If Trump leaves the executive branch, I expect concessions toward China by the Democrats.
Trump’s foreign policy team chose Eastern Europe as a reliable strategic and military ally – a very smart manoeuvre to handle Russian ambitions in NATO’s neighbourhood and also on three seas – the Black, Baltic, and Adriatic Seas. There is a plan to bolster Polish–United States military ties and United States defence and deterrence capabilities in Poland, which includes 1,000 additional deployed United States military personnel. It is noteworthy that Poland is one of few of the countries that does spend more than 2 per cent of its GDP on defence.
The Trump administration was also severely critical of the “NordStream 2” pipeline, which strengthens the energy dependence of European countries on Russia. In addition, that pipeline reduces the geopolitical value of Ukraine, which is still facing severe military and political pressure from the Russian regime. I hope the next administration will follow Secretary Pompeo’s successful efforts to delay the project.
In his congressional address, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu directly attacked Barack Obama’s foreign policy legacy, when he talked about possible negotiation of the Iran Nuclear Deal in March 2015. “That deal would not prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons – it would all but guarantee that Iran gets those weapons, lots of them.”
Netanyahu knew the dangers of Iran’s theocratic regime and he foresaw threats and danger from Israel’s principal adversary. As Iran’s sanctions were lifted, it increased the military budget by 40 per cent and has intensified regional destabilisation with illegal military organisations. That was why Trump withdrew from the Iran Nuclear Deal, to impact on Iran’s economy and military capabilities. A move praised by Israel and all the US allies in the region.
To broker peace in the Middle East, the Trump administration facilitated agreements between Israel and several Arab states such as UAE, Bahrain, Sudan. Those bilateral agreements have created a positive attitude and established a relatively optimistic environment as a result.
In a nutshell, Trump’s bilateral format, which includes direct agreements and communication between two parties or facilitating them, has resulted in the thawing of formerly frozen relations like North and South Korea, Kosovo, and Serbia, Israel and the Arab world, achievements that seemed impossible before President Trump.
Four years was enough to do a lot of good, but he could do so much more with another four. I anticipated an even more active foreign policy toward Russia in Donald Trump’s second term, which ,unfortunately, appears unlikely to ever come.