The overall U.S. role in the world since the end of World War II in 1945 (i.e., over the past 70 years) is generally described as one of global leadership and significant engagement in international affairs. A key aim of that role has been to promote and defend the open international order that the United States, with the support of its allies, created in the years after World War II. In addition to promoting and defending the open international order, the overall U.S. role is generally described as having been one of promoting freedom, democracy, and human rights, while criticizing and resisting authoritarianism where possible, and opposing the emergence of regional hegemons in Eurasia or a spheres-of-influence world.
Certain statements and actions from the Trump Administration have led to uncertainty about the Administration's intentions regarding the future U.S. role in the world. Based on those statements and actions, which the Administration often organizes under a theme of "America First," some observers have speculated that the Trump Administration may want to change the U.S. role in one or more ways. A change in the overall U.S. role could have profound implications for U.S. foreign policy, national security, and international economic policy, for Congress as an institution, and for many federal policies and programs.
A major dimension of the debate over the U.S. role is whether the United States should attempt to continue playing the active internationalist role that it has played for the past 70 years, or instead adopt a more restrained role that reduces U.S. involvement in world affairs. A second dimension concerns how to balance or combine the pursuit of narrowly defined U.S. interests with the goal of defending and promoting U.S. values such as democracy, freedom, and human rights. A third dimension relates to the balance between the use of so-called hard power (primarily but not exclusively military combat power) and soft power (including diplomacy, development assistance, support for international organizations, education and cultural exchanges, and the international popularity of elements of U.S. culture such as music, movies, television shows, and literature) in U.S. foreign policy.
An initial potential issue for Congress is to determine whether the Trump Administration wants to change the U.S. role, and if so, in what ways. A follow-on potential issue for Congress—arguably the central policy issue for this CRS report—is whether there should be a change in the U.S. role, and if so, what that change should be, including whether a given proposed change would be feasible or practical, and what consequences may result.
An initial aspect of this issue concerns Congress: what should be Congress's role, relative to that of the executive branch, in considering whether the U.S. role in the world should change, and if so, what that change should be? The Constitution vests Congress with several powers that can bear on the U.S. role in the world.
Another potential issue for Congress is whether a change in the U.S. role would have any implications for the preservation and use of congressional powers and prerogatives relating to foreign policy, national security, and international economic policy. A related issue is whether a change in the U.S. role would have any implications for congressional organization, capacity, and operations relating to foreign policy, national security, and international economic policy.
Policy and program areas that could be affected, perhaps substantially or even profoundly, by a changed U.S. role include the role of allies and alliances in U.S. foreign policy; the organization of, and funding levels and foreign policy priorities for, the Department of State and U.S. foreign assistance; U.S. trade and international economic policy; defense strategy and budgets; and policies and programs related to homeland security, border security, immigration, and refugees.
This report presents background information and issues for Congress on the overarching U.S. foreign policy issue of the U.S. role in the world. Certain statements and actions from the Trump Administration have led to uncertainty about the Administration's intentions regarding the future U.S. role, and have intensified an ongoing debate among foreign policy specialists, strategists, policymakers, and the public about what that role should be.
Decisions that Congress makes about the U.S. role could have substantial or even profound implications for U.S. foreign policy, national security, and international economic policy, for Congress as an institution, and for many federal policies and programs.
This report includes (particularly in its appendixes) references to other CRS products that provide more in-depth discussions of specific policy and program areas bearing on the U.S. role. Congressional inquiries relating to the specific issue areas covered in those reports should be addressed to the authors of those reports.
In this report, the term U.S. role in the world is often shortened to U.S. role.
Key terms used in this report include the following:
The U.S. role in the world since the end of World War II in 1945 (i.e., over the past 70 years) is generally described as one of global leadership and significant engagement in international affairs. A key aim of that role has been to promote and defend the open international order that the United States, with the support of its allies, created in the years after World War II. Other terms used to refer to the open international order include the liberal international order, the postwar international order, and the U.S.-led international order. It is also referred to as a rules-based order. Key elements of this order are generally said to include the following:
The creation of the open international order in the years immediately after World War II, and the defense and promotion of that order over subsequent decades, is generally seen as reflecting a desire by policymakers to avoid repeating the history of destruction and economic disruption and deprivation of the first half of the 20th century, a period that included World War I, the Great Depression, and World War II. Following World War II, the United States, along with its allies, led the creation of the open international order, and assumed the role generally described by observers as its leader and staunchest defender, largely because it was the only country with the resources and willingness to do so.
U.S. willingness to lead in the creation and sustainment of the open international order derived from a belief among U.S. policymakers that it reflected U.S. values and served U.S. security, political, and economic interests. In return for making significant and continuing investments in creating, sustaining, and enforcing the political, security, and economic institutions, organizations, and norms characterizing the open international order, the United States is viewed by supporters of the order as having received significant and continuing security, political, and economic benefits, including the maintenance of a favorable balance of power on both a global and regional level, and a leading or dominant role in establishing global rules for international trade and finance, and in operating the international organizations and institutions overseeing international trade and finance.
In addition to promoting and defending the open international order, the overall U.S. role since World War II is generally described as having been one of
Promoting freedom, democracy, and human rights, while criticizing and resisting authoritarianism where possible have been viewed as consistent not only with core U.S. political values and but also with the theory (sometimes called the democratic peace theory)5 that democratic countries are more responsive to the desires of their populations and consequently are less likely to wage wars of aggression or go to war with one another.
The goal of opposing the emergence of regional hegemons in Eurasia or a spheres-of-influence world reflects a U.S. perspective on geopolitics and grand strategy developed during and in the years immediately after World War II. A key element of this perspective is a belief that, given the amount of people, resources, and economic activity in Eurasia, a regional hegemon in Eurasia would represent a concentration of power large enough to be able to threaten vital U.S. interests.
Commentators over the years have summarized the overall U.S. role since World War II using various terms and phrases that sometimes reflect varying degrees of approval or disapproval of that role. It has been variously described as that of global leader, leader of the free world, superpower, indispensable power, system administrator, world policeman, or world hegemon. Similarly, the United States has also been described as pursuing an internationalist foreign policy, a foreign policy of global engagement or deep engagement, a foreign policy that provides global public goods, a foreign policy of liberal order building, liberal internationalism, or liberal hegemony, an interventionist foreign policy, or a foreign policy of seeking primacy or world hegemony.
Although the U.S. role has been generally stable over the past 70 years, the specifics of U.S. foreign policy for implementing that role have changed frequently for various reasons, including changes in administrations and changes in the international security environment. Any definition of the overall U.S. role has room within it to accommodate some flexibility in the specifics of U.S. foreign policy.
Certain statements and actions from the Trump Administration have led to uncertainty about the Administration's intentions regarding the future U.S. role.6 (For some examples of statements from the Trump Administration bearing on the U.S. role in the world, see Appendix A). These statements and actions, which the Administration often organizes under a theme of "America First," have led some observers to conclude or speculate that the Trump Administration may want to change the U.S. role to one that, compared to the U.S. role of the past 70 years, would be one or more of the following:
Other statements and actions from the Trump Administration, however, have led some observers to conclude or speculate that the Trump Administration may not depart, at least not in a major way, from the role that the United States has played since World War II.8
Some observers, viewing the Obama Administration's reluctance to having the United States become more heavily involved in conflicts such as those in Syria and eastern Ukraine, believe that a change in the U.S. role in a direction of reduced U.S. leadership and engagement began under the Obama Administration, and that any actions in the same general direction by the Trump Administration would therefore continue or deepen (rather than initiate) such a change. Particularly for these observers, there is a question as to whether (or where, or to what extent) the policies of the Trump Administration represent a change from or continuity with the policies of the Obama Administration.9
Discussions about whether and how the Trump Administration might change the U.S. role have waxed and waned over time in response to specific administration statements and actions, with observers sometimes expressing a view that the administration has sent mixed signals or is evolving its position on these issues, or both. It can also be noted that some foreign policy changes implemented under the Trump Administration, even ones that might be dramatic, might not necessarily reflect or contribute to a changed U.S. role, and could be consistent with a continuation of the U.S. role of the past 70 years. The same might be said of changes in foreign policy operating style (e.g., President Trump's use of Twitter).
The fact that the U.S. role has been generally stable over the past 70 years does not mean that this role was necessarily the right one for the United States or that it would be the right one in the future, particularly if the international security environment is shifting. Although the role the United States has played in the world since the end of World War II has many defenders, the merits of that role have also been a matter of recurring debate over the years, with critics sometimes offering potential alternatives.
Discussions about the Trump Administration's intentions regarding the U.S. role in the world have intensified the ongoing debate among foreign policy specialists, strategists, policymakers, and the public about what that role should be. This debate has been fueled in recent years in part by factors such as recent changes in the international security environment and projections regarding U.S. federal budget deficits and the U.S. debt (which can lead to constraints on funding available for U.S. foreign policy, national security, and international economic policy activities).10
A major dimension of the debate is whether the United States should attempt to continue playing the active internationalist role that it has played for the past 70 years, or instead adopt a more restrained role that reduces U.S. involvement in world affairs. Among U.S. strategists and foreign policy specialists, advocates of a more restrained U.S. role include (to cite a few examples) Andrew Bacevich, John Mearsheimer, Barry Posen, Christopher Preble, and Stephen Walt. These and other authors have offered multiple variations on the idea of a more restrained U.S. role, depending on the specific person or organization advocating it. Terms such as offshore balancing, offshore control, realism, strategy of restraint, or retrenchment have been used to describe some of these variations.11 These variations on the idea of a more restrained U.S. role would not necessarily match in their details a changed U.S. role that might be pursued by the Trump Administration. The debate about the U.S. role in the world, moreover, is not limited to one between those who favor continued extensive engagement along the lines of the past 70 years and those who prefer some form of a more restrained role—other options are also being promoted.12
A second major dimension within the debate over the future U.S. role concerns how to balance or combine the pursuit of narrowly defined U.S. interests with the goal of defending and promoting U.S. values such as democracy, freedom, and human rights. Participants in this debate again stake out varying positions.
A third dimension of the debate over the U.S. role in the world relates to the balance between the use of so-called hard power (primarily but not exclusively military combat power) and soft power (including diplomacy, development assistance, support for international organizations, education and cultural exchanges, and the international popularity of elements of U.S. culture such as music, movies, television shows, and literature) in U.S. foreign policy.
The question of more engagement vs. less engagement, the question of the balance or mix of narrowly defined interests and broader values, and the question of the balance between hard power and soft power form three of the most important dimensions of the debate over the U.S. role.
A change in the overall U.S. role could have profound implications for U.S. foreign policy, national security, and international economic policy, for Congress as an institution, and for many federal policies and programs. Below are brief discussions of some issues for Congress that could arise from a potential change in the U.S. role. For some of these discussions, appendixes at the end of this report provide references to additional articles and CRS reports providing more in-depth discussions.
An initial potential issue for Congress is to determine whether the Trump Administration wants to change the U.S. role, and if so, in what ways. Because many details of the Trump Administration's foreign policy have yet to be articulated and may be evolving, it is not clear that they will eventually add up to a desire to change the U.S. role in one or more ways. Potential questions that Congress may consider include the following:
A follow-on potential issue for Congress—arguably the central policy issue for this CRS report—is whether there should be a change in the U.S. role, and if so, what that change should be, including whether a given proposed change would be feasible or practical, and what consequences may result. The following sections discuss some aspects of this issue.
An initial aspect of this issue concerns Congress: what should be Congress's role, relative to that of the executive branch, in considering whether the U.S. role in the world should change, and if so, what that change should be? Regarding this question, it can be noted that Article I, Section 8, of the Constitution vests Congress with several powers that can bear on the U.S. role in the world,13 and that Article II, Section 2, states that the President shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur.
Congress can also influence the U.S. role in the world through, among other things, its "power of the purse" (including its control over appropriations for the Department of Defense, the Department of State, and foreign assistance programs), authorizations for the use of military force, approval of trade agreements and other agreements, the Senate's power to confirm the President's nominees for certain executive branch positions (including the Secretaries and other high-ranking officials in the Departments of State and Defense, as well as U.S. ambassadors), and general oversight of executive branch operations.
For a list of selected CRS reports discussing congressional powers and activities that can bear on Congress's role in determining the U.S. role in the world, see Appendix B.
As noted earlier, one major dimension of the debate on this question is whether the United States should attempt to continue playing an internationalist role that defends and promotes the open international order and resists the emergence of regional hegemons in Eurasia and a spheres-of-influence world, or instead adopt a more restrained role that reduces U.S. involvement in world affairs and puts less U.S. effort into pursuing these goals. Those who advocate a more restrained U.S. role generally argue one or more of the following:
Those who advocate continuing the U.S. role of the past 70 years generally reject the above arguments, arguing the following, for example
As also noted earlier, a second major dimension within the debate over the future U.S. role concerns how to balance or combine the pursuit of narrowly defined U.S. interests with the goal of defending and promoting U.S. values such as democracy, freedom, and human rights.
Supporters of focusing primarily on narrowly defined U.S. interests argue, among other things, that deterring potential regional aggressors and resisting the emergence of regional hegemons in Eurasia can require working with allies and partner states that have objectionable records in terms of democracy, freedom, and human rights.
Supporters of maintaining a stronger focus on U.S. values in the conduct of U.S. foreign policy argue, among other things, that these values help attract friends and allies in other countries, adding to U.S. leverage, and are a source of U.S. strength in ideological competitions with authoritarian competitor states.
As also noted earlier, a third dimension of the debate over the U.S. role in the world relates to the balance between the use of so-called hard power (primarily but not exclusively military combat power) and soft power (including diplomacy, development assistance, support for international organizations, education and cultural exchanges, and the international popularity of elements of U.S. culture such as music, movies, television shows, and literature) in U.S. foreign policy.
In presenting the Trump Administration's proposed FY2018 budget outline in March 2017, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney stated that it was not "a soft power budget. This is a hard power budget and that was done intentionally. The president very clearly wanted to send a message to our allies and to our potential adversaries that this is a strong-power administration."17 Under that budget outline, the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, and Veterans Affairs were identified for proposed budget increases, with the Department of Defense receiving the largest share of the increase (primarily for addressing readiness-related issues), while other major departments and agencies, including the Department of State, were identified for proposed budget reductions, some of them substantial in percentage terms.18
The Administration's full FY2018 budget proposal, which was submitted on May 23, 2017, is generally consistent with the budget outline that was presented in March 2018. The proposed balance between funding for hard and soft power within the budget is one of many issues that Congress is examining as it reviews and marks up the FY2018 budget. Administration officials have defended their proposed budget, including the proposed balance between hard and soft power. Some Department of Defense officials, when questioned at hearings on the proposed FY2018 defense budget, have stated that a significant reduction in funding for the Department of State and other non-defense security agencies and programs could result in increased mission demands for Department of Defense.19
One additional potential consideration for Congress concerns what some commentators have referred to as the "U.S. brand" in foreign affairs, or, in other words, America's reputation or what America is seen to stand for.20 Some observers have argued that adopting a more skeptical and transactional approach to alliances, or placing less emphasis on freedom, democracy, and human rights as universal values, could tarnish or damage a U.S. reputation as a reliable alliance partner and moral leader. Were that to happen, these observers argue, the United States could experience more difficulty in the future in attempting to attract new allies or hold the moral high ground in dealing with authoritarian countries.
Others might argue that the value of the current U.S. brand on these issues is overrated, and that changing the U.S. role could help establish a new U.S. reputation centered, for example, on an image of a country that does not go abroad in search of enemies, and that attempts to set an example for others without acting in a high-handed manner or attempting to impose its values on others. This alternative brand, they might argue, has its own value in the current and evolving global environment.
Potential questions for Congress to consider include the following:
An additional potential consideration for Congress concerns U.S. public opinion, which can be an important factor in debates over the future U.S. role in the world. Among other things, public opinion can shape the political context (and can provide the impulse) for negotiating the terms of, and for considering whether to become party to, international agreements; it can influence debates on whether and how to employ U.S. military force; and it can influence policymaker decisions on funding levels for defense and foreign affairs activities.
Foreign policy specialists, strategists, and policymakers sometimes invoke U.S. public opinion poll results in debates on the U.S. role in the world. At least one has argued that the American people "always have been the greatest constraint on America's role in the world"22 One issue relating to U.S. public opinion that observers are discussing is the extent to which the U.S. public may now believe that U.S. leaders have broken a tacit social contract under which the U.S. public has supported the costs of U.S. global leadership in return for the promise of receiving certain benefits, particularly steady increases in real incomes and the standard of living.
For additional information on U.S. public opinion regarding the U.S. role, see Appendix C.
Potential questions for Congress to consider—a number of them quite fundamental—include the following:
For examples of recent articles in which authors express varying views on what kind of role or grand strategy the United States should pursue in coming years, see Appendix D. And as mentioned earlier, for additional information on U.S. public opinion regarding the U.S. role, see Appendix C.
A potentially important issue for Congress is whether a change in the U.S. role in the world would have any implications for the preservation and use of congressional powers and prerogatives relating to foreign policy, national security, and international economic policy. A key question for Congress in this regard is whether the general pattern of presidential and congressional activities in these areas that developed over a 70-year period of general stability in the U.S. role—a pattern that developed in part as a result of deliberate delegations (or tacit ceding) of authority by Congress to the executive branch—would continue to be appropriate in a situation of a changed U.S. role. One observer states
Like other wide congressional grants of authority to the executive branch—the power to levy "emergency" tariffs comes to mind—the vast discretion over immigration Trump has inherited was a product of a different time.
Lawmakers during the post-World War II era assumed presidents of both parties agreed on certain broad lessons of prewar history, such as the need to remain widely engaged through trade and collective security, and the importance of humanitarian values—"soft power"—in U.S. foreign policy.
They did not anticipate today's breakdown in national consensus, much less that heirs to the America Firsters who had failed to attain national power before World War II could ever attain it afterward.24
Potential key questions for Congress include the following:
A related potential issue for Congress is whether a change in the U.S. role would have any implications for congressional organization, capacity, and operations relating to foreign policy, national security, and international economic policy. Congress's current organization, capacity, and pattern of operations for working on these issues evolved during a long period of general stability in the U.S. role, and may or may not be optimal for carrying out Congress's role in U.S. foreign policy given a changed U.S. role. Potential questions that Congress may consider include the following, among others:
One specific policy issue for Congress relating to the U.S. role concerns allies and alliances as an element in U.S. strategy and foreign policy. The current U.S. approach to allies and alliances reflects a belief that allies and alliances are of value to the United States for defending and promoting U.S. interests and for preventing the emergence of regional hegemons. This approach to allies and alliances has led to a global network of U.S. alliance relationships involving countries in Europe and North America (through NATO), East Asia (through a series of mostly bilateral treaties), and Latin America (through the multilateral Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance, known commonly as the Rio Treaty or Rio Pact). The approach to allies and alliances that some observers believe the Trump Administration may wish to pursue—an approach that would be more skeptical regarding the value to the United States of alliances, and more purely transactional—has led to a renewed debate over the value of allies and alliances as an element of U.S. strategy and foreign policy.
Skeptics of allies and alliances generally argue that their value to the United States is overrated, that allies are capable of defending themselves without U.S. help, that U.S. allies frequently act as free riders in their alliance relationships with the United States by shifting costs to the United States, and that alliances create a risk of drawing the United States into conflicts involving allies over issues that are not vital to the United States.
Supporters of the current U.S. approach to allies and alliances, while acknowledging the free-rider issue as something that needs to be managed, generally argue that alliances are needed and valuable for deterring potential regional aggressors and balancing against would-be potential hegemonic powers in Eurasia; that although allies might be capable of defending themselves without U.S. help, they might also choose, in the absence of U.S. help, to bandwagon with would-be regional hegemons (rather than contribute to efforts to balance against them); that alliances form a significant advantage for the United States in its dealings with other major powers, such as Russia and China (both of which largely lack similar alliance networks); that in addition to mutual defense benefit, alliances offer other benefits, particularly in peacetime, including sharing of intelligence, information, and technology and the cultivation of soft-power forms of cooperation; and that a transactional approach to alliances, which encourages the merits of each bilateral alliance relationship to be measured in isolation, overlooks the collective benefits of maintaining alliances with multiple countries in a region.
Potential questions for Congress include the following:
For examples of recent articles providing perspectives on the value of allies and alliances, see Appendix E.
Another set of policy and program issues for Congress relating to the U.S. role concerns the Department of State, U.S. participation in international organizations, and U.S. foreign assistance programs. The organization and annual funding levels of the Department of State, as well as policies and funding levels for U.S. participation in international organizations and U.S. foreign assistance programs, have evolved to reflect the generally stable U.S. role over the past 70 years—a role that has tended to assume U.S. leadership in global institutions and on issues such as foreign aid.
The Trump Administration is proposing substantial percentage reductions to the State Department's budget, U.S. funding for international organizations, and funding levels for U.S. foreign assistance programs. In addition, Secretary of State Tillerson is conducting a major review of the State Department's organization, and a number of high-ranking State Department positions remain unfilled. Potential question for Congress include the following:
For a list of selected CRS products providing overview discussions of the Department of State, U.S. participation in international organizations, and foreign assistance, see Appendix F.
Another specific policy and program issue for Congress relating to the U.S. role concerns trade and international economic policy. A key issue for Congress is whether the United States should shift to a trade policy that places less emphasis on multilateral trade organizations such as the World Trade Organization (WTO) and regional trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) or the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and more emphasis on bilateral trade agreements and protectionist measures. Potential questions for Congress regarding trade include the following:
Another key issue for Congress relates to the international economic role of the United States. During and after World War II, the United States spearheaded the creation of an international economic order built around institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank and the role of the U.S. dollar as a reserve currency. This international economic order formed a key part of the postwar open international order, and U.S. leadership in creating, maintaining, and modifying this international economic order has similarly constituted a principal aspect of U.S. global leadership since World War II. Potential questions for Congress include the following:
For a list of selected CRS products providing overview discussions of trade and international economic policy, see Appendix G.
