Trump's foreign policy report card

President Donald Trump seated surrounded by foreign leaders including Germany's Angela Merkel, Japan's Shinzo Abe and France's Emmanuel Macron

Back in 2016, presidential candidate Donald Trump presented his vision for an "America First" foreign policy, which symbolized a radical departure from the US' longtime approach to international politics and diplomacy.

In electing Donald Trump, a political outsider, to the top job, American voters essentially gave him a mandate to follow through on these promises. So, has he?

Trade

"A continuing rape of our country."

On the 2016 campaign trail, candidate Trump said that the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) — a 12 country trade deal pushed by the Obama administration — would "rape" America's economy by imperiling the manufacturing sector, closing factories, and taking more jobs overseas.


While President Trump swiftly delivered on his promise to quit the TPP, it's clear that Trump's signature move has not had its desired effect.

Trump's protectionist policies — including an ongoing trade war with China — have in fact caused manufacturing factories to shutter in many US cities, resulting in the loss of thousands of manufacturing jobs. In the crucial swing state of Michigan, for example, there were 10,200 fewer manufacturing workers in February 2020 than the previous year. Nearly 1,800 factories — many in important swing states like Pennsylvania, Ohio and Wisconsin — were forced to shut their doors between 2016 to 2018 as automation ramped up.

To be sure, the pandemic-induced recession has pummeled America's economy across the board, but a recent report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics concludes that even before the health crisis, US manufacturing was on track to lose nearly 450,000 jobs by 2029, the most of any sector.

Meanwhile, the US trade deficit, an indicator Donald Trump repeatedly cited in the lead-up to the 2016 election to justify provoking China, has ballooned under his watch: in August of this year, the US' overall trade deficit was $67.1 billion, the highest on record since 2006. In addition, US exports to China continue to fall behind the benchmark set under the "phase one" trade deal signed by Beijing and Washington earlier this year.

Foreign conflicts and troop withdrawals

"I will never send our finest into battle unless necessary...The world must know that we do not go abroad in search of enemies."

When candidate Trump announced his bid for the White House, withdrawing troops from conflicts in far-flung places around the world — particularly in Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan — quickly emerged as a key campaign promise. And polling shows that this pledge resonated deeply with a war-weary American public.

Has Trump delivered? Somewhat. In 2017, he sent an additional 3,000 troops to war-torn Afghanistan. Today, there are still 8,600 American soldiers there, though President Trump recently tweeted that he hopes to withdraw all US troops from Afghanistan by Christmas, a pre-election forecast that reportedly delighted the Taliban and caught the Pentagon completely off-guard.

In Syria and Iraq, meanwhile, President Trump followed through on his campaign promise to "beat ISIS" by continuing the Obama administration's military campaign against the militant group. This was followed by the hasty withdrawal of around 700 US troops from northern Syria in 2019, which many observers said would endanger America's Kurdish allies, causing the US Defense Secretary to resign in protest.

Treaties

"[I will] dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran."

From the outset, candidate Trump made clear that the Obama-era Iran nuclear deal would have a short shelf life under his administration, calling it "the worst deal ever negotiated." And in 2018, President Trump followed through by walking away from the accord that was negotiated with American allies including France and Germany, and slapping fresh sanctions on Iran. On the face of it, it was a promise kept.

Similarly, having long referred to climate change as a "hoax," candidate Trump vowed to walk away from the Paris Climate Accords, signed by 200 countries, which he said would stifle American economic growth. Again, President Trump made good on a longtime pledge — but the official exit only occurs on November 4, a day after the US election, and Joe Biden has vowed to rejoin should he win.

Love him or hate him, when it comes to foreign policy Donald Trump is a... politician. While he has failed to deliver on some campaign promises, in many instances, President Trump has done exactly what American voters sent him to Washington to do.

Over the next decade, Walmart's $350 billion investment in U.S. manufacturing has the potential to:

  • Support more than 750,000 new American jobs.
  • Avoid more than 100M metric tons of CO2 emissions by working with suppliers to shift to U.S. manufacturing.
  • Advance the growth of U.S.-based suppliers.
  • Provide opportunities for more than 9,000 entrepreneurs to become Walmart suppliers and sellers through Walmart's annual Open Call.

A year and a half after millions poured into the streets of Santiago to protest inequality and the vestiges of the Pinochet dictatorship, Chileans voted this weekend to elect the 155 people who will rewrite the country's constitution.

