Trump dominated the election-year debate by proposing a more hopped-up version of foreign-policy activism than the usual advocates of activism, and a fuller kind of disengagement than those who wanted to scale down. The combination—radicalism at both ends of the spectrum—seemed the essence of his appeal. For Trump, American policy was supposed to serve only American interests. Best of all, Trump suggested, his entire approach would be free. Yes, we could be “great again”—and on the cheap. Such a blend of much more and much less could easily have seemed incoherent, or crazy. But the two halves of Trump’s formula worked together better than critics appreciated.
Thus far, President Donald J. Trump’s foreign policy resembles a traditionally realist Republican one that focuses on balance-of-power politics, dealing with other great powers on equal footing, and building coalitions for specific tasks, writes Ray Takeyh. In time, he may also recognize the importance of a robust human rights and democracy promotion policy.
Speaker: Christopher Murphy Presider: Samuel H. Feist
As Congress considers President Trump’s proposed budget cuts to the State Department and USAID, Senator Murphy unveils a dramatically different approach that calls for a near doubling of the international affairs budget as a means to ensure U.S. national security.
The big question now is whether Trump and his aides participated in the Russian hack-and-leak campaign to influence the U.S. presidential election in his favor or if Trump was just an unwitting beneficiary of Russian meddling.
President Trump’s proposal to build up the military while slashing funds for diplomacy and foreign assistance misses how “soft power” can advance the national interest, says Joseph S. Nye, who coined the term.
In an election decided by just 70,000 votes in three states, it is hard to dismiss the possibility that the Russian intervention could, in fact, have tilted the outcome. That would make this the most consequential computer hack in history, but was it an act of war?
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2016 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass. Read and download »