Another specific policy and program issue for Congress relating to the U.S. role concerns U.S. defense strategy, missions, budgets, plans, and programs. As discussed in another CRS report,27 the U.S. role of the past 70 years, particularly the U.S. goal of preventing the emergence of regional hegemons in Eurasia, appears to be a major reason why the U.S. military is structured with significant strategic nuclear deterrent forces and also conventional force elements that are intended to enable the military to cross broad expanses of ocean and air space and then conduct sustained, large-scale military operations upon arrival. Force elements associated with this objective include, among other things
Consistent with a goal of being able to conduct sustained, large-scale military operations in distant locations, the United States also stations significant numbers of forces and supplies in forward locations in Europe, the Persian Gulf, and the Asia-Pacific.
A January 27, 2017, national security presidential memorandum on rebuilding the U.S. Armed Forces signed by President Trump states: "Upon transmission of a new National Security Strategy to Congress, the Secretary [of Defense] shall produce a National Defense Strategy (NDS). The goal of the NDS shall be to give the President and the Secretary maximum strategic flexibility and to determine the force structure necessary to meet requirements."28
Potential questions for Congress include the following:
For a list of selected CRS products providing overview discussions of U.S. defense strategy, budgets, plans, and programs, see Appendix H.
Another specific policy and program issue for Congress relating to the U.S. role concerns homeland security, border security, immigration policy, and policy regarding refugees. The Trump Administration has emphasized tighter border security and tighter controls on immigration as two of its top goals, and has taken or proposed a number of controversial actions in these areas. Changes relating to homeland security, border security, immigration policy, and refugees can have many possible domestic as well as foreign implications for the United States. Potential questions for Congress in this area that relate to a possible change in the U.S. role in the world include the following:
For a list of selected CRS products providing overview discussions of homeland security, border security, immigration, and refugees, see Appendix I.
This appendix presents some examples of statements from the Trump Administration bearing on the U.S. role in the world, with the most recent on top.
September 19, 2017, Speech by President Trump at United Nations
In a September 19, 2017, speech by President Trump before the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York, President Trump stated in part
For more than 70 years, in times of war and peace, the leaders of nations, movements and religions have stood before this assembly. Like them, I intend to address some of the very serious threats before us today, but also the enormous potential waiting to be unleashed.
We live in a time of extraordinary opportunity. Breakthroughs in science, technology and medicine are curing illnesses and solving problems that prior generations thought impossible to solve.
But each day also brings news of growing dangers that threaten everything we cherish and value.
Terrorists and extremists have gathered strength and spread to every region of the planet. Rogue regimes represented in this body not only support terrorists, but threaten other nations and their own people with the most destructive weapons known to humanity.
Authority and authoritarian powers seek to collapse the values, the systems and alliances that prevented conflict and tilted the world toward freedom since World War II.
International criminal networks traffic drugs, weapons, people; force dislocation and mass migration; threaten our borders. And new forms of aggression exploit technology to menace our citizens.
To put it simply, we meet at a time of both immense promise and great peril.
It is entirely up to us whether we lift the world to new heights or let it fall into a valley of disrepair.
We have it in our power, should we so choose, to lift millions from poverty, to help our citizens realize their dreams and to ensure that new generations of children are raised free from violence, hatred and fear.
This institution was founded in the aftermath of two world wars to help shape this better future. It was based on the vision that diverse nations could cooperate to protect their sovereignty, preserve their security and promote their prosperity.
It was in the same period, exactly 70 years ago, that the United States developed the Marshall Plan to help restore Europe. Those three beautiful pillars, they're pillars of peace: sovereignty, security and prosperity.
The Marshall Plan was built on the noble idea that the whole world is safer when nations are strong, independent and free. As President Truman said in his message to Congress at that time, our support of European recovery is in full accord with our support of the United Nations. The success of the United Nations depends upon the independent strength of its members.
To overcome the perils of the present and to achieve the promise of the future, we must begin with the wisdom of the past. Our success depends on a coalition of strong and independent nations that embrace their sovereignty, to promote security, prosperity and peace for themselves and for the world.
We do not expect diverse countries to share the same cultures, traditions or even systems of government. But we do expect all nations to uphold these two core sovereign duties: to respect the interests of their own people and the rights of every other sovereign nation.
This is the beautiful vision of this institution. And this is the foundation for cooperation and success. Strong, sovereign nations let diverse countries with different values, different cultures and different dreams not just coexist, but work side by side on the basis of mutual respect. Strong, sovereign nations let their people take ownership of the future and control their own destiny. And strong, sovereign nations allow individuals to flourish in the fullness of the life intended by God.
In America, we do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to watch. This week gives our country a special reason to take pride in that example.
We are celebrating the 230th anniversary of our beloved Constitution, the oldest constitution still in use in the world today. This timeless document has been the foundation of peace, prosperity and freedom for the Americans, and for countless millions around the globe whose own countries have found inspiration in its respect for human nature, human dignity and the rule of law.
The greatest (sic) in the United States Constitution is its first three, beautiful words. They are "We the people." Generations of Americans have sacrificed to maintain the promise of those words, the promise of our country and of our great history.
In America the people govern, the people rule and the people are sovereign.
I was elected not to take power, but to give power to the American people where it belongs.
In foreign affairs, we are renewing this founding principle of sovereignty. Our government's first duty is to its people, to our citizens, to serve their needs, to ensure their safety, to preserve their rights and to defend their values.
As president of the United States, I will always put America first, just like you, as the leaders of your countries, will always and should always put your countries first.
All responsible leaders have an obligation to serve their own citizens, and the nation-state remains the best vehicle for elevating the human condition.
But making a better life for our people also requires us to work together in close harmony and unity to create a more safe and peaceful future for all people.
The United States will forever be a great friend to the world, and especially to its allies. But we can no longer be taken advantage of or enter into a one-sided deal where the United States gets nothing in return.
As long as I hold this office, I will defend America's interest above all else. But in fulfilling our obligations to our own nations, we also realize that it's in everyone's interest to seek a future where all nations can be sovereign, prosperous and secure.
America does more than speak for the values expressed in the United Nations charter. Our citizens have paid the ultimate price to defend our freedom and the freedom of many nations represented in this great hall. America's devotion is measured on the battlefields where our young men and women have fought and sacrificed alongside of our allies, from the beaches of Europe, to the deserts of the Middle East, to the jungles of Asia.
It is an eternal credit to the American character that even after we and our allies emerged victorious from the bloodiest war in history, we did not seek territorial expansion or attempt to oppose and impose our way of life on others.
Instead, we helped build institutions such as this one to defend the sovereignty, security and prosperity for all.
For the diverse nations of the world, this is our hope. We want harmony and friendship, not conflict and strife. We are guided by outcomes, not ideology. We have a policy of principled realism rooted in shared goals, interests and values.
That realism forces us to confront the question facing every leader and nation in this room. It is a question we cannot escape or avoid. We will (sic) slide down the path of complacency, numb to the challenges, threats and even wars that we face, or do we have enough strength and pride to confront those dangers today so that our citizens can enjoy peace and prosperity tomorrow?
If we desire to lift up our citizens, if we aspire to the approval of history, then we must fulfill our sovereign duties to the people we faithfully represent.
We must protect our nations, their interests and their futures. We must reject threats to sovereignty, from the Ukraine to the South China Sea. We must uphold respect for law, respect for borders and respect for culture, and the peaceful engagement these allow.
And just as the founders of this body intended, we must work together and confront together those who threaten us with chaos, turmoil and terror.
The scourge of our planet today is a small group of rogue regimes that violate every principle on which the United Nations is based. They respect neither their own citizens, nor the sovereign rights of their countries.
If the righteous many do not confront the wicked few, then evil will triumph. When decent people and nations become bystanders to history, the forces of destruction only gather power and strength..
No one has shown more contempt for other nations and for the well-being of their own people than the depraved regime in North Korea....
The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea. Rocket Man is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime.
The United States is ready, willing and able. But hopefully, this will not be necessary.
That's what the United Nations is all about. That's what the United Nations is for. Let's see how they do.
It is time for North Korea to realize that the denuclearization is its only acceptable future.
The United Nations Security Council recently held two unanimous 15-to-nothing votes adopting hard-hitting resolutions against North Korea. And I want to thank China and Russia for joining the vote to impose sanctions, along with all of the other members of the Security Council. Thank you to all involved.
But we must do much more. It is time for all nations to work together to isolate the Kim regime until it ceases its hostile behavior.
We face this decision not only in North Korea. It is far past time for the nations of the world to confront another reckless regime, one that speaks openly of mass murder, vowing death to America, destruction to Israel and ruin for many leaders and nations in this room.
The Iranian government masks a corrupt dictatorship behind the false guise of a democracy. It has turned a wealthy country with a rich history and culture into an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed and chaos.
The longest suffering victims of Iran's leaders are, in fact, its own people. Rather than use its resources to improve Iranian lives, its oil profits go to fund Hezbollah and other terrorists that kill innocent Muslims and attack their peaceful Arab and Israeli neighbors.
This wealth, which rightly belongs to Iran's people, also goes to shore up Bashar al-Assad's dictatorship, fuel Yemen's civil war and undermine peace throughout the entire Middle East.
We cannot let a murderous regime continue these destabilizing activities while building dangerous missiles. And we cannot abide by an agreement if it provides cover for the eventual construction of a nuclear program.
The Iran deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into. Frankly, that deal is an embarrassment to the United States, and I don't think you've heard the last of it, believe me.
It is time for the entire world to join us in demanding that Iran's government end its pursuit of death and destruction. It is time for the regime to free all Americans and citizens of other nations that they have unjustly detained. And above all, Iran's government must stop supporting terrorists, begin serving its own people and respect the sovereign rights of its neighbors.
The entire world understands that the good people of Iran want change and, other than the vast military power of the United States, that Iran's people are what their leaders fear the most.
This is what causes the regime to restrict internet access, tear down satellite dishes, shoot unarmed student protesters and imprison political reformists.
Oppressive regimes cannot endure forever, and the day will come when the people will face a choice: Will they continue down the path of poverty, bloodshed and terror, or will the Iranian people return to the nation's proud roots as a center of civilization, culture and wealth, where their people can be happy and prosperous once again?
The Iranian regime's support for terror is in stark contrast to the recent commitments of many of its neighbors to fight terrorism and halt its finance.
In Saudi Arabia early last year, I was greatly honored to address the leaders of more than 50 Arab and Muslim nations. We agreed that all responsible nations must work together to confront terrorists and the Islamic extremism that inspires them.
We will stop radical Islamic terrorism, because we cannot allow it to tear up our nation, and indeed, to tear up the entire world. We must deny the terrorists safe haven, transit, funding and any form of support for their vile and sinister ideology. We must drive them out of our nations.
It is time to expose and hold responsible those countries who support and finance terror groups like Al Qaida, Hezbollah, the Taliban and others that slaughter innocent people.
The United States and our allies are working together throughout the Middle East to crush the loser terrorists and stop the reemergence of safe havens they use to launch attacks on all of our people.
Last month, I announced a new strategy for victory in the fight against this evil in Afghanistan. From now on, our security interests will dictate the length and scope of military operations, not arbitrary benchmarks and timetables set up by politicians. I have also totally changed the rules of engagement in our fight against the Taliban and other terrorist groups.
In Syria and Iraq, we have made big gains toward lasting defeat of ISIS. In fact, our country has achieved more against ISIS in the last eight months than it has in many, many years combined. We seek the deescalation of the Syrian conflict and a political solution that honors the will of the Syrian people.
The actions of the criminal regime of Bashar al-Assad, including the use of chemical weapons against his own citizens, even innocent children, shocked the conscience of every decent person. No society can be safe if banned chemical weapons are allowed to spread. That is why the United States carried out a missile strike on the air base that launched the attack.
We appreciate the efforts of the United Nations agencies that are providing vital humanitarian assistance in areas liberated from ISIS. And we especially thank Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon for their role in hosting refugees from the Syrian conflict.
The United States is a compassionate nation, and has spent billions and billions of dollars in helping to support this effort. We seek an approach to refugee resettlement that is designed to help these horribly treated people, and which enables their eventual return to their home countries to be part of the rebuilding process.
For the cost of resettling one refugee in the United States, we can assist more than 10 in their home region. Out of the goodness of our hearts, we offer financial assistance to hosting countries in the region, and we support recent agreements of the G-20 nations that will seek to host refugees as close to their home countries as possible. This is the safe, responsible and humanitarian approach.
For decades, the United States has dealt with migration challenges. Here in the Western Hemisphere, we have learned that over the long term uncontrolled migration is deeply unfair to both the sending and the receiving countries.
For the sending countries, it reduces domestic pressure to pursue needed political and economic reforms, and drains them of the human capital necessary to motivate and implement those reforms.
For the receiving countries, the substantial costs of uncontrolled migration are borne overwhelmingly by low-income citizens whose concerns are often ignored by both media and government.
I want to salute the work of the United Nations in seeking to address the problems that cause people to flee from their homes. The United Nations and African Union led peacekeeping missions to have invaluable contributions in stabilizing conflicts in Africa.
The United States continues to lead the world in humanitarian assistance, including famine prevention and relief in South Sudan, Somalia, and northern Nigeria and Yemen. We have invested in better health and opportunity all over the world, through programs like PEPFAR, which funds AIDS relief; the President's Malaria Initiative; the Global Health Security Agenda; the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery; and the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative, part of our commitment to empowering women all across the globe....
We also thank the secretary general for recognizing that the United Nations must reform if it is to be an effective partner in confronting threats to sovereignty, security and prosperity.
Too often, the focus of this organization has not been on results, but on bureaucracy and process. In some cases, states that seek to subvert this institution's noble ends have hijacked the very systems that are supposed to advance them.
For example, it is a massive source of embarrassment to the United Nations that some governments with egregious human rights records sit on the U.N. Human Rights Council.
The United States is one out of 193 countries in the United Nations, and yet we pay 22 percent of the entire budget and more. In fact, we pay far more than anybody realizes.
The United States bears an unfair cost burden. But, to be fair, if it could actually accomplish all of its stated goals, especially the goal of peace, this investment would easily be well worth it.
Major portions of the world are in conflict, and some, in fact, are going to Hell. But the powerful people in this room, under the guidance and auspices of the United Nations, can solve many of these vicious and complex problems.
The American people hope that one day soon the United Nations can be a much more accountable and effective advocate for human dignity and freedom around the world.
In the meantime, we believe that no nation should have to bear a disproportionate share of the burden militarily or financially. Nations of the world must take a greater role in promoting secure and prosperous societies in their own regions.
That is why, in the Western Hemisphere, the United States has stood against the corrupt, destabilizing regime in Cuba and embraced the enduring dream of the Cuban people to live in freedom.
My administration recently announced that we will not lift sanctions on the Cuban government until it makes fundamental reforms.
We have also imposed tough, calibrated sanctions on the socialist Maduro regime in Venezuela, which has brought a once-thriving nation to the brink of total collapse.
The socialist dictatorship of Nicolas Maduro has inflicted terrible pain and suffering on the good people of that country. This corrupt regime destroyed a prosperous nation by imposing a failed ideology that has produced poverty and misery everywhere it has been tried. To make matters worse, Maduro has defied his own people, stealing power from their elected representatives to preserve his disastrous rule.
The Venezuelan people are starving and their country is collapsing. Their democratic institutions are being destroyed. This situation is completely unacceptable, and we cannot stand by and watch.
As a responsible neighbor and friend, we and all others have a goal. That goal is to help them regain their freedom, recover their country and restore their democracy.
I would like to thank leaders in this room for condemning the regime and providing vital support to the Venezuelan people.
The United States has taken important steps to hold the regime accountable. We are prepared to take further action if the government of Venezuela persists on its path to impose authoritarian rule on the Venezuelan people.
We are fortunate to have incredibly strong and healthy trade relationships with many of the Latin American countries gathered here today. Our economic bond forms a critical foundation for advancing peace and prosperity for all of our people and all of our neighbors.
I ask every country represented here today to be prepared to do more to address this very real crisis. We call for the full restoration of democracy and political freedoms in Venezuela.
The problem in Venezuela is not that socialism has been poorly implemented, but that socialism has been faithfully implemented.
From the Soviet Union to Cuba to Venezuela, wherever true socialism or communism has been adopted, it has delivered anguish and devastation and failure. Those who preach the tenets of these discredited ideologies only contribute to the continued suffering of the people who live under these cruel systems.
America stands with every person living under a brutal regime. Our respect for sovereignty is also a call for action. All people deserve a government that cares for their safety, their interests and their well-being, including their prosperity.
In America, we seek stronger ties of business and trade with all nations of goodwill. But this trade must be fair and it must be reciprocal. For too long, the American people were told that mammoth multinational trade deals, unaccountable international tribunals and powerful global bureaucracies were the best way to promote their success.
But as those promises flowed, millions of jobs vanished and thousands of factories disappeared. Others gamed the system and broke the rules. And our great middle class, once the bedrock of American prosperity, was forgotten and left behind. But they are forgotten no more and they will never be forgotten again.
While America will pursue cooperation and commerce with other nations, we are renewing our commitment to the first duty of every government, the duty of (sic) our citizens. This bond is the source of America's strength and that of every responsible nation represented here today.
If this organization is to have any hope of successfully confronting the challenges before us, it will depend, as President Truman said some 70 years ago, on the independent strength of its members. If we are to embrace the opportunities of the future and overcome the present dangers together, there can be no substitute for strong, sovereign and independent nations; nations that are rooted in their histories and invested in their destinies; nations that seek allies to befriend not enemies to conquer, and most important of all, nations that are home to patriots, to men and women who are willing to sacrifice for their countries, their fellow citizens and for all that is best in the human spirit.
In remembering the great victory that led to this body's founding, we must never forget that those heroes who fought against evil, also fought for the nations that they loved. Patriotism led the Poles to die to save Poland, the French to fight for a free France, and the Brits to stand strong for Britain.
Today, if we do not invest ourselves, our hearts and our minds in our nations, if we will not build strong families, safe communities and healthy societies for ourselves, no one can do it for us. We cannot wait for someone else, for faraway countries or far off bureaucracies. We can't do it.
We must solve our problems to build our prosperity, to secure our future, or we will build vulnerable to decay, domination and defeat.
The true question for the United Nations today, for people all over the world who hope for better lives for themselves and their children, is a basic one: Are we still patriots? Do we love our nations enough to protect their sovereignty and to take ownership of their futures? Do we revere them enough to defend their interests, preserve their cultures and ensure a peaceful world for their citizens?
One of the greatest American patriots, John Adams, wrote that the American Revolution was effected before the war commenced. The revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people. That was the moment when America awoke, when we looked around and understood that we were a nation. We realized who we were, what we valued and what we would give our lives to defend. From its very first moments, the American story is the story of what is possible when people take ownership of their future.
The United States of America has been among the greatest forces for good in the history of the world and the greatest defenders of sovereignty, security and prosperity for all. Now we are calling for a great reawakening of nations, for the revival of their spirits, their pride, their people and their patriotism.
History is asking us whether we are up to the task. Our answer will be a renewal of will, a rediscovery of resolve and a rebirth of devotion. We need to defeat the enemies of humanity and unlock the potential of life itself. Our hope is a word and world (sic) of proud, independent nations that embrace their duties, seek friendship, respect others and make common cause in the greatest shared interest of all, a future of dignity and peace for the people of this wonderful Earth.
This is the true vision of the United Nations, the ancient wish of every people and the deepest yearning that lives inside every sacred soul.
So let this be our mission and let this be our message to the world: We will fight together, sacrifice together and stand together for peace, for freedom, for justice, for family, for humanity and for the almighty god who made us all.29
July 31, 2017, Opinion Column from Secretary of Commerce
A July 31, 2017, opinion column from Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross stated
The Trump administration recently celebrated the workers and businesses that make this country great. The purpose of "Made in America Week" was to recognize that, when given a fair chance to compete, Americans can make and sell some of the best, most innovative products in the world.
Unfortunately, many governments across the globe have pursued policies that put American workers and businesses at a disadvantage. For these governments, President Trump and his administration have a clear message: It is time to rebalance your trade policies so that they are fair, free and reciprocal.
Many nations express commitment to free markets while criticizing the U.S. for what they characterize as a protectionist stance. Yet these very nations engage in unfair trading practices, erect barriers to American exports, and maintain significant trade surpluses with us. They argue that our $752.5 billion trade deficit in goods last year was simply a natural and inevitable consequence of free trade. So, they contend, America should have no complaints.
Our major trading partners issue frequent statements regarding their own free-trade bona fides, but do they practice what they preach? Or are they protectionists dressed in free-market clothing?
When it comes to trade in goods, our deficits with China and the EU are $347 billion and $146.8 billion, respectively. As the nearby chart shows, China's tariffs are higher than those of the U.S. in 20 of the 22 major categories of goods. Europe imposes higher tariffs than the U.S. in 17 of 22 categories, though the chart does show that the EU and China are much different regarding tariff rates.
The EU charges a 10% tariff on imported American cars, while the U.S. imposes only a 2.5% tariff on imported European cars. Today Europe exports 1.14 million automobiles to the U.S., nearly four times as many as the U.S. exports to Europe. China, which is the world's largest automobile market, has a 25% tariff on imported vehicles and imposes even higher tariffs on luxury vehicles.
In addition to tariffs, both China and Europe enforce formidable nontariff trade barriers against imports. Examples include onerous and opaque procedures for registering and gaining certification for imports; unscientific sanitary rules, especially with regard to agricultural goods; requirements that companies build local factories; and forced technology transfers. The list goes on.
Both China and Europe also bankroll their exports through grants, low-cost loans, energy subsidies, special value-added tax refunds, and below-market real-estate sales and leases, among other means. Comparable levels of government support do not exist in the U.S. If these countries really are free traders, why do they have such formidable tariff and nontariff barriers?
Until we make better deals with our trading partners, we will never know precisely how much of our deficit in goods is due to such trickery. But there can be no question that these barriers are responsible for a significant portion of our current trade imbalance.
