With Trump’s recent comparison of the United States of America’s intelligence community to Nazi Germany, many domestic policy experts are concerned about the impact of Trump’s rhetoric on Twitter and in speeches regarding domestic policies. However, grandiose statements and Twitter comebacks by presidents also have an impact on foreign policy; in fact, perhaps even greater than we may imagine.
For example, Trump’s condemnation of the intelligence community’s trustworthiness is quite shocking. We knew that Trump was unwilling to attend the normal amount of intelligence briefings that every president receives, but it makes more sense now, because why attend them if you don’t trust them anyway? With a president getting his news through the filter of the media, rather than the filter of the CIA or FBI, he’s almost guaranteed to flounder under pressure in the spy game. Intelligence agencies in allied nations will exchange intelligence information, but if President Trump doesn’t introduce himself into that loop, nations like UK will gain information before Trump, creating very dangerous negotiations. Knowledge is power, and President Trump should never condemn an intelligence agency publicly, lest they decide giving him information is not worthwhile.
During the primaries, Trump’s rhetoric also ended up in a debate in UK Parliament. The UK lawmakers argued that his poisonous words on UK soil could incite violence in communities already unstable from conflicts between religious, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups. While the UK chose not to ban him, the debate in the UK sparked the same debate in Germany, although this also was not implemented. However, their excuses were that Trump should be ignored, as this was over a year ago. Now, with Trump being sworn in on Friday, President Trump will be very hard to ignore.
Meanwhile, while good US allies like UK and Germany seem reluctant to allow our president to enter their legislatures, violent leaders like Rodrigo Duterte seem willing to accept him with open arms. According to Duterte, Donald Trump praised his anti-drug policies, which include outright killings with no trial of those even merely associated with drugs. Trump’s radical rhetoric may be winning him allies, but they’re all the wrong ones. As Americans, we used to stand for decency in law and decency in person. With the election of Trump, Americans feel represented by someone unwilling to stand for principle or ally.
China and Japan are the biggest dangers to the United States’ lack of decency by our leader. Both cultures are respect and honor based, and are the top two US creditors. If Trump breaks off communication with them, or deeply offends them, he very well could cause a fiscal crisis of foreign policy origin. His acceptance of a call from Taiwan, while diplomatic, is an issue of deep hatred in China’s elite, and a few more costly mistakes may cost the United States a war. Already, Trump’s Secretary of State nominee, Rex Tillerson, called for a blockade of South China Sea islands, which may be the straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak. One more misstep may very well crush our dollar’s actual value, ruining a great many Americans.
There is a plethora of countries that Trump can offend, but more that the US cannot afford to lose. Trump’s policy towards Israel was not like Senator Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) Israeli policy was in the primaries, but his continued support of Israel as a nation shows good intent in keeping some allies and hope for Americans worried about what Trump’s foreign policy will bring. With just a few good Cabinet choices like Mike Pompeo, who during his Senate hearing rejected waterboarding and told the Senate that he agreed with the intelligence community’s conclusion on Russia, Trump may be able to realize his errors and learn to better manage his rhetoric.
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