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Even skeptics wonder: Is Trump deserving of any foreign policy credit?




  Donald Trump "title =" Donald Trump

Much of what seems to be running President Trump on foreign policy is a desire to succumb to his predecessor. Trump and his helpers regularly reject Obama as weak and risky and base the former Democratic President's policy of "strategic patience." Mandel Ngan / AFP / Getty Images

Foreign Policy

Some admit that Trump's bulldozer mentality has pushed leaders to have difficult conversations – even though the by-product is chaos.

The authoritarian rule of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela is in danger. Afghanistan could finally see a peace agreement with the Taliban and a reduction of US troops. North Korea has stopped its nuclear tests – for now.

President Donald Trump is expected to take advantage of these developments as major foreign policy wins in his EU state, Tuesday night, and critics who say that Trump's leading role at international level has been to bully US allies and further destabilize flammable regions with [19659009] History continues below

But while "victory" may be too strong a word – each of these situations is fragile and could cause disaster – even the President's skeptics consider the question: Trump deserves some credit?

Some of these critics reluctantly admit that Trump's bulldozer mentality has pushed the leaders of all political streaks to have difficult conversations, they had long avoided, on everything from the downsides of free trade to the international institutions of the post-world war. II liberal order must be recast. On these and other fronts that have long troubled US leaders – the US's current presence in Afghanistan, potential long-term engagement in Syria, NATO defense spending and much more – was little or no movement until Trump joined.

"He is a disruptive. It leads to a very healthy debate on what our goals are," said Ivo Daalder, who served as President Barack Obama's ambassador for NATO and a frequent drum critic.

But such disturbances also come with costs. America's European Allies are increasingly seeing the US as unreliable. In Afghanistan, not to mention Afghan women, the government fears fear that the United States will leave them to the Taliban's grace. And Trump's call for US troops to leave Syria could further resist opponents like Russia and Iran.

"I don't think he has a strategy," said Daalder, now president of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. "The reality is that he shakes the tree, and then he goes away."

Much of what seems to drive Trump on foreign policy is a desire to succumb to its predecessor. Trump and his assistants regularly reject Obama as weak and risky, basing the former Democratic President's policy of "strategic patience."

Within a few weeks of having officials, for example, Trump administration introduced sanctions against Tareck El-Aissami, then a Venezuelan vice president and alleged drug kingpin. The Obama administration had sanctions for fear that it could undermine diplomacy with Caracas.

Last month, Trump announced that he no longer recognized the Maduro regime and supported his opposition leader Juan Guaido. That way, Trump forced the issue internationally. Other world powers have since begun to recognize Guaido, who has declared himself "interim president" and claims that Maduro won a new term fraudulently through a rigged election.

It was a sensational act that has served the plotters themselves from a few Democrats, who keeps Maduro responsible for destroying Venezuela's economy and starving its people.

But what is not yet clear what Trump will do if Maduro refuses to quit. So far, the Venezuelan military has largely stood by the autocrat. Trump on Sunday said he had not ruled out a military strike against the regime, but such a move could lead to even more unpredictable scenarios.

It is impossible to say for sure whether Obama would have taken similar steps – the context for each president's decision is different. But foreign policy analysts agree that Obama was generally more reluctant to take actions that could lead to an unwelcome response.

"Obama was too cautious in his willingness to use leverage. He had a theory of escalation that if you use a lever, it might spiral," says Tom Wright, a Brookings Institution scholar. "What the trumpet has shown is that fear of escalation is not what Obama considered them to be. He uses leverage freely, often without thinking."

Trump has also long questioned the value of holding US troops abroad.

He originally wanted to pull the United States out of Afghanistan, and put on his national security team's proposal for a modest troop rise instead. While Trump originally joined that plan, he has recently returned to signaling desires. In response, his helpers distorted to revive the sleeping peace process with the Taliban.

In January, government officials announced major breakthroughs in the negotiations, including a Taliban concession, that they would not allow terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda to use Afghanistan as the basis for attacking offshore. Now, even some of Trump's skeptics say this is the best chance to end the 17-year war. Trump's decision to abolish US aid to Pakistan, whose military is widely believed to support the Afghan Taliban, may even have accelerated negotiations.

Still, there are many obstacles. Concerns remain that the Taliban will again take over the land, destroy its government, repress its women, and again let the land be used by international terrorist groups.