China is not a market economy. The Chinese government creates national champions and takes other actions that significantly distort markets. Responding to such actions with trade remedies is not protectionist. In fact, the World Trade Organization specifically permits its members to take action when other countries are subsidizing, dumping and engaging in other unfair trade practices.
Consistent with WTO rules, the U.S. has since Jan. 20 brought 54 trade-remedy actions—antidumping and countervailing duty investigations—compared with 40 brought during the same period last year. The U.S. currently has 403 outstanding orders against 42 countries.
But unfortunately, in its annual reports, the WTO consistently casts the increase of trade enforcement cases as evidence of protectionism by the countries lodging the complaints. Apparently, the possibility never occurs to the WTO that there are more trade cases because there are more trade abuses.
The WTO should protect free and fair trade among nations, not attack those trade remedies necessary to ensure a level playing field. Defending U.S. workers and businesses against this onslaught should not be mislabeled as protectionism. Insisting on fair trade is the best way to ensure the long-term strength of the international trading system.
The Trump administration believes in free and fair trade and will use every available tool to counter the protectionism of those who pledge allegiance to free trade while violating its core principles. The U.S. is working to restore a level playing field, and under President Trump's leadership, we will do so.
This is a true free-trade agenda.30
July 13, 2017, Opinion Column by Two Senior Administration Officials
A July 13, 2017, opinion column from two senior Administration officials stated
President Trump just concluded a second overseas trip to further advance America's interests and values, and to strengthen our alliances around the world. Both this and his first trip demonstrated the resurgence of American leadership to bolster common interests, affirm shared values, confront mutual threats and achieve renewed prosperity.
Discussions with world leaders highlighted extraordinary potential: vast supplies of affordable energy, untapped markets that can be opened to new commerce, a growing number of young people seeking the chance to build better futures in their homelands and new partnerships among nations that can form the basis for lasting peace. At every opportunity abroad, President Trump articulated his vision for securing the American homeland, enhancing American prosperity and advancing American influence.
Meetings in Poland and at the Group of 20 summit conference in Germany focused on building coalitions to get the best possible outcomes for America and for our allies. The United States cannot be a passive member of international organizations. We are working with friends to confront common threats, seize mutually beneficial opportunities and press for solutions to shared problems.
In Warsaw, President Trump spoke to the Polish people and reiterated our commitment to mutual support and defense of Poland and our NATO allies against common threats. He affirmed that a "strong Poland is a blessing to Europe" and that "a strong Europe is a blessing to the West and to the world."
He also met with 12 leaders of the Three Seas nations and pledged America's commitment to expanding access to affordable and reliable energy in the Baltic States, Central Europe and the Balkans. Helping countries diversify their energy sources strengthens economies, creates jobs and prevents adversaries from using energy to intimidate or coerce. During a dinner President Trump hosted with President Moon Jae-in of South Korea and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan in Hamburg, the leaders agreed on a common strategy to confront the threat of North Korea and ensure the security of Northeast Asia and the United States.
Central to President Trump's approach is that the United States will seek areas of agreement and cooperation while still protecting American interests. At the G-20, the United States supported open trade but insisted that it be fair. The G-20 communiqué recognized "the importance of reciprocal and mutually advantageous trade," and all leaders agreed to do more to eliminate excess capacity in industrial sectors such as steel. Because of American leadership, all G-20 nations joined together in making an urgent call "for the removal of market distorting subsidies and other types of support by governments" to "foster a truly level playing field."
The G-20 leaders agreed that a strong economy and a healthy planet are mutually reinforcing. America will continue to lead by example in demonstrating that market forces and technology-driven solutions are the most effective means of protecting the environment while fueling economic growth.
On migration, the leaders reaffirmed the "sovereign right of states to manage and control their borders." They discussed the need to "address the root causes of displacement" and create better opportunities for people to remain in their home countries and rebuild their communities.
Perhaps most important, President Trump affirmed on this trip that America First is grounded in American values – values that not only strengthen America but also drive progress throughout the world. America champions the dignity of every person, affirms the equality of women, celebrates innovation, protects freedom of speech and of religion, and supports free and fair markets.
For example, to help empower women across the globe, the United States joined with the World Bank in an initiative to provide more than $1 billion to advance entrepreneurship. This effort will help women in developing countries gain increased access to the capital, markets and networks needed to start and grow businesses in the modern economy. And the United States remains the world's single largest source of humanitarian assistance. At the G-20, we committed an additional $639 million to help save the lives of the millions of people threatened by famine – and called on other nations to join us in doing more to address this humanitarian catastrophe.
Of course, the United States – along with nations around the world – continues to face serious challenges, including the menace of terrorism and the threat of rogue regimes. Working with other nations allows us our best opportunity to address these challenges. For example, in a meeting with President Joko Widodo of Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim-majority nation, the two leaders affirmed the commitment made in Saudi Arabia to block funding for terrorists and those who advance their hateful ideology. In the formal communiqué on countering terrorism, all G-20 nations affirmed that we "strongly condemn all terrorist attacks worldwide and stand united and firm in the fight against terrorism and its financing." In many discussions with allies and partners at the G-20, leaders agreed that North Korea is a global threat that requires collective action.
America First is rooted in confidence that our values are worth defending and promoting. This is a time of great challenge for our friends and allies around the globe – but it is also a moment of extraordinary opportunity. The American delegation returned from the trip with tremendous optimism about the future and what the United States, our allies and our partners can achieve together.31
July 6, 2017, Speech by President Trump in Warsaw
In a July 6, 2017, speech in Warsaw, Poland, President Trump stated in part
We've come to your nation to deliver a very important message: America loves Poland, and America loves the Polish people. Thank you.
The Poles have not only greatly enriched this region, but Polish-Americans have also greatly enriched the United States, and I was truly proud to have their support in the 2016 election.
It is a profound honor to stand in this city, by this monument to the Warsaw Uprising, and to address the Polish nation that so many generations have dreamed of: a Poland that is safe, strong, and free.
President Duda and your wonderful First Lady, Agata, have welcomed us with the tremendous warmth and kindness for which Poland is known around the world. Thank you. My sincere—and I mean sincerely thank both of them. And to Prime Minister Syzdlo, a very special thanks also.
We are also pleased that former President Lech Walesa, so famous for leading the Solidarity Movement, has joined us today, also. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
On behalf of all Americans, let me also thank the entire Polish people for the generosity you have shown in welcoming our soldiers to your country. These soldiers are not only brave defenders of freedom, but also symbols of America's commitment to your security and your place in a strong and democratic Europe.
We are proudly joined on stage by American, Polish, British, and Romanian soldiers. Thank you. Thank you. Great job.
President Duda and I have just come from an incredibly successful meeting with the leaders participating in the Three Seas Initiative. To the citizens of this great region, America is eager to expand our partnership with you. We welcome stronger ties of trade and commerce as you grow your economies. And we are committed to securing your access to alternate sources of energy, so Poland and its neighbors are never again held hostage to a single supplier of energy.
Mr. President, I congratulate you, along with the President of Croatia, on your leadership of this historic Three Seas Initiative. Thank you.
This is my first visit to Central Europe as President, and I am thrilled that it could be right here at this magnificent, beautiful piece of land. It is beautiful. Poland is the geographic heart of Europe, but more importantly, in the Polish people, we see the soul of Europe. Your nation is great because your spirit is great and your spirit is strong.
For two centuries, Poland suffered constant and brutal attacks. But while Poland could be invaded and occupied, and its borders even erased from the map, it could never be erased from history or from your hearts. In those dark days, you have lost your land but you never lost your pride.
So it is with true admiration that I can say today, that from the farms and villages of your countryside to the cathedrals and squares of your great cities, Poland lives, Poland prospers, and Poland prevails.
Despite every effort to transform you, oppress you, or destroy you, you endured and overcame. You are the proud nation of Copernicus—think of that—Chopin, Saint John Paul II. Poland is a land of great heroes. And you are a people who know the true value of what you defend.
The triumph of the Polish spirit over centuries of hardship gives us all hope for a future in which good conquers evil, and peace achieves victory over war.
For Americans, Poland has been a symbol of hope since the beginning of our nation. Polish heroes and American patriots fought side by side in our War of Independence and in many wars that followed. Our soldiers still serve together today in Afghanistan and Iraq, combatting the enemies of all civilization.
For America's part, we have never given up on freedom and independence as the right and destiny of the Polish people, and we never, ever will.
Our two countries share a special bond forged by unique histories and national characters. It's a fellowship that exists only among people who have fought and bled and died for freedom.
The signs of this friendship stand in our nation's capital. Just steps from the White House, we've raised statues of men with names like Pułaski and Kościuszko. The same is true in Warsaw, where street signs carry the name of George Washington, and a monument stands to one of the world's greatest heroes, Ronald Reagan.
And so I am here today not just to visit an old ally, but to hold it up as an example for others who seek freedom and who wish to summon the courage and the will to defend our civilization. The story of Poland is the story of a people who have never lost hope, who have never been broken, and who have never, ever forgotten who they are.
AUDIENCE: Donald Trump! Donald Trump! Donald Trump!
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you so much. Such a great honor. This is a nation more than one thousand years old. Your borders were erased for more than a century and only restored just one century ago.
In 1920, in the Miracle of Vistula, Poland stopped the Soviet army bent on European conquest. Then, 19 years later in 1939, you were invaded yet again, this time by Nazi Germany from the west and the Soviet Union from the east. That's trouble. That's tough.
Under a double occupation the Polish people endured evils beyond description: the Katyn forest massacre, the occupations, the Holocaust, the Warsaw Ghetto and the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, the destruction of this beautiful capital city, and the deaths of nearly one in five Polish people. A vibrant Jewish population—the largest in Europe—was reduced to almost nothing after the Nazis systematically murdered millions of Poland's Jewish citizens, along with countless others, during that brutal occupation.
In the summer of 1944, the Nazi and Soviet armies were preparing for a terrible and bloody battle right here in Warsaw. Amid that hell on earth, the citizens of Poland rose up to defend their homeland. I am deeply honored to be joined on stage today by veterans and heroes of the Warsaw Uprising.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: What great spirit. We salute your noble sacrifice and we pledge to always remember your fight for Poland and for freedom. Thank you. Thank you.
This monument reminds us that more than 150,000 Poles died during that desperate struggle to overthrow oppression.
From the other side of the river, the Soviet armed forces stopped and waited. They watched as the Nazis ruthlessly destroyed the city, viciously murdering men, women, and children. They tried to destroy this nation forever by shattering its will to survive.
But there is a courage and a strength deep in the Polish character that no one could destroy. The Polish martyr, Bishop Michael Kozal, said it well: "More horrifying than a defeat of arms is a collapse of the human spirit."
Through four decades of communist rule, Poland and the other captive nations of Europe endured a brutal campaign to demolish freedom, your faith, your laws, your history, your identity—indeed the very essence of your culture and your humanity. Yet, through it all, you never lost that spirit. Your oppressors tried to break you, but Poland could not be broken.
And when the day came on June 2nd, 1979, and one million Poles gathered around Victory Square for their very first mass with their Polish Pope, that day, every communist in Warsaw must have known that their oppressive system would soon come crashing down. They must have known it at the exact moment during Pope John Paul II's sermon when a million Polish men, women, and children suddenly raised their voices in a single prayer. A million Polish people did not ask for wealth. They did not ask for privilege. Instead, one million Poles sang three simple words: "We Want God."
In those words, the Polish people recalled the promise of a better future. They found new courage to face down their oppressors, and they found the words to declare that Poland would be Poland once again.
As I stand here today before this incredible crowd, this faithful nation, we can still hear those voices that echo through history. Their message is as true today as ever. The people of Poland, the people of America, and the people of Europe still cry out "We want God."
Together, with Pope John Paul II, the Poles reasserted their identity as a nation devoted to God. And with that powerful declaration of who you are, you came to understand what to do and how to live. You stood in solidarity against oppression, against a lawless secret police, against a cruel and wicked system that impoverished your cities and your souls. And you won. Poland prevailed. Poland will always prevail.
AUDIENCE: Donald Trump! Donald Trump! Donald Trump!
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you. You were supported in that victory over communism by a strong alliance of free nations in the West that defied tyranny. Now, among the most committed members of the NATO Alliance, Poland has resumed its place as a leading nation of a Europe that is strong, whole, and free.
A strong Poland is a blessing to the nations of Europe, and they know that. A strong Europe is a blessing to the West and to the world. One hundred years after the entry of American forces into World War I, the transatlantic bond between the United States and Europe is as strong as ever and maybe, in many ways, even stronger.
This continent no longer confronts the specter of communism. But today we're in the West, and we have to say there are dire threats to our security and to our way of life. You see what's happening out there. They are threats. We will confront them. We will win. But they are threats.
AUDIENCE: Donald Trump! Donald Trump! Donald Trump!
PRESIDENT TRUMP: We are confronted by another oppressive ideology—one that seeks to export terrorism and extremism all around the globe. America and Europe have suffered one terror attack after another. We're going to get it to stop.
During a historic gathering in Saudi Arabia, I called on the leaders of more than 50 Muslim nations to join together to drive out this menace which threatens all of humanity. We must stand united against these shared enemies to strip them of their territory and their funding, and their networks, and any form of ideological support that they may have. While we will always welcome new citizens who share our values and love our people, our borders will always be closed to terrorism and extremism of any kind.
AUDIENCE: Donald Trump! Donald Trump! Donald Trump!
PRESIDENT TRUMP: We are fighting hard against radical Islamic terrorism, and we will prevail. We cannot accept those who reject our values and who use hatred to justify violence against the innocent.
Today, the West is also confronted by the powers that seek to test our will, undermine our confidence, and challenge our interests. To meet new forms of aggression, including propaganda, financial crimes, and cyberwarfare, we must adapt our alliance to compete effectively in new ways and on all new battlefields.
We urge Russia to cease its destabilizing activities in Ukraine and elsewhere, and its support for hostile regimes—including Syria and Iran—and to instead join the community of responsible nations in our fight against common enemies and in defense of civilization itself.
Finally, on both sides of the Atlantic, our citizens are confronted by yet another danger—one firmly within our control. This danger is invisible to some but familiar to the Poles: the steady creep of government bureaucracy that drains the vitality and wealth of the people. The West became great not because of paperwork and regulations but because people were allowed to chase their dreams and pursue their destinies.
Americans, Poles, and the nations of Europe value individual freedom and sovereignty. We must work together to confront forces, whether they come from inside or out, from the South or the East, that threaten over time to undermine these values and to erase the bonds of culture, faith and tradition that make us who we are. If left unchecked, these forces will undermine our courage, sap our spirit, and weaken our will to defend ourselves and our societies.
But just as our adversaries and enemies of the past learned here in Poland, we know that these forces, too, are doomed to fail if we want them to fail. And we do, indeed, want them to fail. They are doomed not only because our alliance is strong, our countries are resilient, and our power is unmatched. Through all of that, you have to say everything is true. Our adversaries, however, are doomed because we will never forget who we are. And if we don't forget who are, we just can't be beaten. Americans will never forget. The nations of Europe will never forget. We are the fastest and the greatest community. There is nothing like our community of nations. The world has never known anything like our community of nations.
We write symphonies. We pursue innovation. We celebrate our ancient heroes, embrace our timeless traditions and customs, and always seek to explore and discover brand-new frontiers.
We reward brilliance. We strive for excellence, and cherish inspiring works of art that honor God. We treasure the rule of law and protect the right to free speech and free expression.
We empower women as pillars of our society and of our success. We put faith and family, not government and bureaucracy, at the center of our lives. And we debate everything. We challenge everything. We seek to know everything so that we can better know ourselves.
And above all, we value the dignity of every human life, protect the rights of every person, and share the hope of every soul to live in freedom. That is who we are. Those are the priceless ties that bind us together as nations, as allies, and as a civilization.
What we have, what we inherited from our—and you know this better than anybody, and you see it today with this incredible group of people—what we've inherited from our ancestors has never existed to this extent before. And if we fail to preserve it, it will never, ever exist again. So we cannot fail.
This great community of nations has something else in common: In every one of them, it is the people, not the powerful, who have always formed the foundation of freedom and the cornerstone of our defense. The people have been that foundation here in Poland—as they were right here in Warsaw—and they were the foundation from the very, very beginning in America.
Our citizens did not win freedom together, did not survive horrors together, did not face down evil together, only to lose our freedom to a lack of pride and confidence in our values. We did not and we will not. We will never back down.
AUDIENCE: Donald Trump! Donald Trump! Donald Trump!
PRESIDENT TRUMP: As long as we know our history, we will know how to build our future. Americans know that a strong alliance of free, sovereign and independent nations is the best defense for our freedoms and for our interests. That is why my administration has demanded that all members of NATO finally meet their full and fair financial obligation.
As a result of this insistence, billions of dollars more have begun to pour into NATO. In fact, people are shocked. But billions and billions of dollars more are coming in from countries that, in my opinion, would not have been paying so quickly.
To those who would criticize our tough stance, I would point out that the United States has demonstrated not merely with words but with its actions that we stand firmly behind Article 5, the mutual defense commitment.
Words are easy, but actions are what matters. And for its own protection—and you know this, everybody knows this, everybody has to know this—Europe must do more. Europe must demonstrate that it believes in its future by investing its money to secure that future.
That is why we applaud Poland for its decision to move forward this week on acquiring from the United States the battle-tested Patriot air and missile defense system—the best anywhere in the world. That is also why we salute the Polish people for being one of the NATO countries that has actually achieved the benchmark for investment in our common defense. Thank you. Thank you, Poland. I must tell you, the example you set is truly magnificent, and we applaud Poland. Thank you.
We have to remember that our defense is not just a commitment of money, it is a commitment of will. Because as the Polish experience reminds us, the defense of the West ultimately rests not only on means but also on the will of its people to prevail and be successful and get what you have to have. The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive. Do we have the confidence in our values to defend them at any cost? Do we have enough respect for our citizens to protect our borders? Do we have the desire and the courage to preserve our civilization in the face of those who would subvert and destroy it?
We can have the largest economies and the most lethal weapons anywhere on Earth, but if we do not have strong families and strong values, then we will be weak and we will not survive. If anyone forgets the critical importance of these things, let them come to one country that never has. Let them come to Poland. And let them come here, to Warsaw, and learn the story of the Warsaw Uprising.
When they do, they should learn about Jerusalem Avenue. In August of 1944, Jerusalem Avenue was one of the main roads running east and west through this city, just as it is today.
Control of that road was crucially important to both sides in the battle for Warsaw. The German military wanted it as their most direct route to move troops and to form a very strong front. And for the Polish Home Army, the ability to pass north and south across that street was critical to keep the center of the city, and the Uprising itself, from being split apart and destroyed.
Every night, the Poles put up sandbags amid machine gun fire—and it was horrendous fire—to protect a narrow passage across Jerusalem Avenue. Every day, the enemy forces knocked them down again and again and again. Then the Poles dug a trench. Finally, they built a barricade. And the brave Polish fighters began to flow across Jerusalem Avenue. That narrow passageway, just a few feet wide, was the fragile link that kept the Uprising alive.
Between its walls, a constant stream of citizens and freedom fighters made their perilous, just perilous, sprints. They ran across that street, they ran through that street, they ran under that street—all to defend this city. "The far side was several yards away," recalled one young Polish woman named Greta. That mortality and that life was so important to her. In fact, she said, "The mortally dangerous sector of the street was soaked in the blood. It was the blood of messengers, liaison girls, and couriers."
Nazi snipers shot at anybody who crossed. Anybody who crossed, they were being shot at. Their soldiers burned every building on the street, and they used the Poles as human shields for their tanks in their effort to capture Jerusalem Avenue. The enemy never ceased its relentless assault on that small outpost of civilization. And the Poles never ceased its defense.
The Jerusalem Avenue passage required constant protection, repair, and reinforcement, but the will of its defenders did not waver, even in the face of death. And to the last days of the Uprising, the fragile crossing never, ever failed. It was never, ever forgotten. It was kept open by the Polish people.
The memories of those who perished in the Warsaw Uprising cry out across the decades, and few are clearer than the memories of those who died to build and defend the Jerusalem Avenue crossing. Those heroes remind us that the West was saved with the blood of patriots; that each generation must rise up and play their part in its defense—and that every foot of ground, and every last inch of civilization, is worth defending with your life.
Our own fight for the West does not begin on the battlefield—it begins with our minds, our wills, and our souls. Today, the ties that unite our civilization are no less vital, and demand no less defense, than that bare shred of land on which the hope of Poland once totally rested. Our freedom, our civilization, and our survival depend on these bonds of history, culture, and memory.
And today as ever, Poland is in our heart, and its people are in that fight. Just as Poland could not be broken, I declare today for the world to hear that the West will never, ever be broken. Our values will prevail. Our people will thrive. And our civilization will triumph.
AUDIENCE: Donald Trump! Donald Trump! Donald Trump!
PRESIDENT TRUMP: Thank you. So, together, let us all fight like the Poles—for family, for freedom, for country, and for God.
Thank you. God Bless You. God bless the Polish people. God bless our allies. And God bless the United States of America.
Thank you. God bless you. Thank you very much.32
May 30, 2017, Opinion Column by Two Senior Administration Officials
A May 30, 2017, opinion column from two senior Administration officials stated
President Trump just returned from nine days in the Middle East and Europe that demonstrated his America First approach to ensuring security and prosperity for our nation. America will not lead from behind. This administration will restore confidence in American leadership as we serve the American people.
America First does not mean America alone. It is a commitment to protecting and advancing our vital interests while also fostering cooperation and strengthening relationships with our allies and partners. A determination to stand up for our people and our way of life deepens our friends' respect for America.
The president is unequivocal in declaring that America's primary interest is the safety and security of our citizens. In discussions overseas, Mr. Trump encouraged others to join the U.S. in doing more to defeat the terrorist organizations that threaten peaceful nations around the world. He challenged leaders of more than 50 Muslim-majority countries to stand together "against the murder of innocent Muslims, the oppression of women, the persecution of Jews, and the slaughter of Christians."
