American Foreign Policy Under President Trump Analysis

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President Trump is taking U.S. foreign policy in a very different direction than the traditional course that has been followed since the end of the Second World War. Right after the end of the war and during the 70+ years since, the United States was the leader in establishing a world order based on cooperation with allies and multilateral agreements promoting democracy, free trade, and human rights. As the political leader of this global order, America has also been able to claim moral leadership by demanding that other countries follow and promote these same values. Since coming to office President Trump has pursued a more unilateralist approach, what he touts as an "America First" policy. Trump tends to view America's traditional global alliances as putting the U.S. at a disadvantage. He believes they cost the U.S. too much money and that U.S. allies are taking advantage of the United States by not paying a fair share of the costs, for example to maintain U.S. military and troop installations around the world. President Trump also believes many of the multilateral free trade agreements the United States has been a part of leave the U.S. at a disadvantage in global trade. Important factors fueling this world view have been the impact of globalization, which has caused many manufacturing jobs in the U.S. to relocate to low-wage countries, a fast-rising U.S. national debt, and global refugee migration patterns that have stressed border protections in the U.S. and Europe causing anxiety among many of the traditional majority populations of those countries who fear or dislike the demographic changes caused by the migration. Thus, President Trump's America First foreign policy seeks to rectify these perceived weaknesses. As a result, he has strained relations with neighboring countries and many of America's closest democratic allies by pulling the U.S. out of a number of international agreements, penalizing close trading partners by imposing, or threatening, barriers to economic trade with the United States, and by aggressively policing America's southern border with Mexico to try and stop the tide of immigrants attempting to cross the border illegally or gaining entry by making asylum requests. President Trump has also strained relations with America's traditional democratic allies by praising and working more closely with undemocratic or authoritarian leaders around the world in Russia, Saudi Arabia, North Korea, the Philippines, Egypt, Hungary, etc. President Trump and his foreign policy supporters believe the United States must put U.S. national interests above all others and be less concerned about maintaining past relationships and alliances or worrying about what other countries think of the United States. Critics of President Trump's America First foreign policy believe Trump is weakening U.S. influence around the world by destabilizing long-standing alliances with friendly countries and abandoning America's leadership role in promoting democracy and human rights around the world. 

In addition to the migration issue along the border with Mexico, one of the most recent foreign policy challenges facing the Trump administration is the situation in Venezuela. Venezuela has become an unstable country with the collapse of its economy and the growing popular uprising in the country against its government. Since 2015, approximately 3 million Venezuelans have fled the country, crossing the border into the neighboring countries of Colombia, Brazil, Ecuador, and Peru. Tens of thousands have also migrated to the United States requesting political asylum. The 2018 elections in Venezuela are widely believed to have been fraudulent, criticized by not only the United States but also Europe and many Latin American countries. President Trump recently announced that the United States will no longer recognize the current leader of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, as the legitimate leader of the country, instead recognizing an opposition member of the legislature as the country's rightful leader. The United States has also placed economic sanctions on the country making it illegal for U.S. companies to do business in Venezuela or to buy Venezuelan oil, one of the country's main sources of revenue, which makes economic conditions in that country even worse. In addition, the U.S. is encouraging theAmerican foreign policy under President Trumpto abandon its support of Maduro, which if it does will certainly bring an end to the Maduro regime. Maduro accuses the United States of illegally intervening in the affairs of Venezuela and has sought and received support from Russia and China, who are international political rivals of the United States. China is providing financial assistance, while Russia sent some military resources to Venezuela. In a recent interview, President Trump's National Security Advisor, John Bolton, said that "President Trump is determined not to see Venezuela fall under the sway of foreign powers" and become trapped in a dictatorship. Some are skeptical of President Trump's aggressive policy moves toward Venezuela, suggesting that they may be motivated more by political calculations with the upcoming 202o election in which Florida is a key battleground state where 200,000 Venezuelans live. After all, they argue, the U.S. under Trump has become friendlier with other authoritarian and dictatorial regimes, so why the increased concern and aggressiveness toward the regime in Venezuela?

There are three articles below for you to read. One discusses President Trump's "America First" shift in U.S. foreign policy given in a speech by Trump at the United Nations. Another looks at current U.S. policy toward Venezuela, while the third features the important role of Florida in U.S.-Venezuela relations. Read all three articles to expand your understanding of the topics before answering the questions. Feel free to consult additional articles or sources. 

At least 250 words in length. It must also address EACH of the following questions. Create a separate paragraph for each question:

  • With respect to the global order, do you believe it should be every country for themselves, focusing only on pursuing their own national interests, or should countries agree to be part of a global structure that establishes rules and norms that all countries are expected to follow and to cooperate with each other to advance the goals of global peace, prosperity, and human rights? If you believe countries should focus only on their own national interests, does that type of order make conflict more likely and allow stronger countries to always dominate weaker ones? If you believe there should be a more cooperative global structure with rules and norms all countries are expected to follow, does that type of order prevent countries from being able to adequately protect their national interests? Explain your position.
  • Do you believe the United States, as the leading democratic country and most powerful country in the world, has a responsibility to promote democracy and human rights around the world, or do you believe that is too idealistic and it is more important to have a practical approach and pursue a policy that focuses primarily on protecting America's political and economic interests? Explain your position.
  • Current U.S. policy toward Venezuela is aimed at forcing the current Maduro government from power by isolating it diplomatically, applying economic sanctions, and encouraging the armed forces of that country to turn on its commander-in-chief. If Maduro continues to remain in power, do you believe the U.S. should intervene more directly to force Maduro from power? If so, should military force be used if necessary? Explain your position. Also, if the United States acts more aggressively to oust Maduro from power in order to free the Venezuelan people from dictatorial rule, while simultaneously working closely with dictators in other countries, will the U.S. run the risk of appearing hypocritical and tarnish its international reputation? Why or why not? Does the global reputation of the United States even matter? Why or why not? 


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American Foreign Policy
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American Foreign Policy

Question One
International policy exists for a purpose, which explains why it is important that different
countries operate within regulations, norms, and treaties developed to operate and determine

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