When Trump believes something, instinctually, there appear to be only three possibilities. He is already correct. He will be proven to have been correct at some point in the future. Or he may simply insist—as in the case of the Iraq War—that he had always subscribed to whatever view is later proven right.
Why is Trump so out of sorts? It could be that he’s simply found, in fire-and-brimstone Donald, his latest role. Yet it seems equally likely that Trump has stumbled into an Aesop’s fable of his own making. Having received what he so fervently wished for, he’s now found that leading the free world is a miserable chore.
In the sort of diplomacy that Tillerson must conduct now, secret talks certainly have their place; for example, in forging breakthroughs like President Nixon’s opening to China or President Obama’s to Cuba. More routinely, however, diplomatic success requires using interviews, press conferences, social media, and speeches to address and shape public and legislative opinion simultaneously in multiple countries, including the United States.
Despite murmurs of prospect clashes between the world’s two trade giants, drumbeats for a China-U.S. trade war are increasingly muted when both sides underscore closer win-win economic cooperation. As the new administration of the United States sent its first cabinet-level official to China for a visit, the messenger echoed a sequence of rapport-building gestures made on the Chinese side, China’s official Xinhua News Agency said.
Rather than turn the world upside down, Donald Trump might do little more than sustain and stabilize the liberal order that emerged after World War II. That will shock those who expect the new president to shock the world. Their predictions range from hot wars to reckless acts of statecraft to utter isolationism. But presidential rhetoric aside, the early signs suggest Trump is pursuing a defense and foreign policy that looks tediously mainstream.
US President Donald Trump’s protectionist threats against China have spurred much concern. If he follows through on his promises and, say, officially labels China a currency manipulator or imposes higher import tariffs, the short-run consequences – including a trade war – could be serious. But, in the longer term, a turn toward protectionism by the United States could well be a blessing in disguise for China.
Latin Americans can’t afford to wait four years to see when the United States will be willing to have an honest and reciprocal conversation about economic prosperity in the Western Hemisphere. Luckily for the United States’s southern neighbours, over the past decade Latin America has found a new major trading partner: China.
The role and influence of the vice president, not enshrined in any law, is determined in any administration by three things: his direct relationship with the president, his building of a personal portfolio of issues, and the effectiveness of his team. When it comes to foreign policy, Vice President Pence is quietly succeeding on all three fronts.