A strong stand against terrorism is consistent with values common across all the world's great religions. After the president's historic remarks, leader after leader of Muslim-majority nations reaffirmed the president's message and committed to confronting the terrorism and extremism that plague all civilized societies. To answer the call and address these grave concerns, Saudi Arabia launched a new Global Center for Combatting Extremist Ideology, and several Middle Eastern nations signed a memorandum of understanding to create the Terrorist Financing Targeting Center, with the mission of cutting off funds to terrorist organizations.
Ensuring American economic prosperity is also critical to our national interests. In Saudi Arabia, President Trump helped facilitate $110 billion in defense investments that will strengthen regional and American security and create American jobs. He also announced nearly $270 billion in agreements with private-sector enterprises from the U.S., spanning the financial-services, energy, technology, mining and manufacturing industries. These efforts will enhance job creation and investment in America.
While meeting with European Union leaders in Brussels, the president reiterated his concern about our trade deficits with many European nations. He also emphasized the importance of reciprocity in trade and commerce. Simply put, America will treat others as they treat us. At the Group of Seven in Taormina, Sicily, where President Trump further solidified his relationships with leaders of the world's largest market economies, the members came together in the official communiqué to stand firm "against all unfair trade practices" and to foster a truly level playing field.
Strong alliances and economically thriving partners are a third vital American interest. As the president stated in Brussels, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is rooted in "the courage of our people, the strength of our resolve, and the commitments that bind us together as one." While reconfirming America's commitment to NATO and Article 5, the president challenged our allies to share equitably the responsibility for our mutual defense. We came away with new outcomes for the first time in decades: More allies are stepping up to meet their defense commitments. By asking for more buy-in, we have deepened our relationships. That is not surprising. Alliances based on mutual respect and shared responsibility are strong. And strong alliances bolster American power.
In Israel, the president affirmed that a secure, prosperous and democratic Jewish state is central to American interests in the region. The president also met with Palestinian leadership because he understands the importance of American engagement in the pursuit of a historic peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians.
We are asking a lot of our allies and partners. But in return America will once again be a true friend to our partners and the worst foe to our enemies. The president's visit showed the power of both competing to advance interests and engaging to develop relationships and foster cooperation. We have a vital interest in taking the lead internationally to advance American military, political and economic strength.
We engage with the world not to impose our way of life but to "secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity." That means identifying the interests and principles that make America uncommon and advancing them in the Middle East, with our NATO allies, with the G-7 nations and beyond.
The president embarked on his first foreign trip with a clear-eyed outlook that the world is not a "global community" but an arena where nations, nongovernmental actors and businesses engage and compete for advantage. We bring to this forum unmatched military, political, economic, cultural and moral strength. Rather than deny this elemental nature of international affairs, we embrace it.
At every stop in our journey, we delivered a clear message to our friends and partners: Where our interests align, we are open to working together to solve problems and explore opportunities. We let adversaries know that we will not only take their measure, deter conflict through strength, and defend our interests and values, but also look for areas of common interest that allow us to work together. In short, those societies that share our interests will find no friend more steadfast than the United States. Those that choose to challenge our interests will encounter the firmest resolve.
This historic trip represented a strategic shift for the United States. America First signals the restoration of American leadership and our government's traditional role overseas—to use the diplomatic, economic and military resources of the U.S. to enhance American security, promote American prosperity, and extend American influence around the world.33
May 3, 2017, Address by Secretary of State
In a May 3, 2017, address to Department of State employees, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stated
So let's talk first about my view of how you translate "America first" into our foreign policy. And I think I approach it really that it's America first for national security and economic prosperity, and that doesn't mean it comes at the expense of others. Our partnerships and our alliances are critical to our success in both of those areas. But as we have progressed over the last 20 years—and some of you could tie it back to the post-Cold War era as the world has changed, some of you can tie it back to the evolution of China since the post-Nixon era and China's rise as an economic power, and now as a growing military power—that as we participated in those changes, we were promoting relations, we were promoting economic activity, we were promoting trade with a lot of these emerging economies, and we just kind of lost track of how we were doing. And as a result, things got a little bit out of balance. And I think that's—as you hear the President talk about it, that's what he really speaks about, is: Look, things have gotten out of balance, and these are really important relationships to us and they're really important alliances, but we've got to bring them back into balance.
So whether it's our asking of NATO members to really meet their obligations, even though those were notional obligations, we understand—and aspirational obligation, we think it's important that those become concrete. And when we deal with our trading partners—that things have gotten a little out of bounds here, they've gotten a little off balance—we've got to bring that back into balance because it's not serving the interests of the American people well.
So it doesn't have to come at the expense of others, but it does have to come at an engagement with others. And so as we're building our policies around those notions, that's what we want to support. But at the end of it, it is strengthening our national security and promoting economic prosperity for the American people, and we do that, again, with a lot of partners.
Now, I think it's important to also remember that guiding all of our foreign policy actions are our fundamental values: our values around freedom, human dignity, the way people are treated. Those are our values. Those are not our policies; they're values. And the reason it's important, I think, to keep that well understood is policies can change. They do change. They should change. Policies change to adapt to the—our values never change. They're constant throughout all of this.
And so I think the real challenge many of us have as we think about constructing our policies and carrying out our policies is: How do we represent our values? And in some circumstances, if you condition our national security efforts on someone adopting our values, we probably can't achieve our national security goals or our national security interests. If we condition too heavily that others must adopt this value that we've come to over a long history of our own, it really creates obstacles to our ability to advance our national security interests, our economic interests. It doesn't mean that we leave those values on the sidelines. It doesn't mean that we don't advocate for and aspire to freedom, human dignity, and the treatment of people the world over. We do. And we will always have that on our shoulder everywhere we go.
But I think it is—I think it's really important that all of us understand the difference between policy and values, and in some circumstances, we should and do condition our policy engagements on people adopting certain actions as to how they treat people. They should. We should demand that. But that doesn't mean that's the case in every situation. And so we really have to understand, in each country or each region of the world that we're dealing with, what are our national security interests, what are our economic prosperity interests, and then as we can advocate and advance our values, we should – but the policies can do this; the values never change.
And so I would ask you to just—to the extent you could think about that a little bit, I think it's useful, because I know this is probably, for me, it's one of the most difficult areas as I've thought about how to formulate policy to advance all of these things simultaneously. It's a real challenge. And I hear from government leaders all over the world: You just can't demand that of us, we can't move that quickly, we can't adapt that quickly, okay? So it's how do we advance our national security and economic interests on this hand, our values are constant over here.
So I give you that as kind of an overarching view of how I think about the President's approach of "America first." We must secure the nation. We must protect our people. We must protect our borders. We must protect our ability to be that voice of our values now and forevermore. And we can only do that with economic prosperity. So it's foreign policy projected with a strong ability to enforce the protection of our freedoms with a strong military. And all of you that have been at this a long time understand the value of speaking with a posture of strength—not a threatening posture, but a posture of strength. People know we can back it up....
So let me turn now quickly to the last thing I wanted to talk about, which is the future and where we're going. And I alluded to this a little bit when I was commenting about the post-Cold War era. And during the Cold War – and I've had this conversation with some of you in this room before in our interactions – in many respects the Cold War was a lot easier. Things were pretty clear, the Soviet Union had a lot of things contained, and I had a conversation with Secretary-General Guterres at the UN. He described it as during the Cold War, we froze history. History just stopped in its tracks because so many of the dynamics that existed for centuries were contained. They were contained with heavy authoritarianism. And when the Cold War ended and the Soviet Union broke up, we took all of that off and history regained its march. And the world got a whole lot more complicated. And I think that's what we see. It has become much more complicated in terms of old conflicts have renewed themselves because they're not contained now. So that's the world as it is and that's the world we have to engage with.
And so I'm going to – I'm saying this as a preface to as we get into thinking about how we should deliver on mission is to be thinking about how the way we have been delivering was in many ways shaped and as a residual of the Cold War era. And in many respects, we've not yet transitioned ourselves to this new reality either. And I don't say that just about the State Department, I say that about institutions globally. In fact, this is the – this – I had this same conversation with Secretary Guterres about the United Nations, that there are many institutions – and you can see when we have our conversations with NATO, another example, but there are many institutions around the world that were created during a different era. And so they were set up to deal with certain conditions and their processes and their organizations were set up, and as things have changed, we've not really fully adapted those. It's not that we've not recognized, but we've not fully adapted how we deliver on mission.
So one of the things, as we get into this opportunity to look at how we get our work done, is to think about the world as it is today and to leave behind – we've been – well, we do it this way because we've been doing it this way for the last 30 years or 40 years or 50 years, because all of that was created in a different environment. And so I think – I guess what I'm inviting all of you to do is to approach this effort that we're going to undertake with no constraints to your thinking – with none.34
White House Statement on America First Foreign Policy
A White House statement on the Administration's America First foreign policy that was posted at the start of the Trump Administration states
America First Foreign Policy
The Trump Administration is committed to a foreign policy focused on American interests and American national security.
Peace through strength will be at the center of that foreign policy. This principle will make possible a stable, more peaceful world with less conflict and more common ground.
Defeating ISIS and other radical Islamic terror groups will be our highest priority. To defeat and destroy these groups, we will pursue aggressive joint and coalition military operations when necessary. In addition, the Trump Administration will work with international partners to cut off funding for terrorist groups, to expand intelligence sharing, and to engage in cyberwarfare to disrupt and disable propaganda and recruiting.
Next, we will rebuild the American military. Our Navy has shrunk from more than 500 ships in 1991 to 275 in 2016. Our Air Force is roughly one third smaller than in 1991. President Trump is committed to reversing this trend, because he knows that our military dominance must be unquestioned.
Finally, in pursuing a foreign policy based on American interests, we will embrace diplomacy. The world must know that we do not go abroad in search of enemies, that we are always happy when old enemies become friends, and when old friends become allies.
The world will be more peaceful and more prosperous with a stronger and more respected America.
Trade Deals Working For All Americans
For too long, Americans have been forced to accept trade deals that put the interests of insiders and the Washington elite over the hard-working men and women of this country. As a result, blue-collar towns and cities have watched their factories close and good-paying jobs move overseas, while Americans face a mounting trade deficit and a devastated manufacturing base.
With a lifetime of negotiating experience, the President understands how critical it is to put American workers and businesses first when it comes to trade. With tough and fair agreements, international trade can be used to grow our economy, return millions of jobs to America's shores, and revitalize our nation's suffering communities.
This strategy starts by withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and making certain that any new trade deals are in the interests of American workers. President Trump is committed to renegotiating NAFTA. If our partners refuse a renegotiation that gives American workers a fair deal, then the President will give notice of the United States' intent to withdraw from NAFTA.
In addition to rejecting and reworking failed trade deals, the United States will crack down on those nations that violate trade agreements and harm American workers in the process. The President will direct the Commerce Secretary to identify all trade violations and to use every tool at the federal government's disposal to end these abuses.
To carry out his strategy, the President is appointing the toughest and smartest to his trade team, ensuring that Americans have the best negotiators possible. For too long, trade deals have been negotiated by, and for, members of the Washington establishment. President Trump will ensure that on his watch, trade policies will be implemented by and for the people, and will put America first.
By fighting for fair but tough trade deals, we can bring jobs back to America's shores, increase wages, and support U.S. manufacturing.35
January 20, 2017, Inaugural Speech by President Trump
In his January 20, 2017, inaugural speech, President Trump stated
Chief Justice Roberts, President Carter, President Clinton, President Bush, President Obama, fellow Americans, and people of the world: thank you.
We, the citizens of America, are now joined in a great national effort to rebuild our country and to restore its promise for all of our people.
Together, we will determine the course of America and the world for years to come.
We will face challenges. We will confront hardships. But we will get the job done.
Every four years, we gather on these steps to carry out the orderly and peaceful transfer of power, and we are grateful to President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama for their gracious aid throughout this transition. They have been magnificent.
Today's ceremony, however, has very special meaning. Because today we are not merely transferring power from one Administration to another, or from one party to another – but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the American People.
For too long, a small group in our nation's Capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost.
Washington flourished – but the people did not share in its wealth.
Politicians prospered – but the jobs left, and the factories closed.
The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country.
Their victories have not been your victories; their triumphs have not been your triumphs; and while they celebrated in our nation's Capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.
That all changes – starting right here, and right now, because this moment is your moment: it belongs to you.
It belongs to everyone gathered here today and everyone watching all across America.
This is your day. This is your celebration.
And this, the United States of America, is your country.
What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people.
January 20th 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again.
The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.
Everyone is listening to you now.
You came by the tens of millions to become part of a historic movement the likes of which the world has never seen before.
At the center of this movement is a crucial conviction: that a nation exists to serve its citizens.
Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families, and good jobs for themselves.
These are the just and reasonable demands of a righteous public.
But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists: Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system, flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of knowledge; and the crime and gangs and drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential.
This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.
We are one nation – and their pain is our pain. Their dreams are our dreams; and their success will be our success. We share one heart, one home, and one glorious destiny.
The oath of office I take today is an oath of allegiance to all Americans.
For many decades, we've enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry;
Subsidized the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military;
We've defended other nation's borders while refusing to defend our own;
And spent trillions of dollars overseas while America's infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay.
We've made other countries rich while the wealth, strength, and confidence of our country has disappeared over the horizon.
One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores, with not even a thought about the millions upon millions of American workers left behind.
The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed across the entire world.
But that is the past. And now we are looking only to the future.
We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital, and in every hall of power.
From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land.
From this moment on, it's going to be America First.
Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families.
We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies, and destroying our jobs. Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength.
I will fight for you with every breath in my body – and I will never, ever let you down.
America will start winning again, winning like never before.
We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth. And we will bring back our dreams.
We will build new roads, and highways, and bridges, and airports, and tunnels, and railways all across our wonderful nation.
We will get our people off of welfare and back to work – rebuilding our country with American hands and American labor.
We will follow two simple rules: Buy American and Hire American.
We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world – but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first.
We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to follow.
We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones – and unite the civilized world against Radical Islamic Terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth.
At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America, and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other.
When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.
The Bible tells us, "how good and pleasant it is when God's people live together in unity."
We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity.
When America is united, America is totally unstoppable.
There should be no fear – we are protected, and we will always be protected.
We will be protected by the great men and women of our military and law enforcement and, most importantly, we are protected by God.
Finally, we must think big and dream even bigger.
In America, we understand that a nation is only living as long as it is striving.
We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action – constantly complaining but never doing anything about it.
The time for empty talk is over.
Now arrives the hour of action.
Do not let anyone tell you it cannot be done. No challenge can match the heart and fight and spirit of America.
We will not fail. Our country will thrive and prosper again.
We stand at the birth of a new millennium, ready to unlock the mysteries of space, to free the Earth from the miseries of disease, and to harness the energies, industries and technologies of tomorrow.
A new national pride will stir our souls, lift our sights, and heal our divisions.
It is time to remember that old wisdom our soldiers will never forget: that whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots, we all enjoy the same glorious freedoms, and we all salute the same great American Flag.
And whether a child is born in the urban sprawl of Detroit or the windswept plains of Nebraska, they look up at the same night sky, they fill their heart with the same dreams, and they are infused with the breath of life by the same almighty Creator.
So to all Americans, in every city near and far, small and large, from mountain to mountain, and from ocean to ocean, hear these words:
You will never be ignored again.
Your voice, your hopes, and your dreams, will define our American destiny. And your courage and goodness and love will forever guide us along the way.
Together, We Will Make America Strong Again.
We Will Make America Wealthy Again.
We Will Make America Proud Again.
We Will Make America Safe Again.
And, Yes, Together, We Will Make America Great Again. Thank you, God Bless You, And God Bless America.36
This appendix presents a list of some CRS products discussing congressional powers and activities that can bear on Congress's role in determining the U.S. role in the world. These products include the following:
Additional CRS products not listed above provide discussions of specific issues relating congressional powers and activities that can bear on Congress's role in determining the U.S. role in the world.
This appendix presents additional information on recent U.S. public opinion regarding the U.S. role in the world.
2016 Pew Research Center Survey
A May 2016 article by the Pew Research Center regarding a survey of U.S. foreign policy attitudes conducted in April 2016 states
The public views America's role in the world with considerable apprehension and concern. In fact, most Americans say it would be better if the U.S. just dealt with its own problems and let other countries deal with their own problems as best they can.
With the United States facing an array of global threats, public support for increased defense spending has climbed to its highest level since a month after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, when 50% favored more defense spending.
Currently, 35% say the U.S. should increase spending on national defense, 24% say it should be cut back and 40% say it should be kept about the same as today. The share favoring more defense spending has increased 12 percentage points (from 23%) since 2013....
The new survey, conducted April 12 to 19 among 2,008 U.S. adults, finds the public remains wary of global involvement, although on some measures, support for U.S. internationalism has increased modestly from the historically low levels found in the 2013 study.
Still, 57% of Americans want the U.S. to deal with its own problems, while letting other countries get along as best they can. Just 37% say the U.S. should help other countries deal with their problems. And more Americans say the U.S. does too much (41%), rather than too little (27%), to solve world problems, with 28% saying it is doing about the right amount.
The public's wariness toward global engagement extends to U.S. participation in the global economy. Nearly half of Americans (49%) say U.S. involvement in the global economy is a bad thing because it lowers wages and costs jobs; fewer (44%) see this as a good thing because it provides the U.S. with new markets and opportunities for growth....
While Americans remain skeptical of U.S. international involvement, many also view the United States as a less powerful and important world leader than it was a decade ago. Nearly half (46%) say the United States is a less powerful and important world leader than it was 10 years ago, while 21% say it is more powerful, and 31% say it is about as powerful as it was then.
U.S. seen as leading economic, military power. The share saying the U.S. has become less powerful has declined since 2013, from 53% to 46%, but is among the highest numbers expressing this view in the past four decades. These attitudes also are divided along partisan lines: Republicans (67%) remain more likely than independents (48%) or Democrats (26%) to say that the U.S. has become less powerful and important.
However, although many Americans believe the U.S. has become less powerful than it was in the past, the predominant view among the public is that the United States is the world's leading economic and military power.
In a separate Pew Research Center survey conducted April 4 to 24 among 1,003 U.S. adults, a majority of Americans (54%) say the United States is the world's leading economic power, with China a distant second at 34%. This is the first time, in surveys dating back to 2008, that more than half of the public has named the United States as the leading economic power.37
2016 Chicago Council on Global Affairs Report
A 2016 Chicago Council on Global Affairs report on U.S. public opinion data regarding U.S. foreign policy stated
Over the past year, Donald Trump has been able to channel the anxieties of a significant segment of the American public into a powerful political force, taking him to the doorstep of the White House. These public anxieties stem from growing concerns about the effects of globalization on the American economy and about the changing demographics of the United States.
Although Trump has been able to mobilize many of those who are most concerned about these developments, their motivating concerns are not new. They existed before Donald Trump entered the race, and they are likely to persist even if he loses the election in November 2016. Yet, uniquely among the candidates running for president this cycle, Trump has given voice to this group of Americans, notably through his tough stances on immigration and trade.
At the same time, while this segment of the American public has given Donald Trump traction in the presidential race, his views on important issues garner only minority support from the overall American public. While they are divided on expanding a wall on the US border with Mexico, Americans overall support continued immigration into the United States and favor reform to address the large population of unauthorized immigrants already in the country. Americans overall think globalization is mostly good for the United States, and they see many benefits to free trade. And the American public as a whole—including the core supporters of Donald Trump—still favors the country's traditional alliances, a shared leadership role for the United States abroad, and the preservation of US military superiority....
While Trump's views on immigration and trade clearly resonate with his core supporters, some of his other criticisms of US foreign policy are less popular among his base. For example, core Trump supporters are somewhat more cautious than other Americans of alliances and an active US role in world affairs, but in most cases they continue to favor international engagement. This serves as a reminder that despite divides on issues such as immigration and trade, the American public finds a great deal of common ground on American leadership in the world and how to achieve American goals....38
2016 Charles Koch Institute and Center for the National Interest Survey
The Charles Koch Institute and the Center for the National Interest stated the following regarding the results of a December 2016 survey of U.S. public opinion regarding U.S. foreign policy:
The Charles Koch Institute and the Center for the National Interest today released a poll of 1,000 Americans that shows voters believe focusing on diplomacy and trade are better methods of improving U.S. security than military intervention.
"More than half of Americans think that U.S. foreign policy over the last 15 years has made us less safe," said William Ruger, vice president for research and policy at the Charles Koch Institute. "Americans want the next administration to take a different approach, with many favoring more caution about committing military forces abroad while preferring greater burden sharing by our wealthy allies and diplomacy over regime change. This poll is the second since October where the Charles Koch Institute and the Center for the National Interest have identified Americans' disenchantment with the status quo. The public's call for peace and change reflect the same views they held before the election. It's time that Washington listens to a public expressing greater prudence."
"Americans see trade and diplomacy as contributing more to U.S. national security than regime change in foreign lands," said Paul J. Saunders, executive director of the Center for the National Interest. "Voters also support a strong military and more balanced alliances—though many have reservations about unconditional commitments, particularly to some new U.S. allies. The incoming administration and Congress have an important opportunity to define a new model of American leadership that moves beyond the mistakes of the last two decades."
Poll results show:
Americans Still Believe Recent U.S. Foreign Policy Has Made Them Less Safe:
• When asked if U.S. foreign policy over the last 15 years had made Americans more or less safe, a majority (52%) said less safe. Just 12% said more, while one quarter said U.S. foreign policy had no impact on their level of safety.
• When asked if U.S. foreign policy over the last 15 years had made the world more or less safe, 51% said less safe, 11% said more, and 24% said safety levels had stayed the same.
• These findings are largely the same as results from a joint CKI-CFTNI October  poll.
