Here we go again. The bad old days of United States foreign assistance are coming back, now that President Donald Trump signed an executive order reinstating the global gag rule on overseas discussion of abortion by individuals and organizations receiving federal funding. We have been here twice before -- under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush -- and we know that this order often backfires, leading to increased abortion rates.
With the “America First” emphasis in his truculent inaugural address, Donald Trump has signaled that a radical reorientation of American foreign policy may be in the offing. For more than 70 years, the United States has been the world’s leading champion of free trade, democracy, and international institutions, particularly in Europe and East Asia. But for how much longer?
South Korea’s domestic political vacuum following the impeachment of Park Geun-hye on December 9 overshadows prospects for renewing China-ROK relations in the year ahead. While the current cycle of DPRK provocations and international sanctions has drawn attention to vital Chinese interests in ensuring stability on the peninsula, Beijing’s deteriorating bilateral relationships with the two Koreas and the United States impede immediate regional efforts to break this cycle.
“Although Abe’s quick reach out to Trump in the wake of an election has eased some of the anxiety about the future of the alliance under new U.S. leadership, the larger uncertainty about how the new president will shake up U.S. policy toward Asia continues to shape Japanese attitudes on the transition,” writes CFR Senior Fellow Sheila Smith.
The Trump team should no doubt develop their own strategy for securing the nation in cyberspace but, in doing so, they should build off of the many successes and lessons learned from Obama’s eight years in grappling with these issues, writes Rob Knake.
Argentine President Mauricio Macri and his team can take a bow for their first year in office. Despite Macri’s outsider status and his party’s limited influence in the Congress, he in short order took on the country’s biggest economic distortions—unifying the exchange rate, resolving the fight with international creditors, cutting energy subsidies, reestablishing credible statistics, and eliminating a whole host of tariffs, quotas, and export licenses.
The belief among Egyptian, Turkish, Israeli, Saudi, and Emirati officials that the Donald J. Trump administration will demonstrate better “American leadership” in the Middle East is misguided, argues CFR’s Steven A. Cook. The lack of a coherent foreign policy means that Middle Eastern leaders will more likely than not be disappointed.
The incoming Trump administration inherits a daunting global situation. But rushing to reverse longstanding U.S. policies could generate new challenges and make existing ones harder to resolve, writes CFR President Richard N. Haass.
Thousands of key policymakers — from State to the Department of Defense — still need to be appointed to new positions. But nothing’s happening. Days before Trump steps into office, he has failed to announce enough capable replacements for the 4,000 political appointments that any president must make.
Germany’s foreign minister reports “astonishment and agitation.” The French president protests indignantly about unsolicited “outside advice .” Even Secretary of State John F. Kerry sees behavior that is “inappropriate.” President-elect Donald Trump’s weekend interview, in which he casually predicted the breakup of the European Union, has certainly attracted attention.
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 »