US Policy Changes Vol.20 (Foreign Policy Vol.2 – International Politics)

Here are articles on US foreign policy and international politics (world politics). Excerpts are on our own.

How Trump Can Save the Liberal Order (12/1/2016) | @RHFontaine ‏@ForeignAffairs @CNASdc
… Its creation was a response to the destructive wars, economic depressions, and rise of dictatorships that marred the first half of the twentieth century. Since then, the world has seen the longest period of great-power peace in modern history, the largest number of people ever pulled up from poverty, and an unprecedented expansion of democracy. To paraphrase British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, the liberal order is the worst form of international organization — except for all the others.
… Trump should likewise work to extend the order’s reach to cyberspace, where there are no norms governing international behavior. …

On foreign policy, Donald Trump is no realist (11/21/2016) | Robert D. Kaplan @postpolitics @CNASdc
… Realists like myself should be very nervous about his election.
Realism is a sensibility, not a specific guide to what to do in each crisis. And it is a sensibility rooted in a mature sense of the tragic — of all the things that can go wrong in foreign policy, so that caution and a knowledge of history are embedded in the realist mindset. Realism has been with us at least since Thucydides wrote “The Peloponnesian War” in the 5th century B.C., in which he defined human nature as driven by fear (phobos), self-interest (kerdos) and honor (doxa). …
… A sense of history comes mainly from reading. That’s how we know in the first place about such things as our obligations to allies and our role as the defender of the West. …
Realists know that while the balance of power is not a panacea, maintaining an advantageous balance of power with rivals is generally in a nation’s interest. …
Realists know that because values follow interests and not the other way around…
Realism is about moderation. It sees the value in the status quo while idealists only see the drawbacks in it. …
… the United States is the most well-endowed and advantageously located major state on Earth. … Realism is about utilizing such power to protect allies without precipitating conflict. It is not about abandoning them and precipitating conflict as a consequence. …

An Open Letter on Donald Trump’s Vision of U.S. Foreign Policy (7/26/2016) | @Ali_Wyne @Medium
An Open Letter on Donald Trump’s Vision of US Foreign Policy (7/19/2016) | @Ali_Wyne @aminterest
Trump’s 19th Century Foreign Policy (1/20/2016) | @thomaswright08 @POLITICOMag
… In sum, Trump believes that America gets a raw deal from the liberal international order it helped to create and has led since World War II. He has three key arguments that he returns to time and again over the past 30 years. He is deeply unhappy with America’s military alliances and feels the United States is overcommitted around the world. He feels that America is disadvantaged by the global economy. And he is sympathetic to authoritarian strongmen. Trump seeks nothing less than ending the U.S.-led liberal order and freeing America from its international commitments.
… With his background and personality, Trump is so obviously sui generis that it is tempting to say his views are alien to the American foreign policy tradition. …particular echoes of Sen. Robert Taft, who unsuccessfully ran for the Republican nomination in 1940, 1948 and 1952, and was widely seen as the leader of the conservative wing of the Republican Party. Taft was a staunch isolationist and mercantilist who opposed U.S. aid for Britain before 1941. After the war, he opposed President Harry Truman’s efforts to expand trade. Despite being an anti-communist, he opposed containment of the Soviet Union, believing that the United States had few interests in Western Europe. He opposed the creation of NATO as overly provocative. …
…a President Trump’s foreign policy…: “He would believe very strongly in extreme military strength. He wouldn’t trust anyone. …
… As the world’s only superpower, one of America’s most important functions has been to ensure open access to what are called the global commons—the oceans, air and space. The U.S. Navy guarantees the openness of sea lanes for civilian trade, for example.
… Well, in 1988, he told Oprah Winfrey that Kuwait should pay the United States 25 percent of their oil profits because the United States “makes it possible for them to sell it.” … In his 1987 letter, he wrote, “Tax these wealthy nations, not America.” … It is excessive tribute in exchange for protection. …
… He wants to slap tariffs on other countries — again harking back to 19th-century protectionism — and negotiate bilateral deals. Most economists believe this would create a downward spiral in the global economy, but Trump does not seem to care.
… In 1990, he told Playboy… Asked whether that meant he favored China’s crackdown on students, he said, “When the students poured into Tiananmen Square, the Chinese government…put it down with strength. That shows you the power of strength. …”
… China would offer President Trump an extraordinarily preferential economic deal and in exchange he would leave China alone to do as it wished in the South China Sea and East China Sea. After all, it would help American workers, at least in the short term. …
…virtually no chance that he would “tack back to the center” and embrace a conservative internationalist foreign policy. …he would do his utmost to liquidate the U.S.-led liberal order…
After his election, other countries will immediately hedge against the risk of abandonment. There will be massive uncertainty around America’s commitments. …
… Trump may well see such uncertainty as a positive. Putting everything in play would give him great leverage. But by undoing the work of Truman and his secretary of state, Dean Acheson, it would be the end of the American era.
… In 1971, faced with inflation and stagnation, he canceled the convertibility of the dollar to gold without consulting his allies. This brought a dramatic end to Bretton Woods. Nixon and his secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, were also famously comfortable with strongmen and authoritarian regimes.
But Trump is no Nixon. …
To understand Trump, in the end, we have to go back to Taft and Lindbergh. The difference is that, unlike Trump, Taft was not outside the mainstream of his time. Many people believed…that it did not matter who ran Europe. Also, unlike Trump, Taft was boring… Lindbergh led a national movement that was divisive, xenophobic and sympathetic to Nazi Germany.
The reason we must revisit 1940 is that Republicans have struggled to find a new north star after Iraq. … Cruz seems to have thought little and said even less about America’s global role outside the Middle East. …
… Internationalists will have to explain all over again why the United States flourishes and benefits from a healthy international system. Taft and Lindbergh lost before, but it would be a mistake to underestimate the messenger this time.