Americans Favor Peaceful Engagement Over Military Intervention:
• More than two-thirds of respondents (70%) agreed with the statement, "The U.S. should work with existing governments and heads of state to try to promote peace" rather than seeking to oust government by force.
• When asked which of two options would make the United States safer, 49% said prioritizing diplomacy over military intervention while just 26% said prioritizing military power over diplomacy. Another 25% were not sure.
• When asked whether the U.S. government should increase U.S. military spending, decrease it, or keep spending the same, a plurality (40%) wanted to increase spending, while nearly half either wanted to keep it the same (32%) or cut it (17%). Another 12% were not sure.
• When asked which of two options would make the United States safer, only 20% said making more attempts at regime change would improve safety, while 45% said cutting the number of U.S. attempts at regime change would improve safety. 35% were not sure.
• More than half (54%) said working more through the United Nations would improve U.S. safety, while only 26% thought working less through the United Nations would be better. 24% were not sure.
• When asked broadly about what would make the United States safer, respondents preferred expanding U.S. alliance commitments (50%) to reducing U.S. alliance commitments (27%). However, Americans did not see U.S. commitments as necessarily unconditional. Only 26% of the respondents either somewhat or strongly agreed with the statement, "In a military conflict between Russia and Latvia, Lithuania, or Estonia, the United States should automatically defend that country with American military forces." Thirty-two percent either somewhat or strongly disagreed.
• Increased trade should be part of the United States' diplomatic efforts. More than half of respondents (55%) said increasing trade would improve U.S. safety. Only 22% said decreasing trade would make the country safer. Another 23% were not sure.
• Notwithstanding significant reservations about Russia, over half of voters see that country as a potential partner. When asked whether the United States should view Russia an adversary or as a potential partner, more than half either said Russia should be viewed as both (38%) or should be viewed as a potential partner (17%). Only 33% said Russia definitely should be viewed solely as an adversary. Another 12% said they were unsure.
• American voters are unsure about the U.S. relationship with China. When asked whether they viewed China as an ally, 93% of respondents said no. However, 89% also indicated they would not characterize China as an enemy. The most accepted term for China was "competitor"—42% of respondents said they agreed with that characterization.
Americans Want Washington to Exercise Restraint Abroad:
• When asked whether Congress should impeach a president who does not get congressional approval before committing the United States to military action abroad, a plurality (39%) said yes, while just 27% said no. Another 34% were not sure.
• When asked which of two options would make the United States safer, 45% of respondents said reducing U.S. military presence abroad, 31% said increasing it, and 24% said they did not know.
• When asked which of two options would make the United States safer, 40% of respondents said decreasing the use of U.S. military force for democracy promotion internationally, 31% said increasing it, and 29% were not sure.
• When asked about troop levels in Europe, three quarters said the United States should either keep levels the same as they are today (46%) or bring home at least some of the troops (28%). Only 12% said troop levels in Europe should be expanded. A plurality (44%) said the media had not provided enough information about recent U.S. troop deployments in Europe.
• When a sked whether the United States should deploy ground troops to Syria, 55% of Americans said no, 23% said yes, and 23% were not sure. Those opposing ground troops in Syria increased by 4 percentage points since the October survey.
• When asked whether the United States should increase its military presence in the Middle East, only 22% of respondents said yes, while 35% said they would reduce U.S. presence in the Middle East. Another 29% said they wouldn't change troop levels.
Voters Want President-Elect Donald Trump to Exercise Restraint and Audit the Military:
• When asked whether President-elect Trump should audit the Pentagon, 57% said yes, 28% weren't sure, and 15% said no.
• Americans think our allies should shoulder more of the burden. When asked whether President-elect Trump should encourage NATO countries to increase or decrease their defense spending, only 8% said decrease while 41% said increase, and another 33% said President-elect Trump should encourage NATO countries to keep spending levels stable.
• When asked whether the Trump administration should strengthen the U.S. military's relationship with Saudi Arabia, only 20% said it should while 23% suggested the United States should loosen its ties with Saudi Arabia. One third (33%) said the relationship should be kept as is, while another 24% were not sure.
• When asked whether President-elect Trump should respect, renegotiate, or walk away from the Iran deal that lifted international sanctions on Iran in exchange for more scrutiny of their nuclear facilities, 32% said renegotiate, 28% said respect, 17% said walk away, and 23% were not sure.39
Comments from Observers
In a June 2016 blog post, one foreign policy specialist stated
Few things make professors happier than thinking that the public has finally begun to agree with them. No surprise, then, that John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen Walt of Harvard open their article in Foreign Affairs40—in which they propose a new "grand strategy" for the United States—by observing that "[f]or the first time in recent memory, a large number of Americans" are saying they want the same thing. The ideas Mr. Mearsheimer and Mr. Walt propose—big cuts in defense spending, withdrawals from Europe and the Middle East, a focus on China as our only real rival—deserve the discussion they will surely get. But let's put the policy merits to one side. Are the professors right to say they've now got the people behind them?
The data say no. Mr. Mearsheimer and Mr. Walt rely on an April Pew poll that found that 57% of Americans want the U.S. "to deal with its own problems." But this is what most Americans always say, no matter what "grand strategy" their leaders follow. In 2013, 80% of Pew respondents wanted to "concentrate more on our own national problems." Twenty years earlier, 78% said the same thing. And 20 years before that, 73%. On this particular question, the number today (it's dropped to 69% since 2013) is lower than it has been "in recent memory," but it's always high....
Pew's pollsters, of course, ask many different questions, and the results don't always seem entirely consistent. Still, one trend is very clear: Fewer Americans are saying they want a less activist foreign policy. Three years ago, 51% said the U.S. did "too much in helping solve world problems." This year, 41% did. This pattern—a 10-point drop in three years—holds among Democrats, Republicans, and independents.
Ask questions with a sharper policy focus, and the result is steady—sometimes growing—support for a strong U.S. global role. Majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and independents favor policies that would keep the U.S. "the only military superpower." Mr. Mearsheimer and Mr. Walt, by contrast, want to cut defense spending. Only 24% of Americans agree. (That share, also, is down from five years ago, and support for an increase has almost tripled, from 13% to 35%.) The professors want to pull all U.S. forces out of Europe and let our allies handle Russia on their own. Fine, but 77% of the American public thinks that NATO is good for the United States, and almost as many Americans (42%) view Russia as a "major threat" as see China that way (50%).41
In an April 2017 blog post, this same foreign policy specialist stated
Every 20 years or so—the regularity is a little astonishing—Americans hold a serious debate about their place in the world. What, they ask, is going wrong? And how can it be fixed? The discussion, moreover, almost always starts the same way. Having extricated itself with some success from a costly war, the United States then embraces a scaled-down foreign policy, the better to avoid overcommitment. But when unexpected challenges arise, people start asking whether the new, more limited strategy is robust enough. Politicians and policy makers, scholars and experts, journalists and pundits, the public at large, even representatives of other governments (both friendly and less friendly) all take part in the back-and-forth. They want to know whether America, despite its decision to do less, should go back to doing more—and whether it can.
The reasons for doubt are remarkably similar from one period of discussion to the next. Some argue that the U.S. economy is no longer big enough to sustain a global role of the old kind, or that domestic problems should take priority. Others ask whether the public is ready for new exertions. The foreign-policy establishment may seem too divided, and a viable consensus too hard to reestablish. Many insist that big international problems no longer lend themselves to Washington's solutions, least of all to military ones. American "leadership," it is said, won't work so well in our brave new world....
Polls suggested [in 2016] that [the public], too, was open to new approaches—but unsure how to choose among them. In May 2016, the Pew Research Center reported that 70 percent of voters wanted the next president to focus on domestic affairs rather than foreign policy. In the same poll, Pew found that majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and independents favored policies that would keep the United States "the only military superpower." Not for the first time, it seemed that Americans wanted to have it all....
... the two halves of Trump's formula worked together better than critics appreciated. He sensed that the public wanted relief from the burdens of global leadership without losing the thrill of nationalist self-assertion. America could cut back its investment in world order with no whiff of retreat. It would still boss others around, even bend them to its will. Trump embraced Bernie Sanders's economics without George McGovern's geopolitics. Of self-identified conservative Republicans, 70 percent told Pew last year that they wanted the U.S. to retain its global military dominance. "Make America Great Again" was a slogan aimed right at them.
Trump's more-and-less strategy also helped him with those who wanted a bristly, muscular America but did not want endless military involvements. Rejecting "nation building" abroad so as to focus on the home front was Trump's way of assuring voters that he knew how to avoid imperial overstretch. He offered supporters the glow of a Ronald Reagan experience—without the George W. Bush tab.42
Commenting on the 2016 Charles Koch Institute-Center for the National Interest poll discussed earlier, a December 2016 blog post from staff of The National Interest stated
With the election of Donald Trump to the presidency, the American public opted for change. A new poll from the Charles Koch Institute and Center for the National Interest on America and foreign affairs indicates that the desire for a fresh start may be particularly pronounced in the foreign policy sphere. In many areas the responses align with what Donald Trump was saying during the presidential campaign—and in other areas, there are a number of Americans who don't have strong views. There may be a real opportunity for Trump to redefine the foreign policy debate. He may have a ready-made base of support and find that other Americans are persuadable.
Two key questions centering on whether U.S. foreign policy has made Americans more or less safe and whether U.S. foreign policy has made the rest of the world more or less safe show that a majority of the public is convinced that—in both cases—the answer is that it has not. 51.9 percent say that American foreign policy has not enhanced our security; 51.1 percent say that it has also had a deleterious effect abroad. The responses indicate that the successive wars in the Middle East, ranging from Afghanistan to Iraq to Libya, have not promoted but, rather, undermined a sense of security among Americans.
The poll results indicate that this sentiment has translated into nearly 35 percent of respondents wanted a decreased military footprint in the Middle East, with about 30 percent simply wanting to keep things where they stand. When it comes to America's key relationship with Saudi Arabia, 23.2 percent indicate that they would favor weaker military ties, while 24 percent say they are simply unsure. Over half of Americans do not want to deploy ground troops to Syria. Overall, 45.4 percent say that they believe that it would enhance American security to reduce our military presence abroad, while 30.9 percent say that it should be increased.
That Americans are adopting a more equivocal approach overall towards other countries seems clear. When provided with a list of adjectives to describe relationship, very few Americans were prepared to choose the extremes of friend or foe. The most popular term was the fairly neutral term "competitor." The mood appears to be similarly ambivalent about NATO. When asked whether the U.S. should automatically defend Latvia, Lithuania, or Estonia in a military conflict with Russia, 26.1 percent say that they neither agree nor disagree. 22 percent say that they disagree and a mere 16.8 percent say that they agree. Similarly, when queried about whether the inclusion of Montenegro makes America safer, no less than 63.6 percent say that they don't know or are not sure. About Russia itself, 37.8 percent indicate they see it as both an adversary and a potential partner. That they still see it as a potential partner is remarkable given the tenor of the current media climate.
The poll results underscore that Americans are uneasy with the status quo. U.S. foreign policy in particular is perceived as a failure and Americans want to see a change, endorsing views and stands that might previously have been seen as existing on the fringe of debate about America's proper role abroad. Instead of militarism and adventurism, Americans are more keen on a cooperative world, in which trade and diplomacy are the principal means of engaging other nations. 49 percent of the respondents indicate that they would prioritize diplomacy over military power, while 26.3 percent argue for the reverse. 54 percent argue that the U.S. should work more through the United Nations to improve its security. Moreover, a clear majority of those polled stated that they believed that increasing trade would help to make the United States safer. In a year that has been anything but normal, perhaps Trump is onto something with his talk of burden sharing and a more critical look at the regnant establishment foreign policy that has prevailed until now.43
In December 2016, two Australian foreign policy analysts, stated
The 2016 presidential election demonstrated the rise of a "restraint constituency" in American politics that openly questions Washington's bipartisan post-Cold War pursuit of a grand strategy of primacy or liberal hegemony. This constituency has been animated by the return of the Jacksonian tradition of American foreign policy, most notably in the candidacy of Donald Trump, which directly questions the benefits of alliance relationships as well as U.S. underwriting of an open global economic system. It also stresses the need for the United States to act unilaterally in defense of its core foreign policy interests. The resurgence of the Jacksonian tradition will make it difficult for the next President to reestablish a foreign policy consensus and combat perceptions of American decline."44
Some scholars have suggested that the Jacksonian tradition in U.S. foreign policy mentioned in the quote above has had "a long history of political struggles with liberal internationalism...."45 Jacksonianism, in this view, embodies a tradition reflecting an idea of the United States and its people being freed from the burdens of global leadership.
Some commentators have suggested that in the United States a series of crises has "destroyed [public] confidence in the competence and probity of financial, economic, and policy-making elites," and that belief in the fairness of the postwar international system has been seriously eroded.46 In a May 2017 blog post, one foreign policy specialist stated
Over a period of decades, the American people and their elected representatives funded defense expenditures far greater than what would have been necessary simply to protect the continental United States. They faced up to the idea that American troops might fight and die to defend faraway frontiers. And they accepted—often reluctantly—the notion that Washington should take primary responsibility for leading the global economy, U.S. alliances, and international institutions, despite the myriad costs and frustrations involved.
Americans accepted these costs not out of any special altruism, of course, but because they believed the benefits of living in—and leading—a stable, prosperous, and liberal world order were ultimately greater. But if the postwar era was thus characterized, as G. John Ikenberry and Daniel Deudney write, by a "bipartisan consensus…on the paramount importance of American leadership," then the 2016 presidential election and its results surely called into question whether that consensus still exists....
So, was the 2016 election merely an aberration within the long history of American internationalism? Or does Trump's victory indicate deeper and perhaps more irrevocable changes in American attitudes on foreign affairs? As it turns out, there are two plausible interpretations of this issue, and they point in very different directions....
If political support for American internationalism was plummeting, one would expect to see unambiguous downturns in public opinion toward U.S. alliances, international trade, and other key initiatives. Yet while there certainly are signs of public alienation from American internationalism – as discussed subsequently – most recent polling data tells a different story.
According to public opinion surveys taken in the heat of the 2016 campaign, for instance, 65 percent of Americans saw globalization as "mostly good" for the United States, and 64 percent saw international trade as "good for their own standard of living." Even the Trans-Pacific Partnership – which Clinton disowned under pressure from Sanders, and which Trump used as a political punching bag – enjoyed 60 percent support. Reaching back slightly further to 2013, an overwhelming majority – 77 percent – of Americans believed that trade and business ties to other countries were either "somewhat good" or "very good" for the United States. In other words, if Americans are in wholesale revolt against globalization, most public opinion polls are not capturing that discontent.
Nor are they registering a broad popular backlash against other aspects of American internationalism. Although Trump delighted in disparaging U.S. alliances during the campaign, some 77 percent of Americans still saw being a member of NATO as a good thing. A remarkable 89 percent believed that maintaining U.S. alliances was "very or somewhat effective at achieving U.S. foreign policy goals."
Similarly, recent opinion polls have revealed little evidence that the American public is demanding significant military retrenchment. In 2016, three-quarters of respondents believed that defense spending should rise or stay the same. The proposition favoring more defense spending had actually increased significantly (from 23 percent to 35 percent) since 2013. Support for maintaining overseas bases and forward deployments of U.S. troops was also strong. And regarding military intervention, recent polls have indeed shown a widespread belief that the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were not worth the cost, but these sentiments do not seem to have translated into a broader skepticism regarding the utility of military force. In 2016, for instance, 62 percent of Americans approved of the military campaign against the Islamic State, demonstrating broad agreement that the United States should be willing to use the sword – even in faraway places – when threats emerge.
Polling on other issues reveals still more of the same. For all of Trump's critiques of international institutions, international law, and multilateralism, nearly two-third of Americans (64 percent) viewed the United Nations favorably in 2016 and 71 percent supported U.S. participation in the Paris Agreement on combating climate change. And, although polls indicating that over 50 percent of Americans now prefer to let other countries "get along as best they can" on their own are far more troubling, here too the overall picture painted by recent survey data is somewhat brighter. As of 2016, more than half – 55 percent – of Americans believed that the United States either did too little or the right amount in confronting global problems. When asked if the United States should continue playing an active role in world affairs, nearly two-thirds answered affirmatively.
As one comprehensive analysis of the survey data thus concluded,47 at present there is just not overwhelming evidence—in the polls, at least—to suggest a broad-gauged public rejection of internationalism: "The American public as a whole still thinks that the United States is the greatest and most influential country in the world, and bipartisan support remains strong for the country to take an active part in world affairs."...
... there is also a far more pessimistic – and equally plausible – way of reading the national mood. From this perspective, Trump's rise is not an aberration or a glitch. It is, rather, the culmination of a quiet crisis that has gradually but unmistakably been weakening the political foundations of American internationalism. That crisis may not yet be manifesting in dramatic, across-the-board changes in how Americans view particular foreign policy issues. But as Trump's election indicates, its political effects are nonetheless becoming profound....
After all, it was not Trump but Obama who first called for the country to shift from nation-building abroad to nation-building at home. Whatever their views on other parts of American internationalism, many Americans apparently agreed. Whereas 29 percent of Americans believed that promoting democracy abroad should be a key diplomatic priority in 2001, by 2013 the number was only 18 percent. When Trump slammed these aspects of American internationalism, he was pushing on an open door....
What Trump intuitively understood, however, was that the credibility of the experts had been badly tarnished in recent years.
As Tom Nichols has observed, the deference that experts command from the U.S. public has been declining for some time, and this is certainly the case in foreign policy....
These issues related to another, more fundamental contributor to the crisis of American internationalism: the rupturing of the basic political-economic bargain that had long undergirded that tradition. From its inception, internationalism entailed significant and tangible costs, both financial and otherwise, and the pursuit of free trade in particular inevitably disadvantaged workers and industries that suffered from greater global competition. As a result, the rise of American internationalism during and after World War II went hand-in-hand with measures designed to offset these costs by ensuring upward social mobility and rising economic fortunes for the voters—particularly working- and middle-class voters—being asked to bear them.... This bargain has gradually been fraying since as far back as the late 1970s, however, and in recent years it increasingly seems to have broken.
For the fact is that many Americans—particularly less-educated Americans—are not seeing their economic fortunes and mobility improve over time. Rather, their prospects have worsened significantly in recent decades....
Indeed, although there is plenty of public opinion polling that paints a reassuring picture of American views on trade and globalization, there are also clear indications that such a backlash is occurring. In 2016, a plurality of Americans (49 percent) argued that "U.S. involvement in the global economy is a bad thing because it lowers wages and costs jobs," a sentiment perfectly tailored to Trump's protectionist message....
More broadly, it is hard not to see concerns about economic insecurity looming large in the growing proportion of Americans who believe that the United States is overinvested internationally—and who therefore prefer for the "U.S. to deal with its own problems, while letting other countries get along as best they can." In 2013, 52 percent of Americans—the highest number in decades—agreed with a version of this statement. In 2016, the number was even higher at 57 percent.
In sum, American voters may still express fairly strong support for free trade and other longstanding policies in public opinion surveys. But it is simply impossible to ignore the fact that, among significant swaths of the population, there is nonetheless an unmistakable and politically potent sense that American foreign policy has become decoupled from the interests of those it is meant to serve.
And this point, in turn, illuminates a final strain that Trump's rise so clearly highlighted: the growing sense that American internationalism has become unmoored from American nationalism. American internationalism was always conceived as an enlightened expression of American nationalism, an approach premised on the idea that the wellbeing of the United States was inextricably interwoven with that of the outside world. But the inequities of globalization have promoted a tangible feeling among many voters that American elites are now privileging an internationalist agenda (one that may suit cosmopolitan elites just fine) at the expense of the wellbeing of "ordinary Americans." Likewise, insofar as immigration from Mexico and Central America has depressed wages for low-skilled workers and fueled concerns that the white working class is being displaced by other demographic groups, it has fostered beliefs that the openness at the heart of the internationalist project is benefitting the wrong people. "Many Jacksonians," writes Walter Russell Mead of the coalition that brought Trump to power, "came to believe that the American establishment was no longer reliably patriotic."
What does all this tell us about the future of American internationalism? The answer involves elements of both interpretations offered here. It is premature to say that a "new isolationism" is taking hold, or that Americans are systematically turning away from internationalism, in light of the idiosyncrasies of Trump's victory and the fact that so many key aspects of internationalism still poll fairly well. Yet no serious observer can contend that American internationalism is truly healthy given Trump's triumph, and the 2016 election clearly revealed the assorted maladies that had been quietly eroding its political vitality. American internationalism may not be slipping into history just yet, but its long-term trajectory seems problematic indeed.48
Later in May 2017, this same foreign policy specialist stated in a different blog post
On the one hand, it is easy to make the case that Trump's election was more of a black-swan, anomalous event than something that tells us much about the state of public opinion on foreign policy. The election campaign was dominated not by deeply substantive foreign policy debates, in this interpretation, but by the historic unpopularity of both candidates. And of course, Trump was decisively defeated in the popular vote by a card-carrying member of the U.S. foreign policy establishment—and he might well have lost decisively in the electoral college, too, if not for then-FBI Director James Comey's intervention and a series of other lucky breaks late in the campaign.
There is, moreover, substantial polling data to suggest that American internationalism is doing just fine. According to surveys taken during the 2016 campaign, 65 percent of Americans believed that globalization was "mostly good" for the United States, and 89 percent believed that maintaining U.S. alliances was "very or somewhat effective at achieving U.S. foreign policy goals." Support for U.S. military primacy and intervention against threats such as the Islamic State also remained strong, as did domestic backing for the United Nations and the Paris climate change accords.
As an extensive analysis of this polling data by the Chicago Council concluded, there does not seem to be any wholesale public rejection of American internationalism underway: "The American public as a whole still thinks that the United States is the greatest and most influential country in the world, and bipartisan support remains strong for the country to take an active part in world affairs." And indeed, insofar as Trump has had to roll back some of the more radical aspects of his "America first" agenda since becoming president—tearing up the North American Free Trade Agreement, declaring NATO obsolete, launching a trade war with China—he seems to be adjusting to this reality.
