‘America First’: American Foreign Policy in the ‘Age of Trump’

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Trump’s ‘America First’ foreign policy  is only very slowly being revealed.  But this week will see an important addition.  On Thursday and Friday President Trump will be meeting China’s President Xi Jinping.  This meeting represents a crucial first meeting of the leaders though we have seen Secretary of State Tillerson in Beijing recently.  But Tillerson remains an enigma and it is not at all clear that he has the ‘ear ‘ of President Trump. This week we will see Donald Trump at the center of American foreign policy making with arguably the most relationship in the global order.

We have been working hard at the Global Summitry Project to chronicle and evaluate the impact of Trump on the Liberal Order.  Much of our effort can be seen at the Oxford’s journal, Global Summitry: Politics, Economics and Law in International Governance. The Journal is a partnership of the Munk School and the Rotman Management School.  I am one of the Senior Editors there. We have just launched a new podcast series – ‘Shaking the Global Order:  American Foreign Policy in the Age of Trump. Our first podcast episode, this an interview with Rory MacFarquhar a former Obama official, has just appeared. In celebration of the series, we have added the podcasts to iTunes and Soundcloud. Also, take a look at our analysis of Trump foreign policy: “Trump’s ‘America First’ foreign policy that its impact on the Liberal Order” that just recently appeared at the OUPBlog

Where will Trump take the United States? And where will he take the Liberal Order?  It remains an open question. Former Prime UK Minister, Tony Blair writing recently in the NYT about the politics of the centre and the challenges and pressures being experienced to both centre right and centre left parties raised the key issue:

The question is, will this be a temporary phase, perhaps linked to the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis and Sept. 11, and will politics soon revert to normal, or has a new political age begun?


The FT’s Phillip Stephens has a rather more chilling assessment. In late February, Stephens wrote in the FT :

What has happened is that large segments of the population have withdrawn their consent for the democratic order. For 70 years the political argument in liberal democracies has been largely about “means”.   … The populists have upturned the debate: now it is about the “ends”. Mr Trump, spurred by his White House strategic adviser Stephen Bannon, imagines an entirely different order — one that is robustly nationalist and protectionist and guards the privileges of the native, white, Christian majority. The values of the old order — human dignity, pluralism, the role of law, protection for minorities — have no place in this identity politics. Nor do the institutions of democracy. Judges, media and the rest are “enemies of the people”.

We will be watching closely and calling on our friends and acquaintances to evaluate the direction of American foreign policy in the ‘Age of Trump’.  Tune in!

Image Credit: independent.co.uk

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