There are similar concerns in Syria, where Trump has said he will soon withdraw all the American troops who have fought the Islamic state's terrorist group. The sudden decision announced in December was a classic example of Trump, which was about instinct and ignored his advisers who tried to slow things down.

It constituted a two-part charge – the Senate voted overwhelmingly to promote a measure against rapid withdrawals from Syria and Afghanistan. However, in an illustration of how Trump strengthens the difficult conversations, several Democrats, including some who ran for president, voted against the measure, some saying they were against "endless wars."

"It is the congregation's task to responsibly end these military interventions and bring our troops home, not to come up with more reasons to continue them," said beds Bernie Sanders, a socialist lover independent of Vermont eyeing another race to it democratic presidential elections.

Trump has also taken an impulsive approach to North Korea. When Pyongyang relayed an invitation to Trump to meet with dictator Kim Jong Un, the president jumped on the opportunity.

Typically in such negotiations, US presidents do not meet their counterparts to the end. The fact that the Kim regime ranks as one of the world's most brutal is another reason before the US Presidents avoided sitting down with its leaders.

Last week, a senior government department official first revealed that Kim has agreed "the dismantling and destruction of North Korea's plutonium and uranium enrichment facilities," a set of sites representing the entire North Korean plutonium reprocessing and uranium enrichment programs. "

Although the promise is A little more than a non-binding promise, some North Korea analysts pay tribute to it as a significant sign of progress after many stagnant months. They praised Trump's rapprochement, including his willingness to cheat with Kim.

"I'm sure he did not think much about this before becoming president, but he stumbled into something here at least on North Korea's side of things, "said Joel Wit, who monitors 38 North, a Stimson Center project to study the region.

Obama was not very risky, he greenlit the operation, killing al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, engaged in Iran to prepare an agreement to slow down his nukl honorary program, and he restored diplomatic relations with Cuba.

However, each of these examples was a product of intense consideration. Trump often dispenses with such careful consideration.

"He is willing to do things," said James Carafano, an analyst with the most drum-shaped conservative Heritage Foundation. "If it works, well. If that doesn't work, it's not the end of the world."

(These "things" include abandoning Iran's nuclear agreement and reversing much of the diplomatic opening with Cuba.)

Trump also has punished US allies in ways that Obama probably hasn't done.

He imposed sanctions on two senior officials in Turkey, a member of NATO, for the country's dubious detention of an American Christian priest. Turkey liberated the priest, Andrew Brunson – an apparent victory for the Trump approach. But the relationship between Ankara and Washington may have suffered in the long run.

Trump's broad sides to NATO have also frightened US closest allies. In particular, he insists that other NATO countries owe US ​​money, a wording that fails the way the military alliance works.

But Trump's broader argument that other NATO countries should spend more on defense, fulfilling their obligations, is in line with what former US presidents have also said. Trump just does it in a harder way. His talk about "America First" has even led to genuine concerns in Europe that he could pull the United States out of NATO.

At the end of the month, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg credited Trump's tough talk about an increase in defense spending – worth $ 100 billion – by alliance members.

"We see some real money and some real results," Stoltenberg said. "And we see that the clear message from President Donald Trump has influence."

NATO's boss has just attempted to smear the US president – after all, NATO members committed in 2014 under Obama to increase their defense spending. But it's not a question Trump has brought much more attention to the problem than its predecessors.

Trump's public murmur of NATO has also set people in the transatlantic foreign policy into a situation they are not accustomed to: having to articulate a justification for the world order's overriding world order after largely set up by the United States.

Similarly, Trump's trade agreement bashing has put free trade agents in a defensive crouch after many years of broad support.

] The president does not always seem to understand the basics of the trading system he trashes and his remedy – imposing tariffs – can do more harm than good. But his criticism has left the United States' anger at being left as the markets change and international trade bombs.

Trump's will to start a trade war with China has helped spur the debate on China's place in the world and its ambitions. Again, Trumps can use tariffs on China's resurgence, but there is a growing bipartisan consensus in Congress and besides Beijing exploiting Western trade rules.

Many of these conversations might have been recognized, though some of Trump's toughest critics.

"We probably need creative, affirmative disruption to update, reform to be more inclusive to find the complex solutions to the huge technological and social change taking place around the world," said Wendy Sherman, a former prime minister in the UK under Obama.

In Sherman, Trump thinks more about destruction than disturbance.

"He's never strategic about where he's headed, how all the dots are connected," she said.


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