It is almost universally accepted that Donald Trump’s foreign policy is going to be a disaster. But what if his bizarre antics actually work? What if Trump pulls a Homer on foreign policy?
Pulling a Homer
Here’s a scenario under which Trump ends up being known as a foreign policy success. It probably won’t happen, but if it does, you heard it here first.
- The Iran protestors succeed in replacing or drastically reforming the government in Iran. The new regime remembers Trump was the first world leader to directly support them. US-Iran relations open up. Trump takes credit whether he deserves it or not.
- China and South Korea get so concerned with Trump’s impulsiveness that they finally decide to take action on North Korea. Trump takes credit whether he deserves it or not.
- Israel and Palestine come together in sort of a reverse Camp David summit as a result of Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Both parties are concerned with Trump’s bizarre behaviour, and finally start negotiating from realistic basis. Trump takes credit whether he deserves it or not.
- As a result ⅔ of the “Axis of Evil” is fixed through diplomatic means, and Middle East peace achieved during the Trump administration. History books go on to credit him as a highly persuasive foreign policy president. Scott Adams’ “4d Chess” analogy for Trump’s actions, however preposterous it seems now, ends up becoming the accepted narrative.
Trump Foreign Policy Compared to Nixon
Its worth remembering that Nixon’s foreign policy team managed to open up China, and negotiate the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty with the Soviet Union all while the Watergate scandal engulfed the administration domestically. Nixon brooded in the White House about real and imagined domestic enemies, but his team still goes in history as actually pretty decent from a foreign policy perspective. Nixon had Kissinger, who is now synonymous with high level diplomatic maneuvering, but came as a Washington outsider. Trump has Rex Tillerson, an experienced global businessman, but certainly no Kissinger when it comes to knowledge of history and international relations. Yet, like Kissinger he is willing to in pursuit of his ideas and schemes, and are willing to take risk what more experienced diplomats would consider insane.
Its true that the general “status” of the US around the world is likely to decline partially as a result of the fact that Trump made the US seem like a more unreliable partner. But that’s a fuzzy concept hard to trace to any individual. Being overstretched and self serving around the globe has been the US Modus Operandi since the end of world war II. Concrete accomplishments would outweigh everything else in people’s minds.