US foreign policy changes quite a bit with every administration. Whereas Cold War grand strategy was to weaken the East and dissolve URSS through arms’ race, with Obama US’s grand strategy was geared toward adapting to the global changes and figuring out what our place is in the international arena especially from an economic point of view.
One of the puzzling questions during Obama era –with the rise of China, India and Brazil- was: Have we shifted from a unipolarity to multipolarity system? How and when?
What were the globalism's implications and how did it suit our country?
What differs from the Cold War Era with today’s foreign relation is the current new world order and the former zones of influences. The tensions between the East and the West were high and this was due to the military arms’ race and the proliferation of the nuclear weapons.
Since Cold War era implies tense relationship with Russia, the 21st century strategic landscape is quite different: The priorities were worldwide concerns rather than US as a country. Thus, to provide assistance to a world (middle class citizens), without provoking resource wars, insurgencies, and the devastation of our planet ecosystem. (foreign policy.com) I must say that Obama’s years were focused mainly maintaining a sort of status quo in order to sustain the current world order.
When Donald Trump came to office, the country was – and it continues to be in economic distress and disarray. This rhetoric boosted his polls and eventually secured him a victory. That is, acknowledging that the present world order is no longer working for United States.
In the face of today’s world order, Trump foreign policy is to lead the global trade war, in order to transition to sustainability. With that being said, Trump is ultimately seeking to upgrade the current international system. It is unclear yet –or too soon- to determine that. The most challenging task that Trump faces is configuring the new world order that he is proposing and shifting from a muitipolarity back to unipolarity. Economics will be the area that US will find most of the hurdles. In fact, globalism meant economic inclusion, strong partnership, whereas the present foreign policy does not rely at all in building strong partnership, more so than reciprocity or policy that is in favor of US. Also, the sovereignty during the global era is limited to protecting, whereas Trump has extended a little further. Economic sovereignty for Trump means that the treaties and agreements cannot bind the country from not advancing economically.
When it comes to the cold War practices and tactics, this administration has been more reluctant toward Russia –regardless- their aggressive behavior in the region and Putin’s plans to consolidate Russian empire. United States has a different approach as far as the zones of interest. Proxy wars and conflicts will continue to be a more acceptable “grand strategy” than fighting a traditional war. At this point, the "weakening" of China as a world economic power seems to be in the agenda.
China, is one of the largest importers and the United States has relied on production to keep the market prices low, however, according to the President, China has not been “playing fair” and its economic tactics have hurt US economy in the long run. The trade war that the President is engaging in, could as well be devastating for China and the market here, however, I do believe that the trading system must work reciprocally. The Chinese aggressiveness has kept prices low, but has made our economy dependent on the Chinese production.
In other areas of foreign policy, Middle East also is one of the points of interest and with the arming of the Saudis, the Yemen conflict will be somewhat under control. In conclusion, the measures that US is taking at this point in time have been beefing up the military, strengthening Israel and Saudi Arabia and weakening China economically. The strength of North Korea remains an enigma and yet to see in the talks that will take place. The disagreements so far have to do more with the clash of personalities among leaders than a sizable military threat.
EU and NATO countries have their reservations toward President Trump as he had a shaky beginning with many of world leaders. But last week, the expulsion of the Russian diplomats from the NATO countries was nothing short of solidarity among the members. The expulsion was symbolic and a statement to show the Russian President Vladimir Putin that his Cold War tactics are no longer tolerated. In fact, we are yet to hear from the Russian government and in what way they will respond to the act.
Thus the factors are obvious, unpredictable and also underlying. For example when dealing with Russia the assumption is that Russia interferes with democracies to advance its agenda and weaken US and EU. On the other hand, some of the latent factors are also the interest that Russia has in different zones and where it exercises its capabilities through proxy or by arming groups/countries.