The question now is not whether the people want change — clearly they do — but rather how much change their representatives can agree on. Overall, the new text is widely expected to beef up the role of the state in a country where a strong private sector made Chile one of Latin America's wealthiest yet also most unequal nations.

Here are a few things to bear in mind as the constitutional rewrite process kicks off.

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In January 2020, Thailand became the first nation outside of China to record a case of COVID-19. But along with neighboring countries in Southeast Asia, Thailand managed to keep the coronavirus mostly at bay last year by swiftly enforcing lockdowns and other public health measures. However, having barely rolled out COVID vaccines, in 2021 many Southeast Asian nations are now grappling with massive new outbreaks of disease. Cambodia's caseload is surging, leading Prime Minister Hun Sen to say that his country was on "the brink of death." Meanwhile, Malaysian officials struggled to enforce domestic travel restrictions during Ramadan, causing cases to skyrocket in recent weeks. We take a look at COVID-19 caseloads in Southeast Asian countries with the highest daily caseloads this year.

Morocco punishes Spain with... migrants: Spain has sent in the army to help defend the border in Ceuta, a tiny Spanish enclave on the Moroccan coast, after more than 8,000 migrants crossed over in just two days. Spanish border guards say that Morocco facilitated the migrants' departure, most of whom are Moroccan nationals, to punish Madrid for meddling in Morocco's internal affairs over Western Sahara. Last month, Madrid allowed the leader of the pro-independence Polisario Front to seek treatment for COVID in a Spanish hospital, infuriating Rabat, which claims the former Spanish colony of Western Sahara as part of its territory. The Moroccans, for their part, deny involvement in the mass exodus. However, that seems questionable given that Morocco has traditionally overreacted to any hint of Spanish support for Western Saharan independence. But Spain won't want to rock the boat too much because it needs Morocco's help to stop African migrants from flooding Ceuta and Melilla, the other Spanish enclave in Morocco. If the spat is not resolved soon, the European Union may have to step in to mediate because once the migrants are on EU soil, they are free to travel to other EU countries.

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20 million: The US will donate 20 million doses of federally authorized COVID vaccines to countries in need. This is the first time the Biden administration has agreed to send shots approved for use in America. Washington previously pledged to send by the end of June 60 million shots of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which the US has stockpiled but lacks FDA approval.

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Cyber is a tool, and sometimes a weapon. Whether espionage for commercial gain or indiscriminate attacks on critical infrastructure, actions taken in cyber space affect you directly, potentially upending even the most mundane realities of everyday life.

Watch GZERO Media and Microsoft's live conversation on cyber challenges facing governments, companies, and citizens in a Munich Security Conference "Road to Munich" event recorded today, May 18.

Event link: gzeromedia.com/globalstage

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A big reason the Chinese leader is pushing harder than ever to annex Taiwan is actually quite small. The self-governing island has an outsize manufacturing capacity for semiconductors – the little chips that bind the electrical circuits we use in our daily lives. Cell phones, laptops, modern cars, and even airplanes all rely on these tiny computer wafers. Taiwanese chip manufacturer TSMC alone makes more than half of the chips outsourced by all foreign companies, which means your iPhone likely runs on Taiwanese-made semiconductors. What would happen to the world's semiconductor chips if China were to take control of Taiwan?

Watch the episode of GZERO World with Ian Bremmer: What could spark a US-China war?

Will there be a ceasefire in Gaza? Fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas/Palestinian Islamic Jihad militants in the Gaza Strip has now entered its second week. Over the weekend, Israel intensified its bombing of the Gaza Strip, which included targeting a building that houses Al-Jazeera and AP, two foreign media outlets, causing their reporters to hastily flee the premises (Israel has so far not substantiated its claim that Hamas intelligence operatives were working in the building.) At least 42 Gazans were killed in a single Israeli strike Sunday, bringing the Palestinian death toll above 200. Meanwhile, Hamas continued to fire rockets at southern and central Israel, resulting in several casualties. On Monday, for the first time since the violent outbreak, US President Joe Biden voiced support for a ceasefire driven by the Egyptians and others. However, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's prime minister, has said that the operation will "take time," and a truce is off the table until Hamas' military capabilities are significantly degraded. Civilians on both sides continue to suffer.

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