In the realm of US foreign policies, nowadays, two main actors of the structure of US foreign policies, that is the White House and the Congress, are trying to have more share in this regard. Unlike Trump, the Congress still opines that it is necessary to up pressure against Russia and extend sanctions against Iran.
In the realm of US foreign policies, nowadays, two main actors of the structure of US foreign policies, that is the White House and the Congress, are trying to have more share in this regard. Unlike Trump, the Congress still opines that it is necessary to up pressure against Russia and extend sanctions against Iran. Although sympathizing with the Congress over Iran, Trump nevertheless believes that relations with Russia should not be moved to further tensions. Thus, the arena of US foreign policies is a troubled situation in both decision-making and practice levels. Even within the White House, there are differences of opinions among the officials. Just like Congress, such officials as the Secretary of Defense and National Security Adviser believe in applying more pressure against Russia. However, the Secretary of State and Trump himself do not believe in this. Thus, indeed in US foreign policies, there is difference in attitudes and opinions, but not differences in the methods. Some believe that that the only strategic principle in Trump’s foreign policy is opposing the Obama Administration’ policies and rewinding them. For Trump, the arena of foreign policy is like a business environment in which one must try to do transactions to maximize benefits. Therefore, all his decisions center on the philosophy of maximizing relative and material benefits, as compared with the benefits of the rivals, to promote US hegemony. He is still of the opinion that the US should become so powerful that both countries opposing the US and the US friends, would fulfill US wishes without any hesitation and that all the bilateral agreements with other countries must only ensure the accomplishment of objectives the US formulates. This is because he believes that this hegemonic power is good for everyone and its decisions are for the benefit of human society all over the world. It is this illusion of power that has prompted Trump to cancel all the agreements signed between the US and other countries in an atmosphere of mutual interaction and dialogue, as, according to him, the dignity of the US is such that it does not allow it to sit at the negotiation table to reach a shared understanding; rather it should sit at the table just for getting the other party to sign an agreement and to respect US wishes at the negotiation table. With this reasoning, Trump has withdrawn from Paris Climate Accord and the US-Cuba Deal and has asked for fundamental changes in the relationships with the European Union and the Nuclear Deal with Iran. Given that, in the continuation, an attempt is made to investigate US foreign policies in Western Asia, Europe-Russia and Eastern Asia.
The US and Western Asia
By adopting a Twitter diplomacy, without informing his advisers and administration members, Trump comments on international events. However, his advisers in the White House have different opinions. As to the Qata Row, Trump clearly stated that for a long time, Qatar had been funding terrorism. However, in a formal statement, Tillerson pointed out that Saudi Arabia and its partners should decrease applying pressure against Qatar and should resolve their problems through dialogue. In the tension arising between Saudi Arabia and Qatar, America emphasized all-out support for Saudi Arabia and even announced that in near future, it would resume sending arms and precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia under Arms Agreement in 2015. US Senate also approved the arms sale to Saudi Arabia with a vote of 53 yeas. In December 2016, Barack Obama opposed the sale of precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia.
US relations with Turkey are still troubled. In his speech, Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated, “Despite the warnings of Turkey, the United States continues to make mistakes. This is due to the insistence on a military strike against Raqqah, the ISIL terrorist group’s headquarters, in cooperation with the Democratic Union Party, which extends beyond the Turkish terrorist organization of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party.”
An important development in the US foreign policies was not moving US Embassy in the Zionist Regime to Jerusalem. This in spite of the fact that in his election campaign, Trump had numerously talked about moving the embassy. However, just like his predecessors, Trump preferred to set this as a precondition for resuming peace talks and reaching an agreement with Palestinians, a position which the Zionist Regime opposes. Trump’s decision comes at a time when even the US Senate passed the bill for moving the American Embassy to Jerusalem. It is necessary to point out that this document is not legally binding. However, it reflects the position of the highest US legislative body about moving US Embassy from Tel Aviv to the Occupied City of Qods (i.e., Jerusalem). In 1995, US Congress passed a law, allowing the US Administration to move US Embassy from Tel Aviv to the Occupied City of Qods (i.e., Jerusalem)
As for Syria, the United States plans to capture the city of Raqqah as quickly as possible so that it could set up an important base inside Syria. Washington’s new scenario is to help terrorist groups, to build a terrorist army and increase its troops in the region. The recent move by the Americans in the southern and eastern region, which is indicative of military presence in these areas, the assistance they provide for the terrorist forces and the attack on the Syrian army and even downing the Syrian army aircraft show that the United States has made a definitive decision to stay in this region and prevent the Syrian army from freeing these areas. The United States supports terrorist groups in the area, both in terms of logistics and in guiding their operations. When the Syrian army moved to the border to confront the terrorists, the Americans immediately raised the issue of security zone and announced that if the Syrian army entered the area, it would be the target of US military strikes. Syrian opposition groups sponsored by the United States also announced that the United States and its allies had sent them more munitions to stop the advance of Iranian-backed militant forces in southeastern Syria. The US Army has also moved the advanced High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) from Jordan into Syria. The US Army has deployed the missile system near coalition’s training base under the command of the United States in the Al-Tanf area on the Syria-Jordan border.
In the case of Iraq, after the decision of the Kurdish authorities in the Iraqi Kurdistan to hold a referendum on independence, Heiser Navitar, a US State Department representative, emphasized at a press conference that the United States supports united, federal, democratic and independent Iraq. Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government officials are planning to hold a referendum on September 25 for independence from Iraq. The US government plans to distance Iraq from Iran in any way possible and persuades Iraq to prevent from Iran’s presence in the country. Therefore, it seems that, in order to accomplish this, the United States needs to keep the central government of Iraq happy, which requires the US to oppose the independence of Kurdistan. On the other hand, the United States, which seeks to contain Iran in the region, is concerned that, in the case of independence of Kurdistan, Iran will expand its influence in this region.
