Dr. Fouad Izadi, a university lecturer and expert in US affairs in an interview with the website of the Strategic Council on Foreign Relations discussed the trend of US unilateralist policies under Trump. “It is not clear to what extent adoption of such policies would produce economic benefits for Washington,” he says.
Q. Donald Trump’s unilateralist policies towards the international community have been met with mixed reactions inside and outside the country. What is the purpose of Trump in pursuing this policy and where will this approach take America in the area of foreign policy?
Trump’s unilateralist approaches and policies will certainly isolate the United States because during the decades after World War II many international institutions were created by the United States and they managed to transform their economic power into political power. Furthermore, the US influence in different countries is also important; this influence was done sometimes in normal ways and sometimes through staging coups and occupying lands.
Nonetheless, during these years, the United States has always maintained a token of multilateralism and compliance with international laws, but Trump’s character is such that it does not maintain this appearance. In other words, he started with the slogan “America First” and announced that he would do what he thinks is best for the US interests.
His criticism of the previous governments, both Democrats and Republicans, is that they had harmed America’s economic interests by maintaining the image of multilateralism. In other words, he accuses these governments of having sacrificed America’s economic interests in favor of political interests. But Donald Trump, after coming to power announced that he would change this policy. For this reason, he is not interested in being part of international treaties and pacts which in his opinion do not serve Washington’s interests. Trump has entered a trade war with some US allies. In the political arena, Trump also does not want to keep multilateralism and this will lead to America’s isolation in the world.
Q: Will Trump policies serve the US economy?
It is unclear to what extent will these policies serve Washington’s economic interests in practice. He is doing these things by adhering to economic nationalism and believes these policies serve the US interests. But in practice, it’s not clear whether these policies really serve the US economy or not!
Q: In recent months, we have seen on a number of occasions European leaders criticizing Trump’s unilateralist policies. Even Federica Mogherini, the EU’s foreign policy chief, expressed concern over the fact that the “rule of the jungle” has replaced the rule of law. In view of these developments, what would be the future of US-EU relations under Trump? Also, what kind of policies are expected from these countries on matters such as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (also known as Iran Nuclear Deal?
One of the institutions that the Americans have consistently supported in appearance and sought good relations with them was the European Union; but today we see Trump voices support for the British exit from the EU, which would deal a blow on Europe’s integrity.
Perhaps there were some tendencies for Britain to quit the EU in the past, but former American presidents did not support the idea. This is while today the American president is taking a reverse course, that is he supports Brexit and at the same time advocate nationalist currents. Trump’s speech at the United Nations this year underlined the importance and value of nationalism. This upsets the states in the European Union who are interested in staying and keeping the union. People like Ms. Mogherini, who fall into this category, use negative literature against Trump’s policies.
Of course, it is true that the European Union has in practice lost its past performance, and European countries are in competition with each other. They have realized today that Trump’s America does not have much interest in the European unity and is looking for bilateral agreements with countries. Therefore, this realism has been created in the European capitals that they should move along and in line with Washington. Therefore, at present, some European countries are competing for better relations with the United States. It can be said that Trump has succeeded in directing a small number of the European countries in the direction he wanted.
Of course, the question of the European Union also concerns the JCPOA. To vest hope in Europe is not wise. European officials such as Mogherini will be in office for just one more year and they may speak out against Washington. But the reality is that, because European countries are competing for a better relationship with the United States, they would not hurt Washington over the Iran Nuclear Agreement. Consequently, the concessions Iran thinks EU would give to Tehran to keep it in the JCPOA will not be very significant, and even if they grant Iran some concessions it would be more symbolic!