Recent presidential campaigns have not focused on foreign policy. This year could be different. The volatility of the international system has increasingly become intertwined with the domestic issues that tend to dominate presidential elections.
The civil war within Islam has produced the worst international terrorist threat of the modern era: ISIS, or Daesh. This conflict, as well as instability in Africa, has already pushed millions of migrants into Europe, which has given rise to greater nationalism and threatens the European project. Increasing terrorist attacks in the West—including the United States—call into question current counterterrorism strategies.
At the same time, slow growth and economic dislocation is producing a backlash against globalization. And against the backdrop of economic stagnation, isolationist sentiments in America are hitting levels unseen since the immediate post-Vietnam era.
Most significant, a major presidential candidate is challenging fundamental assumptions about U.S. foreign policy. Consensus behind a new grand strategy did not quite cohere after the Cold War. But presidential candidates since 1992, while differing on their approaches to specific issues, generally agreed that the U.S.-led postwar architecture should be preserved—and that American leadership was necessary to respond selectively to global crises and to keep the peace among major powers.
Donald Trump is different. Trump’s pronouncements are more than an attack on Hillary Clinton’s worldview. Although stated in provocative and unorthodox ways, he takes issue with many of the tenets that have guided U.S. foreign policy across both Republican and Democratic administrations since the end of the Cold War. What we are witnessing is nothing less than the birth of a Trump Doctrine, one that calls for a break from the status quo on at least five main issues: U.S. goals, countering the terrorist group ISIS and Islamist extremism, democracy promotion, immigration and great-power relations.
U.S. Goals: Trump’s slogan—America First—harkens back to the isolationists of the pre-World War II era. Trump, however, is not an isolationist. Quite the contrary. He favors a large defense budget and wants to ensure that America remains the world’s sole military and economic superpower. Rather, “America First” is Trump’s way of attacking “globalism.” The term “globalism” encapsulates, for Trump, the myriad policies that he believes are expending American resources on behalf of goals incidental to core U.S. interests.
It is in the realm of international economics in particular that Trump is sounding the alarm of globalism. U.S. presidents since the end of World War II have taken the view that economic integration and free trade are win-win propositions that both further global security and benefit American interests, foreign and domestic. Trump’s America First view is more zero-sum and nationalistic. He believes that the United States naively practices free trade while other countries gain undue advantage through mercantilist practices. He believes many trade agreements have damaged America—negatively affecting U.S. workers and the middle class by facilitating movement of manufacturing jobs from the United States to other countries such as China and Mexico. He believes that these and related policies are producing slow economic growth, huge debt and undermining the underpinnings of U.S economic power.
Trump is intent on prioritizing U.S. economic interests. He, for example, will renegotiate NAFTA and abandon the current text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership in order to reassert U.S. sovereignty and protect and expand U.S. manufacturing and employment.
Countering ISIS and Islamic Extremism: Trump appears to see the threat of ISIS and Islamist extremism as urgent and the principal current threat to the United States. He believes that President Obama and candidate Clinton fail to recognize the nature of the problem—that ISIS and al-Qaida are Islamist terrorist groups—and accept that we have to live with the threat is unacceptable. He has said that a Trump administration will seek to defeat ISIS quickly and to eliminate its threat to the United States, rejecting the notion that we should learn to live with the threat. He wants U.S. alliances to focus on the threat of Islamist terrorism and also is willing to cooperate with Russia to defeat it. He is willing to use more U.S. forces and to adopt more aggressive tactics. He appears to favor using a lot of force against terrorist targets in the Middle East but then get out rather than maintain a significant role on the ground for years. He also wants to review U.S. immigration and visa policy as well domestic law enforcement policies to deal with this threat.
Immigration: Trump also departs from the establishment on both legal and illegal immigration. He wants to break the cycle of millions of illegals becoming legalized every few decades in deals that include commitments to control illegal immigration—commitments that always go unfulfilled. His often used imagery of a wall expresses the determination to break that cycle by whatever means are necessary.
On legal immigration, it appears that Trump would like to reduce the flow and perhaps change the criteria for who would be admitted. He argues that reducing and changing criteria for legal immigration would result in increased employment for Americans and legal residents, particularly in the lower end of the income spectrum. His concerns about ISIS using flows of refugees to infiltrate terrorists into the United States led him to call for suspending visas for all Muslims until a process was established for reliable vetting, which later he modified to temporarily suspending admission of visitors and immigrants from terror-afflicted countries.
We need to pull america out of this wretched United Nations let them handle their own problems they have brought on themselves
In other words, you selected a candidate who had no coherent doctrine, and are now trying to patch a semblance of one together, based on his incoherent ramblings. Don’t forget to send him a copy.
Yeah, sure. Got it. So, what does Russia get, and how does that compare with the old borders of the Soviet Union?
