So far, the Trump presidency has been a whirlwind of activity. It has been difficult to focus on any particular issue or presidential utterance. Perhaps at some point, one will be able to discern a pattern of where all this activity is heading.
Foreign policy actions seem a fruitful avenue for investigation. President Donald Trump’s first major policy blunder seems to be in picking a fight with our closest neighbor, Mexico. The president of Mexico cancelled his scheduled meeting with Trump because of continued tensions concerning the building and paying for a wall between the two countries.
A second blunder has been Trump’s recent executive order temporarily barring anyone from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States. The order set off chaos as passengers arrived in the United States and were detained or sent back to their countries of origin. The details of this order had not been properly vetted and the proper implementation of the order was unclear. Significant protests erupted at airports throughout the country.
Additionally, Trump met with British Prime Minister Theresa May, and called the presidents of several other countries including Russian President Vladimir Putin. In a press conference with Prime Minister May, Trump again reiterated his belief that torture works, but will defer to his national security team as to implementation.
Also this week, Trump restated his position that the United States should have taken the oil when we were in Iraq, and maybe we would have another chance to do so. Such action could be seen as a war crime. The potential use of torture could also be seen as a war crime.
Finally, our new ambassador to the United Nations stated that the United States would be taking names of those countries that support us and those that don’t. What does this mean?
This is a lot of activity to absorb. The first point that needs to be made is that this administration is not yet up to speed on operating procedure. Hopefully, they will back off a bit, slow down, and think and consult before they act.
Secondly, it’s clear that the intent of this administration is to turn everything upside down. The foreign policy coming out of this White House is heading in an entirely different direction than anything we have seen since the end of World War II. No alliance is safe. No policy position is assured. Clearly much confusion and uncertainty have been generated around the world. We are in for a very bumpy ride, and perhaps worse.
I think when you combine the lack of foreign policy experience of this president with the radical nature of the policies he is currently pursuing, the immediate future is fraught with peril. No one can predict what any foreign leader may say or do in response to Trump’s actions. It behooves any adult members of the president’s cabinet, along with the Congress, the public, and yes, the media, to be on high alert, and to push back. Hopefully, such concerted attention and action will be able to prevent irreparable damage from being done to our country.