The somehow-not-so-surprising election of Donald Trump as the next United States President – 45th one– has shaken up the international community. During his non-typical presidential campaign, Trump announced some important changes in the US Foreign Policy to be executed if he was elected. As a result of this, most stock markets around the world suffered an average fall of more than 400 points when compared to the day before.
According to his previous speeches during the presidential campaign as the Republican candidate, Trump would radically change the US Foreign Policy in regards to the relationship of the US with the rest of the world, including Latin America. Therefore, many people outside –and even inside– the US are afraid of the upcoming deep transformations to their traditional way of life.
Among the different topics, these are some of the most controversial issues relating to Foreign Policy that will be faced by the countries involved:
- The nuclear deal with Iran
- The free trade agreements
- US national borders
- Dismissal of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
- A new attitude towards Russia
Now let’s have a closer look at them.
Firstly, the current President Obama has considered the lifting of sanctions against Iran, in exchange for guarantees that this country would not pursue nuclear weapons, as a “historic understanding” between the two nations. While in Donald Trump’s opinion, it was “the worst deal” he has ever seen negotiated. As a consequence, he has affirmed that dismantling this issue will be a “number one” priority for his upcoming government. In doing so, he might provoke a huge impact on the Middle East. Positioning Iran as a key player in the Syrian conflict and, additionally, making it become a rival to Saudi Arabia and Israel.
Secondly, Trump has shown the most radical attitude against the different free-trade agreements that the US has signed with other countries. He has even threatened to scrap a number of existing free trade agreements, including the North American Free Trade Agreement between the US, Canada, and Mexico. In this sense, he blames these agreements as the cause for job losses for many Americans. And not only that, but he also favors taxing US imports at imposing rates of 45% on merchandise shipped from China, and 35% on goods shipped from Mexico.
Thirdly, at the beginning of his presidential campaign and showing an anti-migratory attitude, he promised to build a wall along the borderline between the US and Mexico in order to prevent the illegal entering of Mexicans to the US. Apart from that, he also said he would give an executive order to deport more than 11 million undocumented migrants who are living illegally in the United States. However, since his rhetoric seems to be constantly changing, he has modified his public speeches towards this subject so that it is really hard to determine whether he will or won’t execute some of his most controversial Foreign Policy proposals.
Fourthly, Donald Trump has openly expressed his rejection of maintaining the US as a key member of NATO. In this regard, he has denigrated this organization by describing it as “obsolete”, and characterized by supposed allied members who merely benefit from the United States’ generosity. Moreover, he has affirmed that the US can no longer afford to protect European and Asian countries without a worthy compensation. In that sense, it would be a dramatic change in its international military role since NATO has been a cornerstone of the American foreign policy for more than 60 years.
Lastly, Trump has said he believes he can ease tensions with Russian President, Vladimir Putin. Amazingly, he has praised Putin as a strong leader with whom he would love to have a good relationship. However, Russia-US ties have been strained, with the 2 countries backing rival sides in Syria’s civil war. Strangely, Donald Trump has said very little about what better relations might actually look like, beyond a common desire for a joint fight against the militants of the so-called Islamic State (ISIS).
Given the above points, it seems that the overall situation regarding US Foreign Policy does not seem clear. No doubt this has been the most unconventional, unexpected, and controversial election of an American President ever. Regarding the upcoming radical changes, we hope –deep down in our hearts– that common sense prevails for the next occupant of the White House. That Trump never forgets his humble origin as the son of Fred Trump, a German descendant, and Mary Anne MacLeod, a Scottish migrant.