Whenever Lefties’ leaders tank our economy illegal immigration goes down, naturally.
Obama’s slo-mo ”recovery” was so bad that illegals even ”self-deported,” back home.
So, then, these Lefties claim their immigration policies of no enforcement at the border and disability insurance for not speaking English, etc., are ”working.”
Of course they are NOT working.
If Donald Trump is elected he intends to get rid of many business start-up red tape, he intends to make our trade deals favor our businesses instead of foreign lands, he intends to use these changes to encourage business here at home.
The consequence of this, if it happens, will be employment on the rise here.
Immigration, especially illegal immigration, would skyrocket without strict enforcement and a physical barrier.
So, it all has to go hand-in-hand.
If he only does one part and skips others, problems will occur as a natural reaction.
He not only has to have all these policies, he has to ”hit the ground running.”
Hillary promises to enact “change” and fix problems that she and Obama swear do not exist, having been addressed during the 8 years of the Wonderful, Progressive, Happy Obama Term.
Hillary promises she is NOT going to take our guns and she will protect the 2nd Amendment; a statement gun owners KNOW she is lying about and her supporters assume she is lying about. THAT is the Hillary Doctrine; promise everything they ever wanted to the far left, then suddenly become more centrist at the convention (as Obama did) to try and reel in gullible non-rabid liberals.
The criticism of Trump is that he does not lay out HOW he is going to meet his commitments; well, Obama didn’t and neither does Hillary. However, when Trump states that he is going to improve the economy, it is a far safer assumption that someone with a history in economics and business has a better chance of achieving that than someone that has never made an honest dollar in their life.
In foreign policy and fighting terror, how hard will it be to improve on the dismal Obama/Hillary record? In fact, Hillary laid out, as her program, the Bush doctrine, which the left hammered and undercut, particularly the cyber-warfare aspects. Is she lying or promising to do a 180? Who the hell can tell with Hillary? She lies for the fun of it.
What was the revised GDP for last month? .8% The economy is just rolling along! Wonder how the Zika virus came into the US? I suppose that illegal immigrants carrying the virus had nothing to do with it! There is still not means of vetting the Syrian refugees. Obama gave Iran a $1B and a treaty that allows them to self inspect their nuclear weapon program. The Brits pulled out of the EU and the Brit and US economy showed little or no loss. Hillary and Obama destabilized Libya, Egypt and Syria. So the Hillary Doctrine is to continue the Obama Doctrine which is what???
Talking of Trump generated lies. Has anyone looked at how Melania attained citizenship? Phony claim of being an architect after dropping out after one year in college?
Trump claimed Melania’s mom a fashion designer when actually a factory worker.
Trump’s got his share of lies. What’s in those tax returns Donald??
@Richard Wheeler: Pot….meet Kettle.
How dare you?
Obama has made it possible for people with NO right to ever become citizens to get their papers and their voting rights.
Hundreds of thousands of them.
When a US citizen marries a non-citizen the mate can usually become a citizen quickly and easily (there are the occasional horror stories, I know.)
Melania had a visa and traveled back to Slovenia often to keep it current.
She only got her citizenship after many years here on green cards…..as a model.
Far as I know she got her full citizenship 10 years ago…. in 2006.
If you want to come down heavy on people who lie to get citizenship look south to the border……and blame Obama.
How is that any of your business? Where is Obama’s tax returns? Where is his mates birth certificate? What sex was Moochelle born as? How many years was Obozo a member of the bath house gang in Chicago? Why does he use a SS no. issued to someone else? Where is his college transcript from Columbia or Harvard? Why is it okay with you for Dimocrats to be crooks, but you want higher standards for REpublicans?
Don’t you care about these important events?
It pays to do your own research.
There are factories and then there are factories.
Guess which kind of factory Melania’s mom worked at?
And what did she do there?
Don’t have any idea, do you?
It was a clothing manufacturing factory.
Her mom created PATTERNS for the clothing!
That, sort of, makes her a ”fashion designer,” huh?
And every year their fashions were paraded in front of the top party officials by the ladies and their children.
That’s probably where Melania got her first experience on the catwalk.
Every year NEW fashions.
Every year demand for new patterns to make those fashions.
Sounds top of the line for a commie clothing business.
Is Melania running for Pres? How and when did Obozo get his US citizenship? Who is his father? Who paid for his honorary law degree from Harvard? Why was his law license revoked when it was learned he did not have a real Law degree, only an honorary one? Why is it important for Republicans be legitimate and law abiding but you don’t have any standards for Dimocrats?
@Redteam: Obfuscate much RT? BHO,HRC,MITT,and MAC RELEASED THEIR RETURNS.. What is Trump hiding??
Nan pattern designer/fashion designer?? How did Melania get citizenship??