T Nation

Trump: Foreign Policy IS Clear

I just read an interesting article in “Foreign Affairs”.

The basic tenet was that whether you agree with it or not…Trump actually has a clear Foreign Policy, that is becoming more clear as he places a Team around him that either agrees with his ideas and/or at least feels that it’s their job to execute them.

The Author summarizes Trump’s FP in this way:

"For the first time, it is possible to identify a singular Trump administration foreign policy, as the president’s team coalesces around his ideas. This policy consists of:

1) A narrow, transactional relationship with other nations.

2) A preference for authoritarian governments over other democracies.

3) A mercantilist approach to international economic policy.

4) A general disregard for human rights and the rule of law, and

5) The promotion of nationalism and unilateralism at the expense of multilateralism.

The author goes through some pluses and minuses…but doesn’t make a judgement either way. His point was to emphasize that while many are saying that when it comes to Foreign Policy Trump is “unpredictable”…he really isn’t.

Would like your thoughts @loppar and others.

The floor is yours…

I think they’re giving Trump too much credit. He just does business with those who are willing to do business with him. It just so happens they are the scum of the world. Trump doesn’t have ideas, he has wants.

I think you hit on an important point, @zecarlo.

It often does appear that Trump defines what he wants; and it really doesn’t matter who is harmed in the process to get it. (INCLUDING many in his base).

Look at THE WALL. Trump doesn’t care about a wall, he just wanted some applause. Now he has to press the wall issue because it’s important to his fans who haven’t moved on. But it’s still not about the wall for Trump as much as it’s about wanting to get his way and pushing his self described image of a man who gets things done. Or rather, a man who gets what he wants.

One other point made by the author: (I’ll work on a link for you guys):

It’s unclear where such a stark change in overall Foreign Policy will lead…only time will tell.

I don’t know whether his bump stock ban is really a foreign policy issue…

This was really a “4-D Chess” one for me…because I was sure that his base didn’t support it.

Any idea what his “strategy” might have been?

His base just lives for those moments they can say MAGA.

Not unless he did it to avoid calls for banning actual firearms.


I wish this was what it was, but I highly doubt it. If I was an optimist about the overall direction of the U.S., I would say that maybe(because I don’t know) adding something to the NFA of 1934 and GCA of 1968 will permit new legal challenges to those Acts. With enough Trump appointees as Justices, perhaps both could be ruled unconstitutional.

One good thing I’ve noticed: US allies are now arresting corrupt Chinese executives that steal tech. Holding China to an kind of standard is new development.

Other short term results of the ‘policy’ if there is one:

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Praise the fuckin lord for this one.

One of the few Trump things that genuinely has a round of applause from me



FTR, it’s a silly joke that China’s numbers being what they are is caused by the trade war in any meaningful way. They’ve been entering the ~50% higher growth rate than the USA’s best years since late GW early Obama. It’s a natural biproduct of a society growing into the 1st world.

The ONLY way to really dent China’s economy is with a US/1st world recession. That’s when they reeeeeally hurt.

Keep the shutdown going long enough and it might just kickstart it. Only need another month or so imo.

No doubt. We’ve been over the “how do you hurt China?” Meme over and over. They’re run by an emperor who can claim any glitches in the economy are the “West’s fault”. I just like that someone is finally taking crooked Chinese party members/businessmen to task.

Although the Chicoms are definitely gonna kill that Canadian pot dealer in return.

I still wish it was something meaningful. I get the feeling he’s using the very limited targeting as a chip in the trade war. So when we get a magical trade deal signed 6 months before election day, there’s a good chance he’ll give that away happily as a concession.

Yeah seems to be an unfortunate biproduct of China wanting to remind the world they’re the big dogs in the area. Heart goes out for the goat on the chain these days.

What’s supremely ironic is MJ is literally the least seditious thing you can supply to a population. When did a bunch of stoned people ever overthrow anything?

What say you guys on the North Korea talks? There was a wsj article about how they’ve been in the works for 10 years with spies talking on both sides. Did his brash/boorish demeanor drag KJU out of hiding and onto the world stage? I thought it was interesting he tried to sell prosperity to KJU (development/farming/burger king). He literally tried to sell Burger King to a fat little despot in a country full of starving people. I don’t care what you think of geopolitics, that’s funny.

I know it will end with a double cross no matter what, regardless of president. Despots lie, that’s what they do. But if they give up 75% of their nuclear facilities and join the world stage with actual trade, they’ll be less likely to hit the big red button. Golden handcuffs instead of mutually assured destruction as it were

Also I know Trumps only solid policy is he hates China. You can find videos of him cussing China in 1979. So befriending NK is kind of defanging China’s wild dog.

Aren’t Trump’s line of neckties made in China? David Letterman called him on it.

Yeah but it’s probably just because he loves to make money far more than he ever hated China.

I don’t think this has ever, or ever will be, a possibility with NK. They quite literally have millions upon millions of brainwashed citizens. I can’t imagine a scenario where we’re letting those people freely walk across borders, from either side.

He needed special ties optimized for tiny hands. Who better to make them than the Chinese?


You don’t think the US could open up any trade there? Even if it’s just bulk goods like grain/oil/metals etc… imagine if we could introduce commercial farming so less of them starve to death.

I didn’t think we’d be close like with GB/Israel/Canada.

Sure, to the extent we trade with 3rd world countries today. Maybe a little less due to the inherent population flaws

Iirc food is mostly used as an incentive against the population. They’re starved on purpose, not due to lack of farming ability.

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