American Foreign Policy Destruction by the President
Although I am very much aware that most Americans do not have as their highest priority American’s Foreign Policy Agenda, instead focus on issues such as the economy, health care and other factors which impact them personally. However, Americans do need to understand that for over 70 years we have lived in a more secure world then anytime in history because of Americas role in world affairs since World War Two. Given our recent wars, and continued problems in the Middle East and elsewhere, that may be hard to grasp, but it is true.
Recently, I reread an article in the Foreign Affairs magazine of May/June 2017, by John Ikenberry, a professor at Princeton University, which is one of the best I have ever read on the issue of Trump’s major revision in America’s policy direction and its extremely detrimental impact upon the World order. He writes, “Compared with past (world) orders-imperial and anarchic systems of various sorts, from the Greek and Chinese worlds of the classical era to the nineteenth-century European imperial system-the (current) liberal order stands alone. In terms of wealth creation, the provision of physical security and economic stability and the promotion of human rights and political protections, no other international order comes close.” He goes on to say “the world view of the President and his base (personally I’m unsure his base is following his foreign policy objectives other then enjoying his blowing it up.) has long been clear, it represents a frontal assault on the core convictions of the postwar U.S. global project.”
The professor’s most profound and important point is that although the US is the most powerful country in the world we do not lord it over others, but come to the table respecting others as our equal in the world order, which gives other countries a true seat at the table and in the end provides us with authority not based up military might but on moral authority which is the greatest power of all.
After the Trump period is over, hopefully we can return to what we have lost. It may be possible, but will require a lot of time, effort and energy.
Emeritus Chair, Des Moines Committee on Foreign Relations