That's the good news. But on the other hand, American internationalism simply cannot be all that healthy, because Trump did win the presidency by running on the most anti-internationalist platform seen in decades. American voters may not have been voting for that platform itself, but at the very least they did not see Trump's radical views on foreign policy as disqualifying. And as one digs deeper into the state of American internationalism today, it becomes clear that there are indeed real problems with that tradition—problems that Trump exploited on his road to the White House, and that are likely to confront his successors as well.
Trump's rise has highlighted five key strains that have been weakening the political foundations of American internationalism for years now.
First, since the end of the Cold War, it has become harder for Americans to identify precisely why the United States must undertake such extraordinary exertions to shape the global order. Without a pressing, easily identifiable global threat, in other words, it is harder to intuitively understand what American alliances, forward force deployments, and other internationalist initiatives are for.
Second, although U.S. internationalism has proven very valuable in shaping a congenial international system, it is undeniable that aspects of that tradition—such as nation building missions in Afghanistan and Iraq—have proven costly and unrewarding in recent years. Not surprisingly, many Americans are thus questioning if the resources that the country devotes to foreign policy are being used effectively. This disillusion has shown up in public opinion polling: Whereas 29 percent of Americans believed that promoting democracy should be a key foreign policy objective in 2001, only 18 percent thought so in 2013.
Third, the credibility of the U.S. foreign policy establishment has also been weakened over the past 15 years. This is because policy elites in both parties pursued policies—the Iraq War under President George W. Bush, the subsequent withdrawal from Iraq and creation of a security vacuum in that country under President Barack Obama—that led to high-profile disasters. As a result, when Trump—who actually supported the invasion of Iraq before later opposing it—answered establishment criticism by pointing out that the establishment had brought the United States the Iraq War and the Islamic State, his rejoinder probably made a good deal of sense to many voters.
Fourth, U.S. internationalism has been weakened by the declining economic fortunes of the working and middle classes—a phenomenon that has made those groups less enthusiastic about bearing the costs and burdens associated with U.S. foreign policy. The pursuit of globalization and free trade has not been the primary culprit here—issues like automation and the transition to a postindustrial economy have been more important. But it is undeniable that globalization has exacerbated economic insecurity for the working class in particular, and China's integration into the global economy has taken a significant toll on manufacturing and related employment in the United States. During the Republican primaries, in fact, 65 percent of Trump voters believed that U.S. involvement in the international economy was a bad thing. During the general election, Trump overperformed in areas hardest hit by competition from international trade.
Fifth, and finally, one can discern among many voters an amorphous but powerful sense that U.S. internationalism has become unmoored from U.S. nationalism—that America's governing classes have pursued an agenda that has worked nicely for the well-to-do, but brought fewer benefits to the ordinary Americans whom U.S. foreign policy is meant to serve. This dynamic is evident in the 57 percent of the population who believed in 2016 that the United States was focusing too much on other countries' problems and not enough on its own. Cracks are growing in the political consensus that has traditionally undergirded American internationalism—cracks through which Trump was able emerge in 2016.
The bottom line is that American internationalism is not dead yet, but that it faces serious longterm maladies that could, perhaps, ultimately prove fatal.49
Also in May 2017, a different foreign policy specialist stated
When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the bipartisan foreign-policy establishment was united in seeing a historic opportunity to deepen the liberal order and extend it into the rest of the world. Yet the public had always been skeptical about this project. Jacksonians in particular believed that American global policy was a response to the Soviet threat, and that once the threat had disappeared, the U.S. should retrench.
After World War I, and again at the start of the Cold War, Americans had held great debates over whether and how to engage with the world. But that debate didn't happen after the Soviet collapse. Elites felt confident that the end of history had arrived, that expanding the world order would be so easy and cheap it could be done without much public support. Washington thus embarked on a series of consequential foreign-policy endeavors: enlarging the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to include much of Central and Eastern Europe, establishing the World Trade Organization in the mid-'90s, promoting a global democracy agenda whenever possible.
American voters have never shared the establishment's enthusiasm for a foreign policy aimed at transforming the post-Cold War world. When given the choice at the ballot box, they consistently dismiss experienced foreign-policy hands who call for deep global engagement. Instead they install untried outsiders who want increased focus on issues at home. Thus Clinton over Bush in 1992, Bush over Gore in 2000, Obama over McCain in 2008, and Trump over Clinton in 2016.
Today the core problem in American foreign policy remains the disconnect between the establishment's ambitious global agenda and the limited engagement that voters appear to support. As Washington's challenges abroad become more urgent and more dangerous, the divide between elite and public opinion grows more serious by the day.
The establishment is now beginning to discover what many voters intuitively believed back in the 1990s. Building a liberal world order is much more expensive and difficult than it appeared in a quarter-century ago, when America was king. Further, Washington's foreign-policy establishment is neither as wise nor as competent as it believes itself to be.
Meantime, the world is only becoming more dangerous.... And the U.S. still lacks a strong consensus on what its foreign policy should be.
Washington's foreign policy needs more than grudging acquiescence from the American people if it is to succeed. How to build broad support? First, the Trump administration should embrace a new national strategy that is more realistic than the end-of-history fantasies that came at the Cold War's conclusion. The case for international engagement should be grounded in the actual priorities of American citizens. Second, Mr. Trump and other political leaders must make the case for strategic global engagement to a rightfully skeptical public.
For much of the establishment, focusing on the Trump administration's shortcomings is a way to avoid a painful inquest into the failures and follies of 25 years of post-Cold War foreign policy. But Mr. Trump's presidency is the result of establishment failure rather than the cause of it. Until the national leadership absorbs this lesson, the internal American crisis will deepen as the world crisis grows more acute.50
This appendix presents some examples of articles dating back to January 2014 (with one additional citation from 2012) concerning the debate over the future U.S. role in the world, with the most recent on top.
Articles from September 2017 Onward
(This section includes, among other items, numerous citations dated September 19 and later that are reactions to President Trump's September 19, 2017, speech at the United Nations, much of which is reprinted in Appendix A.)
Thomas Donnelly and William Kristol, "An Empire for Liberty," Weekly Standard, October 2, 2017.
Rich Lowry, "Sovereignty Is Not a Dirty Word," National Review, September 22, 2017.
Joseph Bosco, "Trump's 'Principled Realism,'" Real Clear Defense, September 21, 2017.
John Cassidy, "There Is No Trump Doctrine, Only Contradictions and Bluster," New Yorker, September 21, 2017.
Krishnadev Calamur, "How the Rest of the World Heard Trump's UN Speech," The Atlantic, September 20, 2017.
James Jay Carafano, "The Real Meaning Behind Trump's UN Speech," National Interest, September 20, 2017.
Nile Gardiner, "At the UN, Trump Ends the Era of Leading From Behind," Heritage Foundation, September 20, 2017.
Sahar Khan, "Here Are the 3 Takeaways from Trump's UN Speech," National Interest, September 20, 2017.
Hardin Lang and Michael Fuchs, "American Alone at the United Nations," National Interest, September 20, 2017.
William Saletan, "Our Demagogue," The Atlantic, September 20, 2017.
Gary J. Schmitt, "Trump's UN Speech: What Makes America First," American Enterprise Institute, September 20, 2017.
Marc A. Thiessen, "Why the Left Hated Trump's Speech," Washington Post, September 20, 2017.
Jonathan S. Tobin, "Trumpian Rhetoric and U.S. Imperatives," National Review, September 20, 2017.
Michael Warren, "White House Watch: Was Donald Trump's Speech to the United Nations a Success?" Weekly Standard, September 20, 2017.
Thomas Wright, "Trump's Indecisive, Ill-Prepared Debut at the United Nations," The Atlantic, September 20, 2017.
Philip Zelikow, "The Logic Hole at the Center of Trump's U.N. Speech," Foreign Policy, September 20, 2017.
Eliott Abrams, "Trump's Successful U.N. Speech," National Review, September 19, 2017.
Zeeshan Aleem, "Trump's Message to The World at The UN: Every Country Is on Its Own," Vox, September 19, 2017.
Kevin Baron, "In Fiery UN Speech, Trump Delivers The Far-Right Goods," Defense One, September 19, 2017.
Yochi Dreazen, "The UN Was Waiting for President Trump. Candidate Trump Showed Up Instead," Vox, September 19, 2017.
Erick Erickson, "Erick Erickson: The Best Speech by President Trump So Far," Fox News, September 19, 2017.
David French, "A Donald trump Speech, a Barack Obama Foreign Policy," National Review, September 19, 2017.
Max de Haldevang, "Trump Mentioned Sovereignty 21 Times in A Speech Heralding A New American Worldview," Quartz, September 19, 2017.
David Ignatius, "The Most Surprising Thing About Trump's U.N. Speech," Washington Post, September 19, 2017.
Greg Jaffe and Karen DeYoung, "In Trump's U.N. Speech, An Emphasis on Sovereignty Echoes His Domestic Agenda," Washington Post, September 19, 2017.
Fred Kaplan, "Trump's Dark Vision for the World," Slate, September 19, 2017.
Kirsten Korosec, "Here's What Donald Trump Didn't Say to the United Nations," Fortune, September 19, 2017.
Melvyn P. Leffler, "The Worst First Year of Foreign Policy Ever," Foreign Policy, September 19, 2017.
Rich Lowry, "'Holy Sh**': Trump at the U.N.,'" National Review, September, 19, 2017.
Amber Phillips, "How Trump's 'America first' Doctrine Drives Everything He Does—Including Getting Elected," Washington Post, September 19, 2017.
Ramesh Ponnuru, "Ignore the Bombast. Trump Gave a Conventional Speech," Bloomberg, September 19, 2017.
James Roberts and Brett Schaefer, "An Overhaul of America's Foreign Assistance Programs Is Long Overdue," Heritage Foundation, September 19, 2017.
Tom Rogan, "Trump's UN Speech Was A Grand Slam," Washington Examiner, September 19, 2017.
David Rothkopf, "Trump's First Speech to The United Nations Was A Disastrous, Nationalistic Flop," Washington Post, September 19, 2017.
Ashish Kumar Sen, "Trump's Debut at the United Nations," Atlantic Council, September 19, 2017.
Kori Scahke, "The Fatal Flaw in Trump's U.N. Speech Could Be Disastrous for American Power," Foreign Policy, September 19, 2017.
David Usborne, "Donald Trump's America First Doctrine Will Destroy the United Nations," Independent (UK), September 19, 2017.
Colum Lynch, "Before U.N. Summit, World Tells Trump His 'America-First Fun' Must End," Foreign Policy, September 16, 2017.
Christopher A. Preble, "Why Isn't There a Debate About America's Grand Strategy?" National Interest, September 16, 2017.
Eliot A. Cohen, "How Trump Is Ending the American Era," The Atlantic, October 2017.
Olivia Enos and Brett Schaefer, "State Department Reform Should Retain Emphasis on North Korean Human Rights," Heritage Foundation, September 14, 2017.
Robbie Gramer, "Tillerson Offers State Department Employees First Look at Redesign," Foreign Policy, September 14, 2017.
Ruby Mellen, "Foreign-Policy Uber Report Targets State Department Overhaul," Foreign Policy, September 14, 2017.
Daniel Benaim, "Here's How Congress Can Save the State Department," Foreign Policy, September 11, 2017.
James Jay Carafano, "America Desperately Needs a New Grand Strategy for its Role in the World," Heritage Foundation, September 11, 2017.
Daniel Kliman, "Wanted: A U.S. Strategic Response to China's Belt and Road Initiative," National Interest, September 7, 2017.
Austin Long, Linda Robinson, and Seth G. Jones, "Managing Chaos in an Era of Great Power Competition," War on the Rocks, September 5, 2017.
Sheila A. Smith, "Whither Trump's Asia Policy?" East Asia Forum, September 4, 2017.
Paul R. Pillar, "A President Without Purpose," National Interest, September 1, 2017.
Articles from July through August 2017
Mercy Kuo, "US Leadership as a Pacific Power: Trump and Beyond," The Diplomat, August 29, 2017.
Olivia Beavers, "Tillerson Moves to Eliminate Special Envoy Posts at State Dept.: Report," The Hill, August 28, 2017.
Dalibor Rohac, "The Great Global Governance Scare," American Interest, August 28, 2017.
Stephen M. Walt, "What Trump Got Right About Foreign Policy," Foreign Policy, August 28, 2017.
Krishnadev Calamur, "'The President Speaks for Himself,'" The Atlantic, August 27, 2017.
Daniel Politi, "Did Secretary of State Rex Tillerson Just Turn on Trump?" Slate, August 27, 2017.
Andrew A. Michta, "The West Needs a Strategy," American Interest, August 25, 2017.
Joshua Keating, "Wait, Does the Trump Administration Care About Human Rights Now?" Slate, August 23, 2017.
Joshua Keating, "The Blob Are Donald Trump," Slate, August 22, 2017.
Lincoln P. Bloomfield Jr., and Tom Harvey, "A Strategy for the Age of Trump," National Interest, August 20, 2017.
James Jay Carafano, "Trump and the Art of Rope-A-Dope Diplomacy," Heritage Foundation, August 14, 2017.
Kathy Gilsinan, "What Happens When No One Believes American Threats?" The Atlantic, August 14, 2017.
Robert D. Kaplan, "America's Darwinian Nationalism," National Interest, August 13, 2017.
Krishnadev Calamur, "Trump's Gratitude for the 'Bad Guys,'" The Atlantic, August 11, 2017.
James Jay Carafano, "Tillerson Is Trying to Replicate Jim Baker's State Department," Heritage Foundation, August 11, 2017.
Philip Zelikow, "Is the World Slouching Toward a Grave Systemic Crisis?" The Atlantic, August 11, 2017.
Reuben Fischer-Baum and Julie Vitkovskaya, "How Trump is Changing America's Foreign Policy," Washington Post, updated August 10, 2017.
Rukmani Bhatia, "Quietly Erasing Democracy Promotion at the U.S. State Department," Freedom House, August 8, 2017
Anne Applebaum, "If This Were the Cold War, America Would Be Poised to Lose," Washington Post, August 4, 2017.
James Kitfield, "Trump's Generals Are Trying to Save the World. Starting With the White House." Politico, August 4, 2017.
Joshua Muravchik, "What Trump and Tillerson Don't Get About Democracy Promotion," Washington Post, August 4, 2017.
Harvey M. Sapolsky, "America's Endless Search for a Strategy," National Interest, August 4, 2017.
Nicole Bibbins Sedaca, "What Trump and Tillerson Get Wrong About Democracy Promotion," Foreign Policy, August 4, 2017.
Hal Brands, "How to Diminish a Superpower: Trump's Foreign Policy After Six Months," War on the Rocks, August 1, 2017.
Kevin Quealy, "'The Lowest-Profile State Department in 45 Years,' in 2 Charts," New York Times, August 1, 2017.
Josh Rogin, "State Department Considers Scrubbing Democracy Promotion from Its Mission," Washington Post, August 1, 2017.
Robbie Gramer, Dan De Luce, and Colum Lynch, "How the Trump Administration Broke the State Department," Foreign Policy, July 31, 2017.
Wilbur Ross, "Free-Trade is a Two-Way Street," Wall Street Journal, July 31, 2017.
Leon Hadar, "Why Washington's Global Strategy Failed," National Interest, July 30, 2017.
Chris Patten, "The West's Decadent Foreign Policy," Asia Times, July 29, 2017.
Roger Cohen, "The Desperation of Our Diplomats," New York Times, July 28, 2017.
Elizabeth Rosenberg, "The War Over Who Controls U.S. Foreign Policy Has Begun," Foreign Policy, July 28, 2017.
Fareed Zakaria, "Say Hello to a Post-America World," Washington Post, July 27, 2017.
Andrew Beddow, "America Cannot Become a Global Rome," National Interest, July 25, 2017.
Enea Gjoza, "America Historically Had a Restrained Foreign Policy: It's Time to Return to It," National Interest, July 25, 2017.
Daniel Runde, "Trump Should Fix Foreign Aid, But Not at the Expense of U.S. Interests," Foreign Policy, July 24, 2017.
Michael Geron, "Trump's Breathtaking Surrender to Russia," Washington Post, July 20, 2017.
Richard Haass, "Donald Trump and the Danger of 'Adhocracy,'" The Atlantic, July 18, 2017.
Richard Fontaine, "Foreign Aid Has an Enormous ROI [return on investment] for the U.S. and Boosts Our National Security. Don't Cut It." Independent Journal Review, July 17, 2017.
Colum Lynch, "Tillerson to Shutter State Department War Crimes Office," Foreign Policy, July 17, 2017.
James Kirchick, "Germany's Not Such a Great Candidate to lead the Free World Either," Daily Beast, July 15, 2017.
Gary D. Cohn and H. R. McMaster, "The Trump Vision for America Abroad," New York Times, July 13, 2017.
Michael Auslin, "Trump Gives Beijing a Lesson in the Art of the Deal," Wall Street Journal, July 12, 2017.
Paul D. Miller, "Can Trump Reconcile Nationalism With Liberalism?" Foreign Policy, July 10, 2017.
Paul Kengor, "Trump's Excellent Speech in Poland, on Poland, and About Poland," American Spectator, July 9, 2017.
Josh Rubin, "Battle Emerging Inside Trump Administration Over Who Controls Immigration and Refugees," Washington Post, July 9, 2017.
Robert J. Samuelson, "Trump's Extraordinary Surrender of Power," Washington Post, July 9, 2017.
John O'Sullivan, "Trump Defends the West in Warsaw," National Review, July 8, 2017.
Steven Erlanger and Julie Hirschfeld Davis, "Once Dominant, the United States Finds Itself Isolated at G-20," New York Times, July 7, 2017.
Molly K. McKew, "Trump Handed Putin a Stunning Victory," Politico, July 7, 2017.
Zeeshan Aleem, "Japan and Europe's Huge New Trade Agreement Shows That US Leadership Is Already Fading," Vox, July 6, 2017.
Michael Barone, "Trump's 'Remarkable' Speech in Poland," Washington Examiner, July 6, 2017.
Robert Charles, "Trump Speech in Poland—Reagan Is Nodding," Fox News, July 6, 2017.
James P. Rubin, "Trump Is Huge in Poland. So, There's That." Politico, July 6, 2017.
Editorial board, "Trump's Defining Speech, In Poland, He Asks the West to Defense Its Values of Faith and Freedom," Wall Street Journal, July 6, 2017.
Editorial board, "Trump Wants Us to Defend 'Our Values.' Which ones?" Washington Post, July 6, 2017.
S. A. Miller, "Current Time Broadcasts into Russia, Eastern Europe," Washington Times, July 5, 2017.
Articles from April through June 2017
Andrew Restuccia and Nancy Cook, "Trump's trade Plan Sets Up Global Clash Over 'America First' Strategy," Politico, June 30, 2017.
Colum Lynch, "Nikki Haley and Trump's Doctrine of Diplomatic Chaos," Foreign Policy, June 28, 2017.
Andrew Natsios, "Tillerson Wants to merge the State Dept. and USAID. That's a Bad Idea." Washington Post, June 28, 2017.
Daniel Runde, "Foreign Aid Is About U.S. Interests," Foreign Policy, June 26, 2017.
Richard Wike, et al., "U.S. Image Suffers as Publics Around World Question Trump's Leadership," Pew Research Center, June 26, 2017.
Michael Gerson, "Trump's Embrace of Strongmen is a Very Bad Strategy," Washington Post, June 22, 2017.
Hal Brands and Eric Edelman, "America and the Geopolitics of Upheaval," National Interest, June 21, 2017.
Kate Bateman, "Wanted: A Trump Team Foreign-Policy Plan with Democratic Values," National Interest, June 5, 2017.
Andrew Sullivan, "Can the West Survive Trump?" New York, June 2, 2017.
H.R. McMaster and Gary D. Cohn, "America First Doesn't Mean America Alone," Wall Street Journal, May 30, 2017.
Brett D. Schaefer, "Trump's Budget Grasps What Congress Doesn't: America's Global Leadership Doesn't Come Free," Heritage Foundation, May 29, 2017.
Andrew J. Bacevich, "The Beltway Foreign-Policy 'Blob' Strikes Back," American Conservative, May 26, 2017.
Colin Dueck, "This Is the Key to a Successful Trump Foreign Policy," National Interest, May 25, 2017.
Elliott Abrams, "Does Trump Care About Human Rights?" Politico, May 24, 2017.
Colin Powell, "Colin Powell: American Leadership—We Can't Do It for Free," New York Times, May 24, 2017.
Daniel Larison, "Realism Doesn't Need to Be 'Reclaimed'," American Conservative, May 23, 2017.
Ted R. Bromund, Michael Auslin and Colin Dueck, "Reclaiming American Realism," American Affairs, vol. 1, no. 2 (Summer 2017): 184-198. (Also published as Michael Auslin, Ted R. Bromund, and Colin Dueck, "Reclaiming American Realism," American Enterprise Institute, May 22, 2017.)
Walter Russell Mead, "A Debate on America's Role—25 Years Late," Wall Street Journal, May 22, 2017.
Robert D. Kaplan, "The Return of Marco Polo's World and the U.S. Military Response," Center for a New American Security, undated but posted at the CNAS website ca. May 12, 2017.
Eliot A. Cohen, "Rex Tillerson Doesn't Understand America," The Atlantic, May 5, 2017.
Anne Applebaum, "How trump Makes Dictators Stronger," Washington Post, May 4, 2017.
Joshua Keating, "Trump and Tillerson's Shortsighted Contempt for Human Rights," Slate, May 4, 2017.
"What Rex Tillerson Gets Right About American Values—and What He Gets Wrong," Washington Post, May 4, 2017.
Philip Rucker, "Trump Keeps Praising International Strongmen, Alarming Human Rights Advocates," Washington Post, May 1, 2017.
James M. Roberts and Brett D. Schaefer, "Panic Over Foreign Aid Budget Could Use Some Perspective," Heritage Foundation, April 28, 2017.
