US Election: Global

How will US foreign policy be affected by a second Trump term?

The Trump 2020 campaign makes seemingly contradictory foreign policy statements. It promises that under a second term of a Trump presidency, Trump will “Stop endless wars and bring our troops back” while also insisting that he will “Maintain and expand America’s unrivalled military strength”. This may be because of Trump’s desire to appeal to both those who are against military intervention and those who want the US to maintain its military dominance on the international stage.

President Trump is also sticking to his stance on getting NATO allies to increase their defense contributions to the military alliance, or in his campaign’s words getting “allies to pay their fair share”. This is done to reduce US spending on the security of European allies against Russia and making European nations contribute way more on this front. 

A second term Trump administration will likely continue in its attempt to facilitate peace deals similar to the one ratified in September between Israel, UAE and Bahrain. The goal of such peace deals would be to provide Israel more regional partners in the Middle East. It would also aid Trump’s wider foreign policy goal of creating strong resistance to Iranian influence in the Middle East. This would follow the same Trump administration sentiment that led to the US assasination of powerful Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in January. 

US Africa Command assisted counter-terrorism operations in Libya conducted by the Government of National Accord against ISIL under the Trump adminstration. A desire to sustain efforts like that are evident in the campaign promise to “Wipe out global terrorists who threaten to harm Americans”, Trump’s move in withdrawing troops from Northern Syria in 2019, leaving the Kurds to be attacked by Turkey, despite the Kurdish SDF playing a major role in defeating ISIS, contradicts this though. Furthermore, Trump’s pledge to remove US troops from Afghanistan adds to confusion.

Trump’s desire for the US to continue challenging China is undeterred. Trump maintained his harsh rhetoric on China during the presidential debates, repeatedly calling Covid19 the “China Virus”. His administration also engaged in a trade war with China. It has also attempted to challenge Chinese influence by selling arms to Taiwan, as well as engaging in Maritime operations with it’s ASEAN partners in the South China Sea. This stance against China is unlikely to stop given the large amount of approval it has from the US public and military.  

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Alec Bertina

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September 2021
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