Why George Washington Would Have Agreed With Donald Trump (5/5/2016) | Michael Hirsh @POLITICOMag
…already shaping up to be a debate over America’s global role of the kind we haven’t had for decades, perhaps since the last “America First” movement of the late ‘30s.
…should abandon the “dangerous idea that we could make Western democracies out of countries that had no experience or interest in becoming a Western democracy.” …he wants them to “prove” they are our friends…
Trump does appear to be giving short shrift to — and perhaps does not fully comprehend — a lot of the history that underlies America’s modern approach to the world. He doesn’t always make sense when he talks about foreign policy, calling at once for steadiness and unpredictability, a military buildup and a major war on ISIS but also restraint in the use of U.S. force overseas. …
But Trump is also correct in suggesting that the current global system is an aberration in American history, and he is persuasive in arguing that it may not be sustainable forever under current conditions, and America should focus more on fixing our own economic house for a long time to come… “Since the end of the Cold War and the breakup of the Soviet Union, we’ve lacked a coherent foreign policy,” Trump said in his speech. This is also arguably true. …
… “The world must know we do not go abroad in search of enemies.” The line was an allusion to the famous injunction of John Quincy Adams in 1821 that America “does not go in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.” …
… Princeton scholar John Ikenberry, author of Liberal Leviathan: The Origins, Crisis, and Transformation of the American World Order, says that starting in 1946, the United States added a new ally — a nation with which it had some kind of security relationship — every five years or so. Today, it has a total of 62 permanent allies, including many from the former Soviet bloc. …
…a quarter century after the Cold War, the U.S. still has no real challenger as the lone superpower on earth, and U.S.-created global institutions…provide layers of multilateral cover that serve to take the raw edge off American hegemony… That is highly unusual in the history of great powers, which in the past have always provoked new rivalries and alliance-building against them. … Everyone inside this international system gets richer and stronger, while everyone outside it grows relatively weaker and poorer. Even Russia and China appear to realize this…
… Maybe this vast, expensive global order was necessary against Hitler, and later Stalin, Khrushchev and Brezhnev…
Translated, what Trump is calling for is nothing less than a return to an American normalcy that frankly has always been somewhat isolationist…
…Exceptionalism. …that America was conceived, uniquely in history, as an idea — an apotheosis of the best ideas about the rights of man coming out of the Enlightenment — and that God blessed the new nation with the luxury of conducting this grand experiment on its own continent with two broad oceans to protect it. As Thomas Paine wrote in “Common Sense” in 1776: “We have it in our power to begin the world again.” Abraham Lincoln…in 1837: “…All the armies of Europe and Asia could not by force take a drink from the Ohio River or make a track on the Blue Ridge in the trial of a thousand years. …”
… Trump is exploiting much of the self-doubt already set into motion by the launching of a completely unnecessary war in Iraq, which seriously damaged the postwar alliance-and-trading system by grossly abusing America’s position within it. …
…Bill Clinton, who was known in his time as the “globalization president.” (“There is no longer a clear division between what is foreign and what is domestic,” he said at his first inaugural in 1993, and reiterated the point in his final foreign policy address in 2000…
… Suppose, with the end of the Soviet Union, America had mysteriously disappeared as well, or more realistically had retreated to within its borders…
… But most data show that globalization has created a far wealthier (if unequal) world overall. …
… There are limits to how much change a president can really effect, and inevitably even a Trump administration would probably maintain most of Washington’s now-entrenched role of global overseer. But it’s worth asking how much he would be able to pare it back or disrupt it—and whether a badly divided America can, or wants to, sustain this role forever. …
… For most of America’s first century of existence, U.S. policy abroad was constrained by the Monroe Doctrine… That began to change with Teddy Roosevelt… TR was intent on becoming the first true internationalist American president… Initially, he confined himself to reasserting the Monroe Doctrine, mainly in an effort to secure the new Panama Canal for trade and to rid the New World of lingering European claims in Cuba and Latin America…
… He presciently predicted Japan’s victory over troubled Czarist Russia in 1905… Worried about the rise of the Japanese in the Pacific, TR stepped in and negotiated the Treaty of Portsmouth between Japan and Russia. It was a first foreshadowing of the U.S. president’s arbitrator-in-chief role that would become familiar to later generations.
In 1917…the notorious Zimmerman Telegram, in which Berlin pledged to help Mexico regain the American territory it had lost in 1848 in return for an alliance, was a key trigger. Bolshevized Russia also represented for the first time an ideological threat. That led Wilson to turn exceptionalism on its head… Ikenberry points out that the “paradox” of Wilson’s agenda was that “he wanted to avoid involvement in European politics, so he pursued a vision that entailed the utter transformation of European politics.”
… But out in the heartland, and among their representatives in Congress, many Americans continued to believe that John Quincy Adams was still right. …his League of Nations went down to defeat in the Senate when Henry Cabot Lodge, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, refused to sign off on Article 10, which obligated all League members to intervene in the event of aggression against other members. …
… “We have torn up Wilsonism by the roots,” Lodge crowed after Harding won in a landslide. …other abject failures of international law, especially of the 1929 Kellogg-Briand Pact outlawing war. …
… Americans after the war, wrote historian Robert Divine, “yearned for a magic formula which would permit them to live in peace without constant involvement abroad.”
… Thus the global system we have today is truly a kind of accidental American empire. …