Karen DeYoung, "Trump Takes a Selective Approach to the Promotion of Human Rights," Washington Post, April 25, 2017.
Joseph S. Nye, "Trump Has Learned a Lot. But He's Neglecting a Huge Part of American Leadership," Washington Post, April 25, 2017.
Stephen Sestanovich, "The President Is Preventing the Foreign-Policy Debate America Needs To Have," Defense One, April 13, 2017.
Noam N. Levey, "Trump Pushes Historic Cuts in Global Health Aid, Stoking Fears of New Disease Outbreaks and Diminished U.S. Clout," Los Angeles Times, April 10, 2017.
Doyle McManus, "Has the United States Abandoned Its Commitment to Human Rights?" Los Angeles Times, April 5, 2017.
Shannon N. Green, "When the U.S. Gives Up on Human Rights, Everyone Suffers," Foreign Policy, April 4, 2017.
Peter Baker, "For Trump, a Focus on U.S. Interests and a Disdain for Moralizing," New York Times, April 4, 2017.
Articles from January through March 2017
Mercy A. Kuo, "Statecraft and Grand Strategy: Assessing the US and China," The Diplomat, March 31, 2017.
George Fujii, "The End of American Liberal Internationalism?" ISSF Policy Series, March 30, 2017.
Uri Friedman, "What a World Led by China Might Look Like," The Atlantic, March 29, 2017.
Theodore R. Bromund, "Donald Trump is Right To Cut the State Department's Budget," Heritage Foundation, March 27, 2017.
Tom Malinowski, "What America Stood For," The Atlantic, March 25, 2017.
Hal Brands, "U.S. Grand Strategy in an Age of Nationalism: Fortress America and Its Alternatives," The Washington Quarterly, Spring 2017, 73-93.
Robert C. Rubel, "Exporting Security: China, the United States, and the Innovator's Dilemma," Naval War College Review, Spring 2017: 11-29.
Nicolas Bouchet, "Is This the End of America's Role As a Defender of Freedom?" Washington Post, March 20, 2017.
James M. Roberts, "Why Trump's Budget Proposal for the State Department Makes Sense," Heritage Foundation, March 17, 2017.
Colum Lynch, "Trump's Budget Blueprint: Pulling Up the Diplomatic Drawbridge," Foreign Policy, March 16, 2017.
Heather Timmons, "The Trump Presidency is Systematically Destroying Any Global Moral High Ground the US Had left," Quartz, March 13, 2017.
Wahab Raofi, "U.S. Must Change Foreign Aid Tactics," Huffington Post, March 12, 2017.
Alissa J. Rubin, "Allies Fear Trump Is Eroding America's Moral Authority," New York Times, March 10, 2017.
Al Mariam, "Trump's Suspicion of Foreign Aid to Africa Is Right on The Money" The Hill, March 9, 2017.
Christian Caryl, "Donald Trump's Foreign Policy Is Already Undercutting Human Rights Around the World," Washington Post, March 8, 2017.
George Fujii, "This is What Nationalism Looks Like," ISSF Policy Series, March 8, 2017.
Bjorn Jerden, et al., "Don't Call it the New Chinese Global Order (Yet)," Foreign Policy, March 7, 2017.
James M. Roberts, "The US Needs a New Foreign Aid Model," Heritage Foundation, March 7, 2017.
Paul Miller, "Reassessing Obama's Legacy of Restraint," War on the Rocks, March 6, 2017.
David Shepardson, "Trump Administration to Propose 'Dramatic Reductions' in Foreign Aid," Reuters, March 4, 2017.
Nicholas Burns, "Trump's Cuts Would Cripple the Country's Diplomats When We Need Them Most," Washington Post, March 3, 2017.
Josh Rogin, "Tillerson Pushes Back on White House's Proposed Cuts to Statement Department and USAID," Washington Post, March 3, 2017.
Chris Edwards, "State Department Spending Triples," Cato Institute, March 1, 2017.
Susan B. Glasser, "Trump Takes on The Blob," Politico Magazine, March/April 2017.
Dan Lamothe, "Retired Generals Cite Past Comments from Mattis While Opposing Trump's Proposed Foreign Aid Cuts," Washington Post, February 27, 2017.
Michael Gerson and Raj Shah, "'America First' Shouldn't Mean Cutting Foreign Aid," Washington Post, February 24, 2017.
Stephen M. Walt, "The Donald versus 'The Blob,'" ISSF Policy Series, February 14, 2017.
Will Inboden, "A Strategic Human Rights Agenda for the Tillerson State Department," Foreign Policy, February 13, 2017.
Garry Kasparov and Thor Halvorssen, "Why the Rise of Authoritarianism Is a Global Catastrophe," Washington Post, February 13, 2017.
Brian Pawlowski, "Echoes from Fulton," Real Clear Defense, February 8, 2017.
Randall L. Schweller, "A Third-Image Explanation for Why Trump Now: A Response to Robert Jervis' 'President Trump and IR [international relations] Theory," ISSF Policy Series, February 8, 2017.
David H. Petraeus, "America Must Stand Tall," Politico, February 7, 2016.
Arch Puddington, "As Democracy Wavers, Will Authoritarians Fill the Void?" Freedom House, February 7, 2017.
Robert Kagan, "Backing Into World War III," Foreign Policy, February 6, 2017.
Andrew Krepinevich, "Why Mattis Headed East: Time For China Strategy," Breaking Defense, February 2, 2017.
Brett D. Schaefer, "Trump's Plan to Reduce UN Spending Is a Step in the Right Direction," Heritage Foundation, February 2, 2017.
Colin Kahl and Hal Brands, "Trump's Grand Strategic Train Wreck," Foreign Policy, January 31, 2017.
Nadia Schadlow, "Welcome to the Competition," War on the Rocks, January 26, 2017.
Richard Stengel, "The End of the American Century," The Atlantic, January 26, 2017.
Eliot Cohen, "5 Bad Reasons for Pulling Back From the World," Politico, January 24, 2017.
Robert Kaplan, "America Is a Maritime Nation," Real Clear World, January 24, 2017.
Richard Fontaine and Mira Rapp-Hooper, "If America Refuses to Lead," Wall Street Journal, January 23, 2017.
Eliot Cohen, "Should the U.S. Still Carry A 'Big Stick,'" Los Angeles Times, January 18, 2017.
Sydney J. Freedberg Jr., "Fear China Most, 'Flip' Russia, Beware Iran: CSBA," Breaking Defense, January 18, 2017.
Michael McFaul, "Dear Trump: Defending Democracy Is No Vice," Washington Post, January 17, 2017.
Robert "Jake" Bebber and Richard J. Harknett, "Thoughts on Grand Strategy," The Navalist, January 12, 2017.
Frank Hoffman, "The Case for Strategic Discipline During the Next Presidency," War on the Rocks, January 10, 2017.
Ali Wyne, "Did the United States Really Win the Cold War?" National Interest, January 8, 2017.
Robert D. Kaplan, "Why Trump Can't Disengage America From the World," New York Times, January 6, 2017.
Mina Pollmann, "Naval Strategy: Restraint Rather Than Hegemon," Maritime Executive, January 5, 2017. (Interview with Barry Posen)
Jerome Slater, "A Coming War With China?" Huffington Post, January 4, 2017.
Kori Schake, "Will Washington Abandon the Order?" Foreign Affairs, January/February 2017.
Hal Brands, et al., Critical Assumptions and American Grand Strategy, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, 2017, 57 pp.
"Foreign Aid and Economic Development," Cato Institute, 2017 (Cato Handbook for Policymakers, 8th Edition (2017).
Articles in 2016
TNI [the National Interest] Staff, "Is Trump's Foreign Policy the New Mainstream?" National Interest, December 22, 2016.
Zalmay Khalilzad, "America Needs a Bipartisan Foreign Policy. Donald Trump Can Make It Happen." National Interest, December 21, 2016.
Christopher A. Preble, "Will Donald Trump Really Bring an End to America's Global Leadership?" National Interest, December 21, 2016.
Asle Toje, "A Sad Metaphor," American Interest, December 21, 2016.
Ian Bremmer, "The Era of American Global Leadership Is Over. Here's What Comes Next." Time, December 19, 2016.
Rod Lyon, "Why Is Assurance in Trouble?" The Strategist, December 16, 2016.
Zack Cooper, "Pacific Power: America's Asian Alliances Beyond Burden-Sharing," War on the Rocks, December 14, 2016.
Hal Brands and Peter Feaver, "Stress-Testing the Foundations of American Grand Strategy," War on the Rocks, December 13, 2016. (For a longer version, see Hal Brands and Peter Feaver, "Stress-Testing American Grand Strategy," Survival, vol. 58, 2016—Issue 6, published online November 21, 2016)
Philip Zelilkow, "The Art of the Global Deal," American Interest, December 13, 2016.
John Schaus, "U.S. Leadership in an Era of Great Power Competition," Center for Strategic & International Studies, December 2016.
Peter Feaver, "A Grand Strategy Challenge Awaits Trump," Foreign Policy, November 29, 2016.
Hugh White, "What's So Great About American World Leadership?" The Atlantic, November 23, 2016.
Eliot A. Cohen, "When President Trump Goes to War," Wall Street Journal, November 18, 2016.
Jeff Bergner, "What Good Is Military Force?" Weekly Standard, October 17, 2016.
Max Fisher and Amanda Taub, "Syria Provokes an American Anxiety: Is U.S. Power Really So Special?" New York Times, October 8, 2016.
Michael J. Mazarr, "The World Has Passed the Old Grand Strategies By," War on the Rocks, October 5, 2016.
Nick Turse, "Killing People, Breaking Things, and America's Winless Wars," Common Dreams, September 27, 2016.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen, "Free Nations of the World, Unite!" National Review, September 22, 2016.
Christopher Preble, "New Rules for U.S. Military Intervention," War on the Rocks, September 20, 2016.
Dani Rodrik, "Put Globalization to Work for Democracies," New York Times, September 17, 2016.
William Ruger, "The Myth of American Retreat," American Conservative, September 13, 2016 (review of Robert J. Lieber, Retreat and Its Consequences: American Foreign Policy and the Problem of World Order, Cambridge University Press)
Barry F. Lowenkron, Mitchell B. Reiss, "Pragmatic Primacy: How America Can Move Forward in a Changing World," National Interest, September 11, 2016.
Gregory R, Copley, "The Era of Strategic Containment is Over," Defense & Foreign Affairs, September 7, 2016.
Frank Hoffman, "The Consistent Incoherence of Grand Strategy," War on the Rocks, September 1, 2016.
Andrew J. Bacevich, "Ending Endless War," Foreign Affairs, September/October 2016.
Doug Bandow, "Why Washington Is Addicted to Perpetual War," National Interest, August 28, 2016.
Michael Lind, "Can America Share Its Superpower Status?" National Interest, August 21, 2016.
Barry F. Lowenkron and Mitchell B. Reriss, "Pragmatic Primacy," National Interest, August 11, 2016.
Ted Galen Carpenter and Eric Gomez, "East Asia and a Strategy of Restraint," War on the Rocks, August 10, 2016.
Christopher Preble, Emma Ashford and Travis Evans, "Let's Talk about America's Strategic Choices," War on the Rocks, August 8, 2016.
Robert D. Kaplan, "Is Primacy Overrated?" National Interest, August 7, 2016.
Schuyler Foerster and Ray Raymond, "Balanced Internationalism: 5 Core Principles to Guide U.S. National Security," National Interest, July 31, 2016.
James Holmes, "Why Offshore Balancing Won't Work," National Interest, July 18, 2016.
"Roundtable 8-16 on Restraint: A New Foundation for U.S. Grand Strategy," ISSF Forum, July 11, 2016 (reviews of Barry R. Posen, Restraint: A New Foundation for U.S. Grand Strategy, Cornell University Press, 2014, by Richard K. Betts, Jolyon Howorth, Robert J. Lieber, Paul K. MacDonald and Joseph M. Parent, with a response by Barry R, Posen).
Frank G. Hoffman, "Retreating Ashore: The Flaws of Offshore Balancing," Foreign Policy Research Institute, July 5, 2016.
Denny Roy, "A More-Selective US Grand Strategy," Pacific Forum CSIS, June 29, 2016 (PacNet #53).
Stephen Sestanovich, "Do Americans Want a New 'Grand Strategy' or less Overseas Engagement?" Wall Street Journal, June 16, 2016.
John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt, "The Case for Offshore Balancing," Foreign Affairs, June 13, 2016.
Joel Makower, Mark "Puck" Mykleby, and Patrick Doherty, "Why Sustainability Should Be America's 'Grand Strategy,'" GreenBiz, June 8, 2016.
Michael Mandelbaum, "America in a New World," American Interest, May 23, 2016.
Josef Joffe, "The New American Isolationism Will Outlive Barack Obama," Tablet, May 2, 2016.
Jennifer M. Harris, "America's Fatal Flaw in its Competition With China Is Thinking Militarily, Not Economically," Huffington Post, April 18, 2016.
Zbigniew Brzezinski, "Toward a Global Realignment," American Interest, April 17, 2016.
Seth Cropsey, "New American Grand Strategy," Real Clear Defense, April 13, 2016.
Zalmay Khalilzad, "4 Lessons about America's Role in the World," National Interest, March 23, 2016.
H. R. McMaster, "Probing for Weakness," Wall Street Journal, March 23, 2016.
Eliot Cohen, Eric S. Edelman, and Brian Hook, "Presidential Priority: Restore American Leadership," World Affairs, Spring 2016.
Daniel Deudney and G. John Ikenberry, "Unraveling America the Great," American Interest, March 15, 2016.
Craig Beutel, "Keen for a Strategy? George Kennan's Realism Is Alive and Well," Real Clear Defense, March 7, 2016.
Michael Auslin, "Asia's Mediterranean: Strategy, Geopolitics, and Risk in the Seas of the Indo-Pacific," War on the Rocks, February 29, 2016.
Max Boot, "Two Centuries of Police Work," Weekly Standard, February 22, 2016.
John E. McLaughlin, "US Strategy and Strategic Culture from 2017," Global Brief, February 19, 2016.
Holman W. Jenkins, "The U.S. Has No Global Strategy," Wall Street Journal, January 29, 2016.
Articles in 2015
David Petraeus, "A Grand Strategy for 'Greater' Asia," Lowy Institute, September 2, 2015 (Lowy Lecture 2015: general (Ret.) David Petraeus AO)
Hal Brands, "The Limits of Offshore Balancing," Strategic Studies Institute and U.S. Army War College Press, September 2015.
Franklin Spinney, "One Presidential Debate You Won't Hear: Why It is Time to Adopt a Sensible Grand Strategy," Counterpunch, August 31, 2015.
Zalmay Khalilzad, "We Asked Zalmay Khalilzad: What Should Be the Purpose of American power?" National Interest, August 26, 2015.
Hal Brands, "Retrenchment Chic: The Dangers Of Offshore Balancing—Analysis," Eurasia Review, August 20, 2015.
Stephen Peter Rosen, "How America Can Balance China's Rising power in Asia," Wall Street Journal, June 1, 2015.
Mark R. Kennedy, "Dump Realism. It's Time For a Conservative Internationalism," Foreign Policy, April 30, 2015.
Francis P. Sempa, "George Kennan's Geopolitics of the Far East," The Diplomat, April 15, 2015.
David A. Shlapak, "Towards a More Modest American Strategy," Survival, April-May 2015: 59-78.
Colin Dueck, "The Strategy of Retrenchment and Its Consequences," Foreign Policy Research Institute, April 2015.
Ionut Popescu, "What Obama Gets Right and Wrong on Grand Strategy," War on the Rocks, March 19, 2015.
Jim Mattis, "A New American Grand Strategy," Defining Ideas (Hoover Institution), February 25, 2015.
Jerry Hendrix, "Avoiding Trivia: A Strategy for Sustainment and Fiscal Security," Center for a New American Security, February 2015, 36 pp.
Chris Miller, "State of Disunion: America's Lack of Strategy is its Own Greatest Threat," Cicero Magazine, January 27, 2015.
Articles in 2014
Joseph Sarkisian, "American Grand Strategy or Grand Illusion," Cicero Magazine, December 1, 2014.
Bryan McGrath, "Unconstrained Grand Strategy," War on the Rocks, October 28, 2014.
Michael Page, "Is 'Restraint' a Realistic Grand Strategy?" Cicero Magazine, October 21, 2014.
R.D. Hooker, "The Grand Strategy of the United States," National Defense University Press (INSS Strategic Monograph), October 2014, 34 pp.
Richard L. Russell, "A Troubling 'World Island' Grand Tour: A World on Fire," National Interest, September 4, 2014.
William Ruger, "A Realist's Guide to Grand Strategy," American Conservative, August 26, 2014 (review of Barry R. Posen, Restraint: A New Foundation for U.S. Grand Strategy, Cornell University Press, 2014)
Richard Rosecrance, "The Emerging Overbalance of Power," American Interest, August 22, 2014.
F. G. Hoffman, "Grand Strategy: The Fundamental Considerations," Foreign Policy Research Institute, August 18, 2014.
David Adesnik, "Why America Fought," Weekly Standard, August 11, 2014.
Christopher A. Ford, "Ending the Strategic Holiday: U.S. Grand Strategy and a 'Rising China," Asia Policy, July 2014: 181-189.
Hal Brands, "Breaking Down Obama's Grand Strategy," National Interest, June 23, 2014.
William C. Martel, "America's Grand Strategy Disaster," National Interest, June 9, 2014.
Peter Beinart, "Putting Ukraine in Its Place," The Atlantic, May 21, 2014.
Robert Kaplan, "The Gift of American Power," Real Clear World, May 15, 2014.
Michael Lind, "The Case for American Nationalism," National Interest, April 22, 2014.
Aaron David Miller, "The Naiveté of Distance," Foreign Policy, March 31, 2014.
Chad Pillai, "The Return of Great Power Politics: Re-examining the Nixon Doctrine," War on the Rocks, March 27, 2014.
Adam Garfinkle, "The Silent Death of American Grand Strategy," American Review, 2014.
Bruce W. Jentleson, "Strategic Recalibration: Framework for a 21st Century National Security Strategy," The Washington Quarterly, Spring 2014, 125-136.
Article from 2012
William C. Martel, "Why America Needs a Grand Strategy," The Diplomat, June 18, 2012.
This appendix presents some recent examples of articles, with the most recent on top, providing perspectives on the value of allies and alliances to the United States.
Doug Bandow, "Time to Terminate Washington's Defense Welfare," National Interest, August 30, 2017.
John Glaser, "Withdrawing From Overseas Bases, Why a Forward-Deployed Military Posture Is Unnecessary, Outdated, and Dangerous," Cato Institute, July 18, 2017. (Policy Analysis 816)
Doug Irving, "Are America's Overseas Security Commitments Worth It?" RAND, July 7, 2017. (This post summarizes a RAND report—Daniel Egel, et al, Estimating the Value of Overseas Security Commitments, RAND Corporation, 2016, 81 pp. [Report RR-518])
Hugh White, "China v US: Who Needs Allies?" The Interpreter, May 29, 2017.
Kori Schake, "NATO Without America?" American Interest, May 25, 2017.
Christopher A. Preble, "Should the United States Wage War for Friends?" National Interest, December 15, 2016.
Barry R. Posen, "The High Costs and Limited Benefits of America's Alliances," National Interest, August 7, 2016.
Charles Lane, "The Logic Behind Our Alliances," Washington Post, July 28, 2016.
Jim Talent, "Why Alliances Matter," National Review, July 27, 2016.
Jeremy Shapiro and Richard Sokolsky, "How America Enables Its Allies' Bad Behavior," Order from Chaos (Brookings Institution), May 4, 2016.
Walter Russell Mead, "The Global Vote of No Confidence in Pax Americana," American Interest, April 5, 2016.
Frank Hoffman, "Manning the Frontier: Allies and the Unraveling of the World Order," War on the Rocks, March 7, 2016.
This appendix presents a list of some CRS products providing overview discussions relating to the Department of State, U.S. participation in international organizations, and foreign assistance programs. These products include the following:
Additional CRS products not listed above provide discussions of specific issues relating to the Department of State and foreign assistance.
This appendix presents a list of some CRS products providing overview discussions relating to trade and international economic policy. Products relating to trade include the following:
Products relating to international economic policy include the following:
Additional CRS products not listed above provide discussions of specific issues relating to trade and international economic policy.
This appendix presents a list of some CRS products providing overview discussions relating to defense policy and programs. These products include the following:
Additional CRS products not listed above provide discussions of specific issues relating to defense policy and programs.
This appendix presents a list of some CRS products providing overview discussions relating to homeland security, border security, immigration, and refugees. These products include the following:
Additional CRS products not listed above provide discussions of specific issues relating to homeland security, border security, and immigration.
Author Contact Information
One strategist, reviewing a new book about grand strategy (Lukas Milevski, The Evolution of Modern Grand Strategic Thought, Oxford University Press, 2016), states
The notion of grand strategy, albeit terribly hubristic sounding, is a decidedly practical art and a necessity for powers great and small. Such strategies are applied by accident or by deliberate rationalization in the pursuit of a country's best interests. Yet, there are few agreements about what constitutes a grand strategy and even what the best definition is....
... Ironically, I am partial to the definition postulated by Dr. Colin Gray, who defined it in The Strategy Bridge as "the direction and use made of any or all the assets of a security community, including its military instrument, for the purposes of policy as decided by politics." This definition is not limited to states per se, is mute on its relevance to peacetime competition or wartime, and explicitly refers to all of the power assets of a community, rather than just its military services.
[Milevski's] book is a wonderful and concise treatise that in some ways will remind readers of Edward Mead Earle's original Makers of Modern Strategy, which was published at the end of World War II.... While Earle focused on the key figures of strategy, Milevski's focus is narrower, uncovering the context and tracing the historiography of the term "grand strategy" over the past two centuries.
