Home Contact Us  

Military & Defence - Articles

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
#5096, 8 August 2016

Eagle Eye

Need the World Worry over Trump's Foreign Policy?
Chintamani Mahapatra
Rector and Professor, JNU, & Columnist, IPCS

Never before did the American foreign policy draw so much limelight during an election year in the US as it has now. Likewise, the global anxiety over the outcome of a presidential election in the US has become more palpable today than ever in the past. Similarly, rarely have allied and rival countries of the US expressed their disquiet and angst over the foreign policy statements of an American presidential nominee as it is being witnessed during the 2016 election campaign. Yet, another new history in the ongoing US presidential election campaign is the vigorous opposition to their nominee’s positions on foreign policy issues by senior officials of his own party.

All these because of unconventional foreign policy views by Republican nominee Donald Trump that have unsettled both allies and enemies of the US to varying degrees. Trump’s prickly tongue has invited bitter invectives against him as well. Incumbent US President Barack Obama declared Trump “unfit” to serve as the Commander-in Chief of the US army. Incumbent US Vice President Joe Biden  said, “threats are too great, and times are too uncertain” to elect Trump as the next US President, since he “has no clue about what makes America great”, even though he vows to make America “great again.” Former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta have accused Trump of making “disgraceful statements that betray” the “long standing values and national interests” of the US.

When Trump questioned the usefulness of the nuclear weapons by asking, “if we have them, why can’t we use them,” his “mental stability” came under suspicion. Libertarian Vice Presidential candidate Bill Weld said “He’s a showman…a pied piper…a music man” and more seriously “the noun that comes to my mind is a “screw loose.”

Significantly, the Republican Party’s senior officials and leaders too are miffed with Trump’s foreign policy statements. More particularly, a group of former cabinet officers, senior officials and career military officials, in an open letter in the Washington Post challenged Trump’s position on Europe, NATO and Russia, saying “We find Trump’s comments to be reckless, dangerous and extremely unwise” that go against “core, bipartisan principle found in every U.S. administration….” This is where both the Democrats as well as the Republicans seem to be united against Trump.

So are some American allies. For instance, French President Francois Hollande reportedly thinks that Donald Trump’s comments are “vomit-inducing.” America’s trade partners are apprehensive about Trump’s opposition to free trade. American allies are concerned about his position that unless they pay adequately for it, they should fend for themselves in defence and security matters. The US’ neighbours appear concerned about his ideas to build walls to prevent illegal movement of people.

There is little doubt that shallow remarks and use of obnoxious language have earned Trump several enemies within his country and abroad. But will Trump, if he wins the election, build a wall along the Mexican border? Will he disband NATO? Will he ask Japan and South Korea to make nuclear weapons to defend themselves? Will he endorse the spread of Russian influence? Will he flex muscles against China? Will he walk away from trade deals his predecessors have concluded? Will he wage a unilateral war against the Islamic State?

The answer is perhaps in the negative. It is important to separate rhetoric from reality to assess the US’ role under a possible Trump administration. In the heat of the campaign, all the candidates make promises, issue statements and indulge in strong criticisms, and once a nominee wins the election and assumes office, the whole world suddenly looks strikingly different. In this complex dynamics of domestic politics and intricate web of international relations, a single American president simply cannot do what he desires or dreams or promises. This will be more applicable to Trump than to his rival, Hillary Clinton, since the former is completely raw on foreign policy/national security issues and later is a proven diplomat.

However, Trump and his campaigns have already begun to change course. He has begun to find faults with the foreign policy weaknesses of the Obama Administration, build his own vision of a world order where the US would have restored its prestige, power and economic weight in the globe. He harps on making “America great again” in the backdrop of declining US influence in the world order; he wants to make common cause with Russia and give an option to China to productively cooperate or risk having its own separate path; manage the huge trade deficit and restore the manufacturing primacy to keep jobs at home; confront radical Islam and stabilise regional orders than export the Western version of democracy; concentrate on domestic developments and not on nation-building abroad. All these ideas are expected to win votes and not please allies or displease rivals abroad.

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
IPCS Columnists
Af-Pak Diary
D Suba Chandran
Resetting Kabul-Islamabad Relations: Three Key Issues
Can Pakistan Reset its Relations with Afghanistan?
The New Afghanistan: Four Major Challenges for President Ghani
Big Picture
Prof Varun Sahni
Understanding Democracy and Diversity in J&K
When Xi Met Modi: Juxtaposing China and India
Pakistan?s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: The Inevitability of Instability

Dateline Colombo

Asanga Abeyagoonasekera.
Sri Lanka: Moving Towards a Higher Collective Outcome
The Importance of Electing the Best to our Nation's Parliament
Sri Lanka: Toward a Diaspora Re-Engagement Plan
Dateline Islamabad
Salma Malik
Pakistan's Hurt Locker: What Next?
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
India-Pakistan Relations in 2015: Through a Looking Glass
Dhaka Discourse
Prof Delwar Hossain
IPCS Forecast: Bangladesh in 2015
18th SAARC Summit: A Perspective from Bangladesh
Bangladesh in Global Forums: Diplomacy vs. Domestic Politics
Eagle Eye
Prof Chintamani Mahapatra
India-US: Significance of the Second Modi-Obama Meet
Has President Obama Turned Lame Duck?
Modi-Obama Summit: Criticism for Criticism?s Sake?

East Asia Compass
Dr Sandip Mishra
India-Japan-US Trilateral: India?s Policy for the Indo-Pacific
China-South Korea Ties: Implications for the US Pivot to Asia
Many ?Pivots to Asia?: What Does It Mean For Regional Stability?
Himalayan Frontier
Pramod Jaiswal
Nepal?s New Constitution: Instrument towards Peace or Catalyst to Conflict?
IPCS Forecast: Nepal in 2015
Constitution-making: Will Nepal Miss its Second Deadline?

