Trade and Protectionism
Trump’s argument that free trade has damaged American workers and the manufacturing industry, was a central message of his Presidential campaign. For that, he promised to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Transpacific Trade Partnership (TPP), and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). He accused China of being a “currency manipulator” and has lambasted the country for “unfair subsidy behaviour”. Spreading a wave of protectionist policies around the globe will undoubtedly have an impact on the global economy growth.
Trump has repeatedly called into question the US military presence in Japan and South Korea and potentially implied retraction from the East and South China Sea. This will create another region of vulnerable allies who have relied on American military presence for the regional order. Trump’s phone call to the President of Taiwan created a precedent that could escalate relations with China.
FIRST YEAR OF TRUMP ADMINISTRATION
On the 8th of November, the world watched as the United States of America elected Donald Trump as its 45th President. It is too early to predict how US foreign policy will be shaped and led under the new administration. However, based on his statements during the campaign and after the elections, there are serious concerns over the future of the United States’ engagement with the world and the world order that touches every region in the world.
Europe and NATO
Donald Trump described NATO as obsolete and if this statement means that the United States’ commitment to NATO is not guaranteed, the repercussions could result in serious challenges to Europe’s security. Trump has repeatedly stated his intentions to open and explore a new relationship with Russia. Whilst this could be creating a new opportunity in resolving outstanding issues with Russia, especially in Ukraine and Syria, the flip side being that if this rapprochement is combined with disengagement from NATO, it could have serious consequences of the perceived security of Europe especially that of the Baltic states.
Trump threatened to tear up the Iranian nuclear deal as he described it as a “gift to Iran”. He proposed a ban on all Muslims from entering the United States and a plan that could be likened to a protection racket on gulf countries. Although these policies are difficult to be translated into any sort of reality, they may limit possibilities of cooperation with Muslim countries in fighting terrorism and the Islamic State.