Dr Zeinab Ghasemi, in an interview with the website of the Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, reminded that Donald Trump promised the American people at his inauguration in 2017 that he would bring the United States back to its great prosperity by pursuing a foreign policy based on US interests. This commitment stems from the view that believes the international “liberal order” created by the United States at the end of World War II is no longer at the disposal of the goals and interests of that country.
She added: The heavy obligations and expenses of the United States towards its allies have moderated and worn out the economy and power of the United States. Unfair trade agreements and globalization have severely damaged the US economy, and as a result, the Americans have struggled domestically with wage stagnation and the rising cost of living.
The most important legacy of the four-year Trump administration
The university professor stressed: The most important legacy of the four-year Trump administration seems to be the unpleasant acceptance for both the Democrats and the Republicans that the United States can no longer maintain its policy of global supremacy alongside domestic economic stability.
Saying that during Trump’s four-year presidency, the country’s foreign policy did not follow a coherent and specific strategy, Ghasemi noted: Appointing inexperienced family members to lead foreign policy, frequent and marginal dismissals and appointments of controversial personalities, a businesslike view of foreign policy and the repeated use of Twitter to announce sensitive foreign policy has caused confusion and unpredictability in the US foreign policy decisions.
Emphasizing that much of Trump’s presidency has been spent in disrupting many of the policies of other presidents of that country, especially those of the Obama administration, she added: Withdrawal from international institutions and treaties and the weakening of historic alliances, has brought the US international credibility and capacity under question for effective activity in the international arena.
Trump’s policy towards Beijing, increased Europe’s motivation to engage with China
The faculty member of the University of Tehran called Trump’s foreign policy towards China one of the most important issues of the Trump presidency and said: Withdrawal of the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership in early January 2017 created a power vacuum that Beijing tried to fill with its active role. The trade war with China also severely damaged the US economy.
She added that China’s decision to reduce tariffs with the EU to decrease pressure and, in return, Trump’s tariffs imposed on the EU goods, in fact, boosted the EU’s motivation for trade developing relationship with China.
Trump’s trade policy to increase China’s relative economic superiority
According to the international affairs analyst, exports to China have been steadily declining since 2017, and manufacturing jobs have not returned to the United States. China’s economy is expected to adapt to the initial shock, while the US companies are likely to be less competitive due to the rising costs, and in fact, Trump’s trade policy will increase China’s relative economic superiority.
Expansion of Russia’s multilateral presence in the region under Trump
Referring to the Trump administration’s foreign policy towards Russia, Ghasemi continued: Similarly, but to a lesser extent, Russia has expanded its multilateral presence in the region while deepening cooperation with China through the Eurasian Economic Union and the Collective Security Treaty Organization. Russia, meanwhile, mediated a peace deal between Armenia and shaped the events in Kyrgyzstan and Belarus during turbulent political developments.
Explaining other important cases of Trump’s foreign policy, the university professor referred to the developments in the Middle East and said: In the Middle East, Trump’s foreign policy was a combination of contradictory and confusing priorities. Although Trump has managed to normalize relations between Israel and some countries in the region to some extent, resolving the Iranian nuclear issue with the policy of “maximum pressure” has absolutely failed.
She added: Despite heavy sanctions, Iran is now increasing its production of enriched uranium and continuing its nuclear program with vigour, and Trump has not been able to bring Iran into a new round of negotiations and a new agreement, as he claimed.
Ghasemi added: Despite the assassination of General Soleimani, Iran’s regional influence throughout West Asia did not decrease. The assassination of Sardar Soleimani also strained relations between Iraq and the United States, which could lead to the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq shortly.
Trump’s policy in dealing with Saudi Arabia revealed its moral bankruptcy
Referring to other Trump administration foreign policy cases in the Middle East, he noted: Trump’s widespread alignment and support for the Saudis despite foreign aggression and the internal repression of that country, Saudi support for the bombing of Yemeni schools and markets to the assassination and mutilation of Jamal Khashoggi, a critical Saudi journalist, has made Trump’s moral bankruptcy even more apparent to the public.
Trump administration’s fruitless policy in Venezuela
The professor at the Department of American Studies at the University of Tehran further remarked: At a time when many countries around the world were focusing on curbing the Coronavirus epidemic, the Trump administration sent American warships and planes to Latin America in pursuit of ousting the Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro! The Trump administration has put considerable pressure on the Venezuelan government by imposing tough sanctions, encouraging Venezuelan military officers to take power, and making military threats.
Ghasemi said: The Trump administration also worked closely with the Venezuelan opposition and promised to provide funding for various programs and meanwhile recognized Juan Guaidó, the opposition leader as the country’s real leader. According to Elliott Abrams, the US special envoy for Venezuela, the Congress also allocated a substantial budget to help the Venezuelan opposition; a policy that has not worked for that country so far.
Emphasizing that there is no clear and specific view of Trump’s foreign policy inside the United States, she added: In American public opinion and among many leftists – and even conservatives – Trump’s policy toward Coronavirus, which has been more deadly than many military conflicts, has overshadowed his record more than its foreign policy.
Ghasemi concluded by saying: It seems that some heads of state and international organizations will welcome Biden’s presence, but Trump’s lasting legacy for other countries will be the concern of coming to power of a politician with Trump’s characteristics in 2024 and the years to come. Trump showed that the United States can enter into international and multilateral agreements with other countries in one period, and in other periods the president can unilaterally withdraw from the same obligations and impose heavy costs on all.