Trump Blunders by Withdrawing from Trans Pacific Partnership

Businessman Donald Trump gives a speech in front of the United States Capitol in Washington DC, September 9, 2015
Businessman Donald Trump gives a speech in front of the United States Capitol in Washington DC, September 9, 2015 (Joshua M. Hoover)

Donald Trump made good on his campaign promise to withdraw the United States from the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) on Monday.

It was one of his first acts as president — and a terrible mistake.

Not only is Trump robbing American companies of business opportunities in the Far East; he disappoints American allies in the region and cedes the initiative to China. Read more “Trump Blunders by Withdrawing from Trans Pacific Partnership”

Trump Announces American Retreat from the World

American president Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, bid farewell to Barack and Michelle Obama in Washington DC, January 20
American president Donald Trump and his wife, Melania, bid farewell to Barack and Michelle Obama in Washington DC, January 20 (DoD/Marianique Santos)

Donald Trump has given the world a chilling preview of his foreign policy.

In his inaugural address as president, the businessman promised to break with decades of international trade policy and “put America first”.

Trump said he would protect the United States “from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs.”

“Protection,” he maintained, “will lead to great prosperity and strength.”

That is not what the last century has taught us. Read more “Trump Announces American Retreat from the World”

Trump’s No Good, Very Bad, Absolutely Stupid Comments on the EU and NATO

Businessman Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 27, 2015
Businessman Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 27, 2015 (Gage Skidmore)

NATO is “obsolete”. The European Union will, and perhaps should, lose more members.

Such are the words of the president-elect of the United States and they are unequivocally terrible.

When Trump slams NATO, he is quietly whispering to deadened nightmares Europe thought it had laid to rest.

When he hopes for the EU to dissolve, he is literally trying to roll back civilization.

That’s not hyperbole. Here’s why. Read more “Trump’s No Good, Very Bad, Absolutely Stupid Comments on the EU and NATO”

In Era of Trump, Australia Looks to China for Leadership on Trade

Yoshihiko Noda Barack Obama Wen Jiabao
President Barack Obama, flanked by Prime Ministers Yoshihiko Noda of Japan and Wen Jiabao of China, attends the East Asia Summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, November 20, 2012 (State Department/William Ng)

Australia isn’t waiting for Donald Trump to assume office in January before recalibrating its foreign relations.

The island nation — America’s most reliable ally in the Pacific — has thrown its support behind Chinese trade initiatives now that the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) appears dead.

Steven Ciobo, Australia’s trade minister, told the Financial Times he would work to conclude new trade pacts with other countries in the region, including China’s proposed Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific.

“Any move that reduces barriers to trade and helps us facilitate trade, facilitate exports and drive economic growth and employment is a step in the right direction,” Ciobo said.

But there is a strategic component to this as well. Read more “In Era of Trump, Australia Looks to China for Leadership on Trade”

American Leadership in Pacific at Stake If Trump Cancels Trade Pact

Presidents Barack Obama of the United States and Park Geun-hye of South Korea walk in the garden of the Blue House in Seoul, April 25, 2014
Presidents Barack Obama of the United States and Park Geun-hye of South Korea walk in the garden of the Blue House in Seoul, April 25, 2014 (White House/Pete Souza)

One of the first victims of Donald Trump’s election victory in the United States could be the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a comprehensive trade agreement that the outgoing president, Barack Obama, had hoped to enact in the waning days of his administration.

Many Republicans in the Senate, and quite a few Democrats, support free trade in principle and understand the strategic value of the pact.

But they may balk at ratifying the treaty now that Trump, who campaigned explicitly on an anti-trade platform, is two months away from the presidency. Read more “American Leadership in Pacific at Stake If Trump Cancels Trade Pact”

Trump Could Dismantle Western International Institutions

Businessman Donald Trump makes a speech in Derry, New Hampshire, August 19, 2015
Businessman Donald Trump makes a speech in Derry, New Hampshire, August 19, 2015 (Michael Vadon)

I am sitting at Madrid airport reflecting on the reality of Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential elections yesterday. We live in a very different world from last night. The American president may be constitutionally constrained by the separation of powers, but Trump will govern with Republicans controlling both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

In any case, in foreign policy, which most directly concerns those of us outside the US, the president has considerable executive freedom of action. Read more “Trump Could Dismantle Western International Institutions”

Baltic States Have Most to Fear from Trump Victory

Estonian prime minister Taavi Rõivas and NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen deliver a news conference in Brussels, April 3, 2014
Estonian prime minister Taavi Rõivas and NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen deliver a news conference in Brussels, April 3, 2014 (NATO)

For Eastern Europe and the Baltic states in particular, a Donald Trump presidency could be disastrous. The Republican has created doubt about whether or not the United States would honor NATO’s collective defense clause, Article 5, under his leadership.

Hillary Clinton, the likely winner on Tuesday, will have to ease Eastern European anxieties while at the same time supporting a genuine European defense policy that is based on a considerable hike in budgets. Read more “Baltic States Have Most to Fear from Trump Victory”

Obama Warns Time “Not On Our Side” in Trade Talks

German chancellor Angela Merkel and American president Barack Obama talk at a G7 summit in Bavaria, June 11, 2015
German chancellor Angela Merkel and American president Barack Obama talk at a G7 summit in Bavaria, June 11, 2015 (Bundesregierung)

President Barack Obama called for progress in a transatlantic trade negotiations on Sunday, saying that time is “not on our side.”

“If we don’t complete negotiations this year, then upcoming political transitions in the United States and Europe would mean this agreement won’t be finished for quite some time,” the American leader warned during a visit to Hanover.

German chancellor Angela Merkel agreed.

“I want to very strongly express my support for using this window of time,” she said, speaking alongside Obama. “It won’t come back anytime soon.” Read more “Obama Warns Time “Not On Our Side” in Trade Talks”

Obama Counsels Americans Against Disengagement

American president Barack Obama waits backstage before participating in a panel discussion in Atlanta, Georgia, March 29
American president Barack Obama waits backstage before participating in a panel discussion in Atlanta, Georgia, March 29 (White House/Pete Souza)

President Barack Obama has counseled Americans against disengagement from the world, arguing that the importance of such things as foreign aid, trade negotiations and electrifying the African continent must not be underestimated.

Obama, who is due to step down in January, told Charlie Rose in an interview on the eve of his trip to Europe and the Middle East that “the choice is not between us going around and invading everybody and being the world’s policeman or just pulling back.”

We will be doing ourselves a great disservice if we define our leadership too narrowly, as just military, or if we abdicate that leadership and discount the role that we play.

“We built this international order,” the president said. “It has to be nurtured.”

That may occasionally require military action, he added, but more often involves American leadership on combating climate change or an international health crisis and promoting trade. Read more “Obama Counsels Americans Against Disengagement”