—BombThrowers: A fortnight past, President Trump addressed a joint session of Congress, laying out his new administration’s foreign policy priorities.
In so doing, Trump may well have outlined what will become known as the Trump Doctrine.
The president did not stray too far from what every post-World War II president has proclaimed: “Our foreign policy calls for a direct, robust and meaningful engagement with the world. It is American leadership based on vital security interests that we share with our allies across the globe.” These same words could just as easily have been spoken by JFK, Reagan, the Bushes, or Obama.
That address should put to rest all questions about whether the Trump administration will support the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). “We strongly support NATO, an alliance forged through the bonds of two world wars that dethroned fascism, and a Cold War that defeated communism.” The 45th president recognizes that NATO has helped to ensure the European continent has yet to see a massive full-scale war since the last one ended in 1945.
Where Trump differs from previous presidents is his insistence that “our partners must meet their financial obligations.” Since the end of the Cold War, the United States has allowed NATO members to fall behind in their military commitments to the alliance as prosperity and peace flourished in the Pax Americana 1990s and early 2000s. But now, seeing rising threats, Trump wants European member-states and other allies to pay their fair share to protect the world order NATO helped to create.
Trump told Congress, “America is willing to find new friends, and to forge new partnerships, where shared interests align,” and noted that “some of our closest allies, decades ago, fought on the opposite side of these world wars.” This should be viewed as an open hand extended to Russia, an American geopolitical foe for the last seven decades. Since 1945 Russia has greatly expanded its power, challenging the status of the United States as the world’s lone superpower. Trump believes that Russia could be persuaded to support the U.S. mission to defeat Islamic terrorism because it threatens both nations.
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