Trump still has no strategy for foreign policy
Kang Jie

Editor's note: Kang Jie is an assistant research fellow at the China Institute of International Studies. The article reflects the author's opinion, and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

On February 5, after a two-week delay, U.S. President Donald Trump gave his second State of the Union address, flaunting his government's achievements on both domestic and foreign policy fields.

Although Trump repeatedly traced back American's great past to justify himself, pretended that his foreign policy, to a certain extent, was the continuation of some great tradition, the U.S. foreign policy under Trump featured self-contradictory goals, imprudent operations and short-sighted egoism. It seems that there's still no clear and coherent strategy or roadmap in the White House.

Since Trump came into power, transatlantic relations have deteriorated at a dangerously rapid pace and face the greatest uncertainty after the end of the Cold War according to many observers on both sides of the Atlantic.

U.S. President Donald Trump delivers the State of the Union address, alongside Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, February 5, 2019. /VCG Photo.

U.S. President Donald Trump delivers the State of the Union address, alongside Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, February 5, 2019. /VCG Photo.

France and Germany are worried about the strategic uncertainties caused by Trump administration's "America First" diplomacy and believe that the EU needs to enhance its strategic autonomy and develop crisis management capabilities outside the framework of NATO.

Trump administration continually pressed European allies to dramatically increase their defense budgets, which have caused anxieties among European countries facing financial difficulties. In Trump and his decision-making elites' minds, increasing the defense budget is the panacea for solving all kinds of security problems.

What they have ignored is, comparing with those traditional security issues such as wars and military crisis, domestic governance deficits and public policy failures have contributed more to the security threats facing the West today. Increasing defense budgets and expansion of NATO can even exacerbate European security by fueling the tougher relations between eastern European countries and Russia.

In protest of Trump's State of the Union speech on February 5, 2019, activists hold placards inside and outside of Grand Central Terminal in a lead-up to the Trump Tower protest. /VCG Photo.

In protest of Trump's State of the Union speech on February 5, 2019, activists hold placards inside and outside of Grand Central Terminal in a lead-up to the Trump Tower protest. /VCG Photo.

"Great power competition" has been regarded as the symbol of Trump's national security strategy. However, compete simultaneously with three Eurasian great powers named China, Russia and Iran is strategically irrational.

It's believed that Trump administration is always attempting to make a great deal with Kremlin. In fact, since the end of the Cold War, every newly elected U.S. president had held an overly optimistic expectation for improving U.S.-Russian relations. However, the structural contradictions such as geopolitical competition and differences in political values dispelled this optimism at each time.

In the past two years, the U.S.-Russia competition seems to be back to the future of new global cold war. U.S.-Russia competition has been spread from the Black Sea and Syria, to Baltic, Arctic, and Venezuela.

Trump's recently withdrawal from the landmarked INF treaty has severely shocked the cornerstone of the international nuclear disarmament regime and may drag the United States into an unwinnable and uncontrollable arms race. Interfering with Venezuelan politics is also a dangerous move that may make Latin America into another Syria.

In protest of Trump's State of the Union speech on February 5, 2019, activists display "ARREST TRUMP" banners inside and outside of Grand Central Terminal in a lead-up to the Trump Tower protest. /VCG Photo.

In protest of Trump's State of the Union speech on February 5, 2019, activists display "ARREST TRUMP" banners inside and outside of Grand Central Terminal in a lead-up to the Trump Tower protest. /VCG Photo.

In the Middle East, the Trump administration takes side with Israel and Saudi Arabia while against Iran and its allies. Trump has named this policy "Principled Realism" in his address.

Nevertheless, to forge an anti-Iran Holy Alliance, the Trumpian Realism abandoned something it used to cherish: human rights and freedom values, multilateralism and International credibility.

The double standards on the murder of Khashoggi and the tearing-up of the Iran nuclear deal are two of the most notorious examples. These not only eroded U.S.' soft power but also deprived the U.S. Middle East policy of its strategic resilience. 

Under the Trump administration, the role of the United States in the region has slid from a benevolent hegemon to a short-sighted gang leader. From this point of view, this so-called "Principled Realism" only represents the parochial interests of Iran-phobia group.

Trump repeatedly mentioned the greatness of the United States in World War II in his address. Compared with the U.S. in World War II, the U.S. under Trump doesn't have such a large military and economic advantage, and its advantage in strategic thinking is also in decline.

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