Trump Should Be Guided by Foreign Policy Experts?

Trump Should Be Guided by Foreign Policy Experts?

Donald Trump’s critics say his foreign policy choices are foolish and dangerous. They hope he’ll be guided by the wise counsel of seasoned experts.


At a moment when US foreign policy choices have rarely been more contentious and opinions are often clouded by political approval of, or animus toward, those in charge, it is….

Time to play devil’s advocate.

Trump: A US attack is coming on the “gas killing animal” Assad.

Experts: Firing missiles at Syria comes with risks, and it won’t make things better.

The case for Trump: If Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has again used chemical weapons against Syrian civilians, he’s violated the Chemical Weapons Conventionand committed an act of pure evil. Russia, Assad’s ally, will block UN action. How can the US raise the cost of such crimes for Assad and send an unmistakable warning to those who might do such a thing in future? Who else will enforce the chemical weapons ban?


Trump: US troops should leave Syria “very soon.”

Experts: ISIS isn’t finished, and Russia won’t fight them. Don’t repeat the mistakes of the retreat from Iraq.

The case for Trump: The Russians haven’t attacked ISIS because they know the US will do it for them. When ISIS attacks Russia, as it has in the past, and when Russia and ISIS are left to fight over Syrian territory, Russians will pound ISIS as US troops and taxpayers watch from a safe distance.


Trump: Syria is not our problem.

Experts: You can’t just leave Syria to Russia and Iran.

The case for Trump: The US has spent far more in Iraq and Afghanistan than on the entire Marshall Plan. What does Washington have to show for it? How much more should the American taxpayer spend on failed projects in the Middle East?


Trump: I’ve been tough on Russia.

Experts: Trump has been soft on Russia.

The case for Trump: Trump has endorsed a National Security Strategy that labels Russia a “revisionist power” that uses “modernized forms of subversive tactics” to “interfere in the domestic political affairs of countries around the world.”


Trump: I’ve been tough with Putin.

Experts: Trump is too nice to Putin.

The case for Trump: The president has called out Putin for backing “Animal Assad” in Syria, approved sanctions on two dozen Russian oligarchs and state officials close to Putin, approved the sale of lethal weapons to Ukraine, expelled diplomats, and closed the Russian consulate in Seattle. He probably won’t let Moscow have the Miss Universe Pageant again either.


Trump: Our NATO allies are free-riding.

Experts: Criticizing NATO allies alienates valuable friends and encourages Russia to test NATO resolve.

The case for Trump: When Trump arrived in office, just five of NATO’s 28 members were spending the 2 percent of GDP on defense required of all members. Following Trump’s criticism, 15 of those governments have responded by spending more. That strengthens NATO, and it’s good for the United States.


Trump: Americans deserve better deals on trade.

Experts: Trump’s threats to existing trade deals encourage protectionism that will hurt Americans.

The case for Trump: If the president can force favorable changes to NAFTA, and if tariff threats earn concessions from China without starting the trade wars many experts fear, these moves will have helped Americans in hard-hit industries and US companies doing business overseas.

The bottom line: There are strong counter-arguments to every one of these points, but they all deserve debate that extends beyond anyone’s opinion of Donald Trump, his style, and his character.

This time last year, world health experts were speculating about why Africa appeared to have escaped the worst of the global pandemic. Younger populations? Natural immunity created by exposure to past viruses? Something else?

They can stop wondering. Africa is now in the grip of a COVID emergency.

More Show less

Get insights on the latest news in US politics from Jon Lieber, head of Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi barred two Republican members from serving on the Jan. 6 commission. What's going on?

Well, the Jan. 6 commission was designed to be a bipartisan commission, taking input from members from Democrats and Republicans. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had the opportunity to make recommendations but the Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, could always veto those recommendations. In this case, she did, saying no to two members, Jim Banks and Jim Jordan, both of whom are strongly aligned with President Trump and who voted against certifying the election results in 2020. The Republicans for the most part see the Jan. 6 commission as an opportunity to score political points against them, and the Democrats say this is going to be a fair, non-biased, and nonpartisan investigation into what happened on Jan. 6, starting with a hearing next week with some of the police officers who were involved in the battle with the protesters inside the Capitol.

More Show less

In his New York Times op-ed, David Brooks says the US is facing an identity crisis — protecting liberal and progressive values at home while doing little to stop autocrats elsewhere. But has the US really abandoned its values abroad just because it's withdrawing from Afghanistan? Ian Bremmer and Eurasia Group analyst Charles Dunst take out the Red Pen to argue that the US can advance democracy without being the world's sheriff.

More Show less

When the Tokyo Olympics begin on Friday, Japan watchers will be following more than just the performance of Japan's star athletes, including tennis star Naomi Osaka. They will also be tracking the political fortunes of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who is taking a big gamble by staging the event — amid a raging pandemic — in the face of strong and longstanding opposition from the Japanese public. What are the stakes for Suga, particularly with elections on the horizon? Eurasia Group senior analyst Ali Wyne explains.

More Show less

YouTube pulls Bolsonaro's rants: Google-owned YouTube pulled down a series of videos on the channel of Brazil's populist President Jair Bolsonaro, accusing him of spreading misinformation about the pandemic. YouTube removed more than a dozen clips for touting quack cures for coronavirus or claiming, in defiance of scientific experts, that masks don't reduce COVID transmissions. Last year, Twitter and Facebook also removed some content from Bolsonaro's feeds for similar reasons. But critics say that YouTube's move is too little too late, because Bolsonaro has been spreading misinformation about COVID since the pandemic began. Many Brazilians hold him personally responsible for the country's abysmal pandemic response, which has led to almost 550,000 deaths, the second worst toll in the world. Will YouTube's move change Bolsonaro's message? His weekly address to the nation, where he converses not only with government ministers but also various conspiracy theorists and loons, is broadcast on YouTube. Surely he doesn't want to risk losing that — or does he?

More Show less

Boycotts! Bans! Protests! Drugs! Think you've got gold medal knowledge about politics at the Olympics? Test what you know with this special Tokyo Olympics Quiz. And to stay current on all the latest political stories at the Games and around the world, subscribe here to Signal, our daily newsletter. Now, without further ado, the first question is...

More Show less

28: The UK and the EU have again failed to agree on post-Brexit trade rules for Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom. In a 28-page document, the British government had suggested further changes to trade rules that were already negotiated as part of the Brexit settlement, but Brussels was not having any of it.

More Show less

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter, Signal

GZERO World with Ian Bremmer. Watch episodes now

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter: Signal

GZERO World with Ian Bremmer. Watch episodes now

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's newsletter: Signal