[Milevski] captures the varied insights among the giants (Mahan, Corbett, Edward M. Earle, Kahn, and Brodie) that have enriched our understanding of the apex of strategy. At the end of his journey, he incorporates the insights of major recent contributors to the literature and our basis for theory today: Edward Luttwak, Barry Posen, John Collins, Paul Kennedy, John Lewis Gaddis, and Hal Brands.
(Frank Hoffman, "The Consistent Incoherence of Grand Strategy," War on the Rocks, September 1, 2016.)
A spheres-of-influence world, like a multipolar world, is characterized by having multiple major world powers. In a spheres-of-influence world, however, at least some of those major world powers have achieved a status of regional hegemon, while in a multipolar world, few or none of those major world powers (other than the United States, the regional hegemon of the Western Hemisphere) have achieved a status of regional hegemon. As a result, in a spheres-of-influence world, international relations are more highly segmented on a regional basis than they are in a multipolar world.
For recent examples of articles discussing geopolitics as defined in the more specific sense, see Robert D. Kaplan, "The Return of Marco Polo's World and the U.S. Military Response," Center for a New American Security, undated but posted at the CNAS website ca. May 12, 2017; Robert C. Rubel, "Exporting Security: China, the United States, and the Innovator's Dilemma," Naval War College Review, Spring 2017: 11-29; John Hillen, "Foreign Policy By Map," National Review, February 23, 2015: 32-34; Alfred McCoy, "The Geopolitics of American Global Decline," Real Clear World, June 8, 2015; and Walter Russell Mead, "The Return of Geopolitics: The Revenge of the Revisionist Powers," Foreign Affairs, May-June 2014.
The term Eurasia is used in this report to refer to the entire land mass that encompasses both Europe and Asia, including its fringing islands, extending from Portugal on its western end to Japan on its eastern end, and from Russia's Arctic coast on its northern edge to India on its southern edge, and encompassing all the lands and countries in between, including those of Central Asia, Southwest Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. Eurasia's fringing islands include, among others, the United Kingdom and Ireland in Europe, Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean, and Japan and the archipelagic countries of Southeast Asia. There are also other definitions of Eurasia, some of which are more specialized and refer to subsets of the broad area described above.
Opposing the emergence of regional hegemons in Eurasia is also sometimes referred to as preserving a division of power in Eurasia.
See, for example, "Democratic Peace Theory," Oxford Bibliographies, accessed May 23, 2017, at http://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780199756223/obo-9780199756223-0014.xml.
See, for example, Colin Willett, "Trump's Asia Policy Is More Confused Than Ever," Foreign Policy, June 12, 2017; Nahal Toosi, "The Trump Doctrine Is made of Mixed Messages," Politico, April 29, 2017; P.J. Crowley, "What We Have Here Is A Failure to Communicate," Politico, April 28, 2017; Erin Cunningham, et al., "Other Countries Are Still Trying to Figure Out What Trump Means to Them" Washington Post, April 28, 2017; William Inboden, "In A Tale of Two Trumps, Which Will Emerge as President Is Anyone's Guess," Dallas Morning News, Greg Miller, "On Russia, Trump and His Top National Security Aides Seem to Be At Odds," Washington Post, April 18, 2017; Kevin Sullivan and Karen Tumulty, "Trump Promised An 'Unpredictable' Foreign Policy. To Allies, It Looks Incoherent." Washington Post, April 11, 2017; Julie Pace, "Trump's Strike on Syria Has Many Wondering What the President's Foreign Policy Is," Business Insider, April 10, 2017; Peter Baker, "The Emerging Trump Doctrine: Don't Follow Doctrine," New York Times, April 8, 2017; Jim Hoagland, "The Mystery of Trump's Character Deepens," Washington Post, April 7, 2017 Robin Wright, "Trump's Flailing Foreign Policy Bewilders The World," New Yorker, February 17, 2017.
See, for example, Richard N. Haass, "Who Will Fill America's Shoes?" The Strategist, June 26, 2017; Lawrence Summers, "After 75 Years of Progress, Was Last Week A Hinge in History?" Washington Post, June 4, 2017; Jonathan Easley, "Trump Cements 'America First' Doctrine with Paris Withdrawal," The Hill, June 2, 2017; Fareed Zakaria, "Trump's Radical Departure from Postwar Foreign Policy," Washington Post, June 1, 2017; Carol Morello and John Wagner, "As the U.S. Laves Paris Climate Accord, Some See Shifts in Global Leadership," Washington Post, June 1, 2017; David Frum, "The Death Knell for America's Global Leadership," The Atlantic, May 31, 2017; Heather Timmons, "The Trump Presidency Is Systematically Destroying Any Global Moral High Ground the US Had Left," Quartz, March 13, 2017; Jessica T. Matthews, "What Trump Is Throwing Out the Window," New York Review of Books, February 9, 2017; Jeremi Suri, "How Trump's Executive Orders Could Set America Back 70 Years," The Atlantic, January 27, 2017; Karen DeYoung and Philip Rucker, "Trump Lays Groundwork to Change U.S. Role in the World," Washington Post, January 26, 2017; Charles Krauthammer, "Trump's Foreign Policy Revolution," Washington Post, January 26, 2017; Richard Stengel, "The End of the American Century," The Atlantic, January 26, 2017; John Cassidy, "Donald Trump's New World Disorder," New Yorker, January 24, 2017; Max Boot, "Will Trump Be the End of the Pax Americana?" Los Angeles Times, January 22, 2017; Zack Beauchamp, "Trump's Inaugural Address Showed That He's Serious About His Radical Foreign Policy," Vox, January 20, 2017; Fred Kaplan, "Donald Trump Really Believes All Those Things He Said During the Campaign," Slate, January 20, 2017.
See, for example, Elliott Abrams, "Trump the Traditionalist," Foreign Affairs, July/August 2017: 10-16; John T. Bennett, "Despite Campaign Pledges, Trump Plans Active Foreign Policy," Roll Call, May 4, 2017; James Jeffrey, "100 Days of Trump Foreign Policy: Chaos to Moderation," Cipher Brief, April 28, 2017; Danielle Pletka, "On Foreign Policy, Trump Has Become—Gasp—A Normal President," Washington Post, April 26, 2017; Eli Lake, "At 100 Days, Trump's No Russian Stooge or Fascist," Bloomberg, April 25, 2017; Matthew Lee and Josh Lederman, "Once Critical of Global Deals, Trump Slow to Pull Out of Any," Washington Times, April 20, 2017; Annie Karni, "Trump's Foreign Policy Goes Mainstream," Politico, April 10, 2017; Julie Pace and Vivian Salam, "Once Opposed to Intervention, Trump Says He Can Be Flexible," Military Times, April 10, 2017; Binyamin Applebaum, "President's Growing Trade Gap: A Gulf Between Talk and Action," New York Times, March 31, 2017; Julie Hirschfeld and Alan Rappeport, "After Calling Nafta 'Worst Trade Deal,' Trump Appears to Soften Stance," New York Times, March 30, 2017; Mark Landler, Peter Baker, and David E. Sanger, "Trump Embraces Pillars of Obama's Foreign Policy," New York Times, February 2, 2017.
See, for example, James Kirchick, "Why It's Hard to Take Democrats Seriously on Russia," Politico, July 24, 2017; Lawrence J. Haas, "Encouraging Putin's Recklessness," U.S. News & World Report, June 27, 2017; Eli Lake, "Obama Choked on Russia Long Before the 2016 Election," Bloomberg, June 27, 2017; Josef Joffe, "How Trump Is Like Obama," Wall Street Journal, June 13, 2017; John Vinocur, "Obama's European Legacy," Wall Street Journal, May 29, 2017; James Kirchick, "Who Killed the Liberal World Order,?" American Interest, May 3, 2017; Leon Wieseltier, "Aleppo's Fall is Obama's Failure," Washington Post, December 15, 2016.
As discussed in another CRS report, world events have led some observers, starting in late 2013, to conclude that the international security environment has undergone a shift from the familiar post-Cold War era of the past 20 to 25 years, also sometimes known as the unipolar moment (with the United States as the unipolar power), to a new and different situation that features, among other things, renewed great power competition with China and Russia and challenges by these two countries and others to elements of the U.S.-led international order that has operated since World War II. See CRS Report R43838, A Shift in the International Security Environment: Potential Implications for Defense—Issues for Congress, by [author name scrubbed].
The terms offshore balancing and offshore control refer in general to a policy in which the United States, in effect, stands off the shore of Eurasia and engages in the security affairs of Eurasia less frequently, less directly, or less expansively. The term retrenchment is more often used by critics of these proposed approaches.
For example, one analyst and former White House aide states: "For much of its history, the United States kept itself largely apart from the world ... During the Cold War and its aftermath, the United States sat atop the world. Militarily, economically, technologically, diplomatically, politically, and ideologically, the United States was dominant by almost every measure ... [Today] the United States finds itself neither apart nor atop but rather amidst the world, both shaping and being shaped by global events and forces.... " As a consequence, he argues, there is the need for a new approach that differs from both retrenchment and re-assertion, an approach he labels "re-calibration" to the "geopolitical, economic, technological and other dynamics driving the 21st-century world." Such an approach, he argues, would entail a reappraisal of U.S. interests, a reassessment of U.S. power, and a repositioning of U.S. leadership. (Bruce Jentleson, "Apart, Atop, Amidst: America in the World," War on the Rocks, January 2017.)
As another example, a different analyst argues in favor of a U.S. role based on "a better nationalism"—what he describes as a more benign and constructive form that "would not dismantle the post-war order and America's post war project, but would take a harder-edged and more disciplined approach to asserting U.S. interests." (Hal Brands, "U.S. Grand Strategy in an Age of Nationalism: Fortress American and it Alternatives," Washington Quarterly, Spring 2017: 73-93.)
These include the power to
provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States;
regulate commerce with foreign nations;
define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offenses against the law of nations;
declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water;
raise and support armies;
provide and maintain a navy;
provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrections, and repel invasions;
provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia, and for governing such part of them that may be employed in the service of the United States; and
make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution these and other powers granted in Article I, Section 8.
See, for example, Jia Wenshan, "Chinese Solutions to Governance Problems," China Daily, September 12, 2017; He Yafei, "New World Order Is the Inevitable Trend," China Daily, August 21, 2017; Matthew P. Goodman and Jonathan E. Hillman, "Is China Winning the Scramble for Eurasia?" National Interest, August 21, 2017; He Yafei, "The 'American Century' Has Come to Its End," Global Times, August 20, 2017; Koh Swee Lean Collin, "America: China Doesn't Care about Your Rules-Based Order," National Interest, August 17, 2017; John Grady, "Expert: Beijing's Belt and Road Plan is About Building a New Chinese-Led Order for the 21st Century," USNI News, August 3, 2017; Steven Erlanger, "China Sees Opening Left by Trump in Europe, and Quietly Steps In," New York Times, July 5, 2017; "China, B&R [Belt and Road] Countries to Take Lead in Global Economic Governance: Foreign Experts," People's Daily Online, June 26, 2017; Andrew Browne, "Fitting Into Beijing's New World Order," Wall Street Journal, May 30, 2017; Natalie Liu, "China Expands Globally Amid Concerns Over its Mercantilist Policies," VOA News, May 25, 2017; Jane Perlez and Keith Bradsher, "Xi Jinping Positions China at Center of New Economic Order," New York Times, May 14, 2017; Jane Perlez and Yufan Huang, "Behind China's $1 Trillion Plan to Shake Up the Economic Order," New York Times, May 13, 2017; "Is China Challenging the United States for Global Leadership?" Economist, April 1, 2017; Uri Friedman, "What a World Led by China Might Look Like," The Atlantic, March 29, 2017; Bjorn Jerden, et al., "Don't Call it the New Chinese Global Order (Yet)," Foreign Policy, March 7, 2017; Zhao Minghao, "'Post-West' World Calls for New Structure," Global Times, February 28, 2017; Zheping Huang, "Chinese President Xi Jinping Has Vowed to Lead the 'New World Order,'" Quartz, February 22, 2017; Ross Terrill, "A Beijing Model? Xi Jinping's Version of Democracy," Weekly Standard, February 20, 2017; Elizabeth C. Economy, "Beijing Is No Champion of Globalization," Council on Foreign Relations, January 22, 2017; Robert Daly, "While the West Fiddles, China Races to Define the Future," Foreign Policy, January 20, 2017; "Xi Calls for Reforms on Global Governance," Xinhuanet, September 28, 2016; Liu Jie, "Commentary: Revamping Global Economic Governance in Due Course," Xinhuanet, September 1, 2016; Simon Denyer, "The Internet Was Supposed to Foster Democracy. China Has Different Ideas," Washington Post, July 10, 2016; Richard Fontaine and Mira Rapp-Hooper, "How China Sees World Order," National Interest, April 20, 2016.
See footnote 14.
See footnote 14.
As quoted in Russell Berman, "President Trump's 'Hard Power' Budget," The Atlantic, March 16, 2017. The article states that Mulvaney made the remarks in "a Wednesday [March 15] briefing previewing the [budget] proposal's release." In a March 16, 2017 White House press briefing, Mulvaney similarly stated
Again, I come back to what the president said on the campaign, which is that he's going to spend less money overseas. To your question, though, because this came up the other day, which is the hard power versus soft power. There's a very deliberate attempt here to send a message to our allies and our friends, such as India, and our adversaries, other countries, shall we say, which is that this is a hard-power budget; that this administration intends to change course from a soft power budget to a hard power budget. And that's a message that our adversaries and our allies alike should take.
(Transcript of White House regular news briefing, March 16, 2017, as posted at CQ.com.)
See Office of Management and Budget, America First A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again.
For example, at a June 15, 2017, hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee on the Department of the Navy's proposed FY2018 budget, the following exchange occurred:
SENATOR ELIZABETH WARREN (continuing):
I want to quickly ask about the importance of our non-military agencies and programs to the Navy mission. Admiral Richardson, would a significant reduction in funding to the State Department and other non-defense security agencies and programs make the Navy's job easier or harder to do?
ADMIRAL JOHN RICHARDSON, CHIEF OF NAVAL OPERATIONS:
If you—if you—harder, to be blunt about it, ma'am.
I'll take blunt.
Yeah, that's—(inaudible). So, you know, the lack of diplomacy and those sorts of other elements of national power—if those aren't there, it makes our mission harder.
(Transcript as posted at CQ.com.)
Secretary of Defense James Mattis reportedly has stated: "If you don't fund the State Department fully, then I need to buy more ammunition ultimately." (Alex Lockie, "Mattis Once Said If State Department Funding Gets Cut 'Then I Need to Buy More Ammunition,'" Business Insider, February 27, 2017.) Another article quotes Mattis as having said, while he was Commander of U.S. Central Command: "If you don't fully fund the State Department, then I need to buy more ammunition." (Dan Lamothe, "Retired Generals Cite Past Comments from Mattis While Opposing Trump's Proposed Foreign Aid Cuts," Washington Post, February 27, 2017.)
See, for example, Mark P. Lagon and Brian P. McKeon, "Donald Trump' Is Tarnishing America's Brand," Foreign Policy, March 1, 2017.
See, for example, Fu Ying, "China's Vision for the World: A Community of Shared Future," The Diplomat, June 22, 2017; Isaac Stone Fish, "Is China Becoming the World's Most Likable Superpower?" The Atlantic, June 2, 2017; David E. Sanger and jane Perlez, "Trump Hands the Chinese a Gift: The Chance for Global Leadership," New York Times, June 1, 2017; Elsa Kania, "China's War for Narrative Dominance," National Interest, May 28, 2017; "China to Continue Contributing to Global Stability, Growth, Peace, Governance," Xinhua, March 8, 2017.
Kori Schake, "National Security Challenges," ORBIS, Vol. 61 Issue 1, Winter 2017.
See, for example, Benjamin Jensen, "How the International System Shapes the Character of War: Order, Geography, and Networks, War on the Rocks, June 4, 2017, https://warontherocks.com/?s=How+the+International+System+Shapes+the+Character+of+War%3A+Order%2C+Geography%2C+and+Networks.
Charles Lane, "Sorry, Trump's Refugee Order Is Probably Legal," Washington Post, February 1, 2017.
For a general discussion of congressional staffing and how it has evolved over time, see Congressional Research Service, Congressional Staffing: The Continuity of Change and Reform, by [author name scrubbed], in CRS Committee Print CP10000, The Evolving Congress: A Committee Print Prepared for the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, coordinated by [author name scrubbed], [author name scrubbed], and [author name scrubbed]. See also Kathy Goldschmidt, State of the Congress: Staff Perspectives on Institutional Capacity in the House and Senate, Congressional Management Foundation, 2017, 38 pp.
For an example of a study effort focused on the issue of congressional capacity for dealing with various issues (foreign policy or otherwise), see the Legislative Branch Capacity Working Group (www.LegBranch.com) and the associated Congressional Capacity Project (https://www.newamerica.org/political-reform/congressional-capacity-project/) of New America (aka New America Foundation) (https://www.newamerica.org/our-story/).
For further discussion, see CRS In Focus IF10293, Foreign Relations Reauthorization: Background and Issues, by [author name scrubbed]. See also pages 17-20 of Congressional Research Service, Changes in the Purposes and Frequency of Authorizations of Appropriations, by [author name scrubbed], in CRS Committee Print CP10000, The Evolving Congress: A Committee Print Prepared for the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, coordinated by [author name scrubbed], [author name scrubbed], and [author name scrubbed].
CRS In Focus IF10485, Defense Primer: Geography, Strategy, and U.S. Force Design, by [author name scrubbed].
"Presidential Memorandum on Rebuilding the U.S. Armed Forces," accessed June 28, 2017, at https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/01/27/presidential-memorandum-rebuilding-us-armed-forces.
Source: Transcript of speech posted at CQ.com, accessed September 19, 2017. The transcript as posted at cq.com includes some indications of audience applause that are not included in the reprinting of the transcript here. Versions of the transcript were also posted at https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/09/19/remarks-president-trump-72nd-session-united-nations-general-assembly and https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/9/19/16333290/trump-full-speech-transcript-un-general-assembly.
Wilbur Ross, "Free-Trade is a Two-Way Street," Wall Street Journal, July 31, 2017.
Gary D. Cohn and H.R. McMaster, "The Trump Vision for America Abroad," New York Times, July 13, 2017.
Remarks by President Trump to the People of Poland, July 6, 2017, accessed August 17, 2017, at https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/07/06/remarks-president-trump-people-poland-july-6-2017. The transcript as posted at www.whitehouse.gov includes numerous indications of audience applause that are not included in the reprinting of the transcript here.
Remarks to U.S. Department of State Employees, Rex W. Tillerson, Secretary of State, Dean Acheson Auditorium, Washington, DC, May 3, 2017, accessed June 27, 2017, at https://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2017/05/270620.htm.
"America First Foreign Policy," accessed September 19, 2017, at https://www.whitehouse.gov/america-first-foreign-policy.
The Inaugural Address, Remarks of President Donald J. Trump—As Prepared for Delivery, Inaugural Address, Friday, January 20, 2017, Washington, DC, accessed August 17, 2017, at https://www.whitehouse.gov/inaugural-address.
Pew Research Center, "Public Uncertain, Divided Over America's Place in the World," May 5, 2016.
Dina Smeltz, Ivo Daalder, Karl Friedhoff, and Craig Kafur, America in the Age of Uncertainty, American Public Opinion and US Foreign Policy, 2016 Chicago Council Survey, Chicago Council on Global Affairs, pp. 2, 6.
Charles Koch Institute and Center for the National Interest, "Poll: This Holiday, Americans Wish For A More Peaceful Approach to Foreign Policy, Results show voters favor an emphasis on diplomacy and trade and are skeptical of military intervention abroad," December 22, 2016, accessed June 21, 2017, at https://187ock2y3ejr34z8752m6ize-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/12.22.16-Charles-Koch-TNI.pdf.
This blog post at this point includes a link to John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt, "The Case for Offshore Balancing," Foreign Affairs, July/August 2016.
Stephen Sestanovich, "Do Americans Want a New 'Grand Strategy' or Less Overseas Engagement?" Wall Street Journal (Washington Wire/Think Tank), June 16, 2016.
Stephen Sestanovich, "The President Is Preventing the Foreign-Policy Debate America Needs To have," Defense One, April 13, 2017.
TNI [The National Interest] Staff, "Is Trump's Foreign Policy the New Mainstream?" National Interest, December 22, 2016.
Michael Clarke and Anthony Ricketts, "Understanding the Return of the Jacksonian Tradition," ORBIS, Vol. 61, Issue 1, Winter 2017: 13-26. (The quotation is from the article's abstract.)
See for example, Taeshuh Cha, "The Return of Jacksonianism: The International Implications of the Trump Phenomenon," The Washington Quarterly, 39:4, Winter 2017, pp. 83-97.
Martin Wolf, "The Long and Painful Journey to World Disorder," Financial Times, January 5, 2017.
The blog post at this point includes a hyperlink to the 2016 Chicago Council Survey report cited in footnote 37.
Hal Brands, "Is American Internationalism Dead?" War on the Rocks, May 16, 2017.
Hal Brands, "Can U.S. Internationalism Survive Trump?" Foreign Policy, May 25, 2017. Similarly, this same foreign policy specialist, along with a co-author, state in a June 21, 2017, that
making such a commitment [i.e., a commitment to actively influence global affairs] requires confronting the question of whether the American public is willing to sustain such a role. There are many reasons it should be willing to do so; U.S. engagement has been vital to shaping an international order in which America has been relatively secure and enormously prosperous. Yet the public mood is nonetheless ambivalent. Whether a consensus in support of a robust American internationalism can be resolidified remains to be seen. What is clear is that supporters of that tradition will have to go back to first principles if they are to make a compelling case; they must once again articulate the basic logic of policies that American internationalists have long taken for granted.
(Hal Brands and Eric Edelman, "America and the Geopolitics of Upheaval," National Interest, June 21, 2017.)
Walter Russell Mead, "A Debate on America's Role—25 Years Late," Wall Street Journal, May 22, 2017.