Prof Shankari Sundararaman
IPCS Forecast: Southeast Asia in 2015
Indonesia's Pacific Identity: What Jakarta Must Do in West Papua
Modi in Myanmar: From ?Look East? to ?Act East?
Sushant Sareen
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
Islamic State: Prospects in Pakistan
Pakistan: The Futility of Internationalising Kashmir

Looking East
Wasbir Hussain
Myanmar in New Delhi's Naga Riddle
China: ?Peaceful? Display of Military Might
Naga Peace Accord: Need to Reserve Euphoria
Maritime Matters
Vijay Sakhuja
Indian Ocean: Modi on a Maritime Pilgrimage
Indian Ocean: Exploring Maritime Domain Awareness
IPCS Forecast: The Indian Ocean in 2015

Nuke Street
Amb Sheelkant Sharma
US-Russia and Global Nuclear Security: Under a Frosty Spell?
India's Nuclear Capable Cruise Missile: The Nirbhay Test
India-Australia Nuclear Agreement: Bespeaking of a New Age
Red Affairs
Bibhu Prasad
Countering Left Wing Extremism: Failures within Successes
Return of the Native: CPI-Maoist in Kerala
The Rising Civilian Costs of the State-Vs-Extremists Conflict

Regional Economy
Amita Batra
India and the APEC
IPCS Forecast: South Asian Regional Integration
South Asia: Rupee Regionalisation and Intra-regional Trade Enhancement
South Asian Dialectic
PR Chari
Resuming the Indo-Pak Dialogue: Evolving a New Focus
Defence Management in India: An Agenda for Parrikar
Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan: Implications for Asian Security

Spotlight West Asia
Amb Ranjit Gupta
Prime Minister Modi Finally Begins His Interaction with West Asia*
A Potential Indian Role in West Asia?
US-GCC Summit: More Hype than Substance
Strategic Space
Manpreet Sethi
India-Russia Nuclear Vision Statement: See that it Delivers
Global Nuclear Disarmament: The Humanitarian Consequences Route
Nasr: Dangers of Pakistan's Short Range Ballistic Missile

The Strategist
Vice Admiral Vijay Shankar
Jihadi Aggression and Nuclear Deterrence
The Blight of Ambiguity
Falun Gong: The Fear Within

OTHER REGULAR contributors
Gurmeet Kanwal
Harun ur Rashid
N Manoharan
Wasbir Hussain
Rana Banerji
N Manoharan

Ruhee Neog
Teshu Singh
Aparupa Bhattacherjee
Roomana Hukil
Aparupa Bhattacherjee

Related Articles
Chintamani Mahapatra,
"US: “Losing Respect” Abroad," 13 July 2016
Chintamani Mahapatra,
"Forecast 2016: Difficult Days Ahead for Washington," 15 January 2016

Browse by Publications

Issue Briefs 
Special Reports 
Research Papers 
Seminar Reports 
Conference Reports 

Browse by Region/Countries

East Asia 
South Asia 
Southeast Asia 
US & South Asia 

Browse by Issues

India & the world  
Naxalite Violence 
Suicide Terrorism 
Peace & Conflict Database 
Article by same Author
Testing the Trump-Modi Partnership

India-US: Convergences and Divergences

100 Days in Office: The Trump Administration

Forecast 2017: India-US Strategic Partnership

Paradigm Shift or Business As Usual: Trump’s China Policy

American Turbulence: Global Ramifications

Trump's Nuclear Policy: Global Implications

Critical Challenges to the Indo-US Strategic Partnership

India and the US: Inching Towards an Informal Alliance

US: “Losing Respect” Abroad

Implications of Modi’s US Visit

Forecast 2016: Difficult Days Ahead for Washington

India-US: Significance of the Second Modi-Obama Meet

Has President Obama Turned Lame Duck?

Modi-Obama Summit: Criticism for Criticism’s Sake?

Changing Global Balance of Power: Obama’s Response

Obama Administration: Re-engaging India

US in South Asia: Declining Influence

US Foreign Policy: Rehashing Old Stances

US’ Frantic Effort to Make the Rebalancing Strategy Work

US, Ukraine and the End of Unipolarity

US-China Cold Confrontation: New Paradigm of Asian Security

US in Asia: A 'Non-Alignment' Strategy?

Indo-US Strategic Partnership Post Khobragade: The Long Shadow

Pakistan’s Role in War against Terrorism: Costs and Benefits

Y! MyWeb
Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
Year 2018
 2017  2016  2015  2014  2013  2012  2011  2010
 2009  2008  2007  2006  2005  2004  2003  2002
 2001  2000  1999  1998  1997

The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) is the premier South Asian think tank which conducts independent research on and provides an in depth analysis of conventional and non-conventional issues related to national and South Asian security including nuclear issues, disarmament, non-proliferation, weapons of mass destruction, the war on terrorism, counter terrorism , strategies security sector reforms, and armed conflict and peace processes in the region.

For those in South Asia and elsewhere, the IPCS website provides a comprehensive analysis of the happenings within India with a special focus on Jammu and Kashmir and Naxalite Violence. Our research promotes greater understanding of India's foreign policy especially India-China relations, India's relations with SAARC countries and South East Asia.

Through close interaction with leading strategic thinkers, former members of the Indian Administrative Service, the Foreign Service and the three wings of the Armed Forces - the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force, - the academic community as well as the media, the IPCS has contributed considerably to the strategic discourse in India.

Subscribe to Newswire | Site Map
18, Link Road, Jungpura Extension, New Delhi 110014, INDIA.

Tel: 91-11-4100-1902    Email: officemail@ipcs.org

© Copyright 2018, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies.