THE STATE OF AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY
The American Opportunity/Free Congress Foundation Viewpoint: Part 2
In Part 1, we described the traditional approaches to American foreign policy that have been followed in the past. President Trump is following a very rational and carefully crafted policy to achieve well thought through goals. His policy represents a clean break and change from the “liberal international” policies followed by his past several predecessors.
President Trump’s goal is a world of “strong, sovereign, independent nations”. In fact, this exact phrase is repeated in most of the policy speeches of the President and those of Secretary of State Tillerson. This is different from an America bound up, constrained, and obligated by international organizations, treaties, and expectations. The President rejects the New World Order subordinating American national interests to the expectations and national interests of other countries. He also perceives that that New World Order has enabled other countries, friend and foe to take advantage of our country and its citizens.
The President's policy rejects Liberal Internationalism as described in Part 1 of our discussion. There is no global order, and there should not be. The President calls for "a reawakening of nations". In fact, he believes that nations acting in their own self interest is the true reality today, and that his predecessors have been deluding themselves to the detriment of our own country.
The President, in his addresses, rejects the neoconservative approach of use of military force and invasion to nation build, yet our new policy is anything but isolationist. He condemns authoritarian powers world wide. Despite the angst of the American left wing, he repeatedly condemns Russia’s conquest of the Crimea and the invasion of the Ukraine. Secretary Tillerson, in his addresses has made it very clear that a normalized relationship with Russia is not possible as long as they occupy the Crimea. In his UN speech, the President specifically rejects China’s “threats to sovereignty...to the South China Sea.”
The Administration has defined their new foreign policy as realist. That term specifically appears in the New National Security Policy. Likewise, in the President’s speech at the U.N. on September 19, 2017, President Trump states “We have a policy of principled realism…..” As far as “realism” recognizes the central nature of power in international relations, the new policy is certainly realist. This doctrine is at the core of our new trade policies to stop placing our country at a trade disadvantage. Building our economy through the tax reform bill reflects the essential understanding of the need for more economic power. But realism does not seek to extend liberty in the world. It seek stability and balance of power to keep the peace.
We here at American Opportunity/Free Congress Foundation believe that the President's new policy actually goes beyond realism, and extends to the doctrine of conservative internationalism, as set out by Dr. Henry Nau of George Washington University -- an American Opportunity fellow.
Conservative internationalism advocated the combination of diplomacy backed up the threat or actual use of force to achieve America’s goals. The Korean crisis, fostered by liberal internationalism and a futile reliance on international rule and law, is being addressed by conservative internationalism. The goal is clear, and the use of economic sanctions, combined with the promise of the use of force is producing the climate for a diplomatic solution.
In his UN speech, the President startled many in the American left and across the world by threatening further action if the government of Venezuela persists on it path to impose authoritarian rule. This use of both diplomacy backed by very real force is going beyond a realist goal of stability and balance of power.
Raw realism places no priority of the fostering of democracy and western values, seeking only stability and balance of power to keep the peace. The speeches of the President have plenty of references to the promotion of democracy and western values. The preservation and extension of freedom was almost the entire theme of the President's powerful speech in Warsaw, Poland on July 6, 2017.
The new American foreign policy of the Trump Administration goes beyond realism, and practices conservative internationalism. We at the American Opportunity/Free Congress Foundation recommend such a policy. This is the approach that President Reagan used to win the Cold War. This is in fact how American policy is now being conducted.
We are already in a global conflict for the future of mankind. The Trump practice of “conservative internationalism” holds out hope that freedom can survive and even triumph, and an actual shooting war can be avoided.
Tomorrow in Part 3, we will discuss the nature of the threat we face from revisionist powers, Russia and China and Iran.