Given Trump’s stances on Twitter, US relations with the European Union are becoming even more troubled day by day. This increased tension in relations, especially in relations with Germany, has become a commercial war between the two. In spite of the principles of US foreign policy which commits US to supporting and protecting Europe, Trump now believes that European countries should pay their share for their own defense. At the G7 Summit in Sicily, Italy, Trump even refused to declare a commitment by the United States to Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty requiring defensive support by all members of NATO for a member who has been attacked.
In Trump’s opinion, Germany uses this opportunity only to boost its economy. On his Twitter page, he wrote: “We have a massive trade deficit with Germany, plus they pay far less than they should on NATO and military. Very bad for U.S. This will change.” He even said in a childish language that because of these behaviours “Germans are bad, very bad.” Following G7 Summit in Brussels, Merkel called for the independence of the European Union, underscoring the fact that Europe can no longer rely on the United States.
In addition to trade and defense spending, the differences between the US and Europe include two other important issues, namely food security and climate change. Because of the refugee crisis, Europe is calling for a proper food security program. However, the US is opposed to this. As for the issue of climate change, after the leaders of six countries of G7 announced their commitment to Paris Climate Accord, which was signed by most countries in the world in 2015, Tramp issued an unprecedented order to withdraw from the accord. Trump called climate change a ridiculous joke and said it is China’s plot to destroy American industries. Given his insistence on re-negotiating all the treaties signed at the time of Obama, Trump insisted that “the treaty is a huge distribution of US wealth to other countries, and we must re-negotiate a fair deal”.
Disputes between Russia and the United States can also be investigated at two levels: first at NATO level and second at the level of internal disagreements in the United States over relations with Russia. The tensions between the two countries at NATO level have escalated following the occupation of Crimea by Russia, which has led to more US military presence on the eastern borders of NATO and near Russian borders.
The United States is trying to reinforce a notion in the eastern countries of NATO such as Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania that it is possible that Russia might surround these countries and therefore there is the need for more American presence and further alignment with this country. Of course, this attitude is perpetuated more by the US intelligence agencies and the Pentagon. In addition, the US believes that Russia’s attempt to strengthen relations with Serbia is the starting point for Russia’s strong presence in the Balkans. For this same reason, the US and British military conducted their first comprehensive joint and defensive military exercises on the borders of Poland and Lithuania over the past few days. NATO officials believe that Russia may carry out massive military exercises, with as many as 100,000 troops in Russia and Belarus attending in September.
There is a deep division between the Congress and the White House on the internal level. The Congress is vehemently trying to intensify sanctions against Russia and exert further pressure on it. Therefore, when the Bill of “Confronting Iran’s Destabilizing Measures” was passed in the Senate, with the insistence of some members of the Congress, Russian Sanctions were also added to it and was approved with a vote of 97 yeas to 2 nays. However, on the opposite side, the White House, led by Trump, believes that relations with Russia should be improved. Even some of his advisers have raised the possibility of appealing to Russia’s sanctions. Tillerson also announced that Trump had asked him to work to rebuild relations with Russia. After Russia’s sanctions had passed in the Senate, he even asked the country’s legislators to allow the White House to have flexibility over Russia. Therefore, it is likely that the article relating to Russia would be strongly opposed by the Trump administration or they may even veto it.
Trump’s Twitter diplomacy and his statements which are contradictory to those of his advisers have promoted the distrust of world leaders in Trump’s administration, especially after the withdrawal of the US from Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement and the Paris Climate Accord. As a result, US officials travel to different regions, trying to reassure their partners of US commitments to them. On the latest of these trips, Tillerson and Secretary of Defense, James Mattis and Joseph Dunford, Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Harry Harris, Head of the US Pacific Command, travelled to Australia to reassure this country of the US relations with it. By participating in the Singapore Security Conference and holding bilateral meetings with the defense ministers of such countries as South Korea and Japan, he emphasized that the United States will remain committed to its allies in Asia-Pacific.
In the case of North Korea, the United States also conducted joint military exercises with South Korea and Japan to increase preparedness for North Korea’s nuclear tests. The United States is trying to win China’s support to put more pressure on North Korea. US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, has emphasized that China and other regional partners should step up their efforts to resolve this security situation, a situation which poses a threat not only to the region but also to the entire world.
The most important diplomatic decision made by Trump over the last days is ordering a general review of relations with Cuba and the cancellation of the improvement of the trade and travel relations with this Latin American country. Cuba is the fourth largest country in the western hemisphere after Canada, Mexico and Venezuela, with which Trump has decided to change US relationships. Former US President, Barack Obama, adopted the policy of engagement with Cuba and after 54 years, in 2014, he normalized his relations with Havana. Of course, in the Trump administration, there are many differences about the policy and strategy that will be adopted against Cuba. Some of Trump’s advisers are calling for more US access to the Cuban market to help with employment and economic growth and have opposed toughening trade laws against Havana. In addition, 54 American senators have proposed a bill, calling for the abolition of all remaining commercial and travel restrictions against Cuba. On the other hand, Trump’s Republican Government has been severely pressured by some representatives such as Marco Rubio and Mario Diaz-Balart who call for the intensification of Washington’s pressure on the Cuban government.
US foreign policy decisions are not still fully coherent, and given the differences within the White House, the disagreements between the Congress and the White House, as well as Trump’s stances which are announced without coordination with his advisers, the United States has not been able to come up with a uniform procedure in its foreign policy. And this has tarnished US image worldwide and even European countries are talking about the need for greater independence from the United States, which will make the United States more isolated in international diplomatic relations. In fact, Trump’s decision to review all US agreements with other countries and organizations has created a kind of uncertainty about its policies.