Four years of a Trump foreign policy with lights and shadows

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Trump has reached a peace agreement between Israel and two Arab countries, has made an agreement with the Taliban and has met with Kim Jong Un.

The president has distanced himself from the EU, a traditional ally, and has maintained a hard fight with China, aggravated by the pandemic.

In his four years in the White House, if there is one thing that can be said about Donald Trump’s foreign policy, it is that, for better or for worse, he has broken many schemes in an area in which the United States maintained a historical bipartisan tradition and it has had some resounding successes, although other less desirable results, such as the clear departure from the EU and the continued pulse with China.

With his hackneyed motto ‘America first’ (first, the United States) and as he also did internally, a good part of the first steps he took as president were to reverse decisions made by his predecessor, Barack Obama. Thus, in June 2017 he removed the United States from the Paris Agreement against climate change and that same month he began to reverse the rapprochement sealed by the Democrat with Cuba, gradually tightening restrictions and limiting the incipient relations between the two countries.

Another of the milestones of his presidency was the withdrawal of the United States from the nuclear agreement signed in 2015 with Iran, undoubtedly one of the great achievements of Obama – along with Russia, France, the United Kingdom, Germany and China. The step taken in May 2018 contributed to sour relations with its European partners and to the reintroduction of sanctions, but without a doubt the tipping point in the battle with Tehran was yet to come.

On January 3, 2020, the United States killed in a bombardment in Baghdad General Qassem Soleimani, head of the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guard and considered the true shadow power in Iran. Although the coup raised fears of a large-scale conflict between the two countries, Tehran opted for a more contained response, limiting itself to bombing two bases with US troops in Iraq.

The other major focus of concern in these four years has been China. The president embarked on a trade war with the Asian giant, including a rise in tariffs. The coronavirus pandemic, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, has only further strained the relationship, as Trump has accused Beijing of hiding information and has not hesitated to speak of the “Chinese virus.”

HISTORICAL SUMMIT WITH KIM JONG UN
And while this was happening, the tenant of the White House was starring in a historic rapprochement with North Korea. After a few months in office in which the insults towards the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, were a constant in his messages on Twitter, even calling him a “rocket man” for the missile launches, and with several threats to attack the country , Trump took a 180-degree turn that would culminate in the historic summit between the two on July 12, 2018 in Singapore.

Beyond the good words and the commitment to a “complete denuclearization” of the Korean peninsula, the truth is that there have been no major changes since then. After a second summit in February 2019 in Vietnam, which was a resounding failure, and the historic meeting on the border between the two Koreas in June of that year, the relationship seems to have cooled, despite the fact that Trump repeatedly boasted of that Kim was his “friend” and did not skimp on praise for him.

Trump’s other major rapprochement has been with the Taliban. Despite the setback of September 2019, when the president canceled at the last minute a meeting with the Taliban at Camp David, the peace agreement with the Afghan insurgent group was finally sealed on February 29, 2020 in Qatar.

By virtue of it, the United States has promised to withdraw its troops in exchange for the Taliban not giving refuge to terrorists in Afghanistan, mainly Al Qaeda, and for them to enter into a peace process with the Afghan government, currently underway.

MIDDLE EAST
Another issue for which he will undoubtedly go down in history is his policy in the Middle East. His first trip abroad was a declaration of intent, choosing Saudi Arabia as his first destination in May 2017, followed by Israel and promising a new peace plan for the Middle East, which, however, would take almost three years to materialize.

Before that, in December of that year, he broke with decades of American politics and announced the transfer of the United States Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which took effect in May 2018. The vaunted peace plan for the East Próximo ended up arriving on January 28, 2020 and his announcement was made by Trump accompanied by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Basically, the ‘deal of the century’ designates Jerusalem as the “indivisible” capital of Israel, which would retain control of the Jewish colonies and the Jordan Valley, while Palestine would have its capital in an area of ​​East Jerusalem located outside of the security barrier installed by Israel. The Palestinian Authority rejected it outright, as did other Arab countries.

But Trump’s efforts did not end here. His Administration has facilitated the signing of Israel’s peace agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, which Washington assures that other Arab countries will soon join, among which, for now, the most desired would not be: Saudi Arabia.

Regarding the fight against terrorism, without a doubt his great achievement has been the death of the leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, who blew himself up on October 26, 2019 after being cornered during a special forces operation Americans in northwestern Syria.

Venezuela has been another of Trump’s great crusades. The president was the first world leader to recognize Juan Guaidó as the country’s “president in charge” after the head of the National Assembly proclaimed himself as such in January 2018 and ignored the government of Nicolás Maduro. The Administration has approved a whole package of sanctions with a view to suffocating Maduro’s “dictatorship”, but almost two years later the change has not occurred in the country, which is going through a serious crisis at all levels.

PULSE WITH THE UN
On the other hand, another of the sounded pulses that Trump has maintained in these four years has been with the UN, and in particular with some of its organizations. Thus, the first step was taken with the departure of UNESCO in October 2017, which would be followed by the Human Rights Council in June 2018 and which has culminated in the abandonment of the WHO for its management of COVID-19. In addition, Washington has reduced its contribution of funds to the UN, of which it is the main funder.

But if there was one area that aroused interest, it was the relationship with Russia, given the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 elections to help the tycoon. Far from what was expected, there has been no rapprochement between the two countries and Trump has only been able to meet Vladimir Putin in person on two occasions, the first a brief meeting in Warsaw, in July 2017, and the second one summit in Helsinki in June 2018.

As for the traditional ally of the United States, the European Union, the estrangement has been manifest, with numerous criticisms from the other side of the Atlantic and no less disinterest from the European continent. The relationship has also been tense within NATO, an organization made up precisely of the majority of EU countries. Trump has asked members of the Atlantic Alliance for higher defense spending, warning that the United States cannot always be the one to pay the bill.

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