Trump’s Shapeless Foreign Policy – OpEd

US President Donald Trump is in his initial stage of his presidency, and is only trying fix his role in the committee of nations and in intentional politics where America has always managed to play the lead role in whatever manner.

President Donald Trump has years of foreign policy decisions to go before he can comprehensively restore US prestige or make USA great. There exists not enough space to enumerate the ways Obama weakened American power made the world a distinctly more dangerous place by his own attacks on Afghanistan, Libya, Pakistan and indirectly Syria. Genocides, destructions and destabilization were the hall mark of Bush-Obama foreign policy.

President Trump’s supporters claim that his decision to strike Syria was a strong and swift declaration of American values and the president’s rationale was refreshingly simple and clear. Last month the nascent Trump government chose to forego the now absurd “red line” but spoke through the US military, responding with a missile strike on Syria a mere two days after Assad’s latest chemical attack on civilians.

Weak legacy

When Trump took over the White House he in fact inherited a weak America which is clearly diminishing of its standing in the world owing to several reasons, mainly the Russian challenge, Iranian outmaneuvering ability and North Korean capacity to pursue its nuclear goals.

Syria, Russia and Iran remains the major thrust of concerns for the US strategists and the powerful Neocon elements, dominated by hard core Jews who control US foreign policy beyond West Asia.

Syrian leader Assad and has survived albeit with a great deal of destruction, genocides and destabilization thanks only to the open support extended by the Kremlin — a close military ally of Iran, the self proclaimed Shiite leader in West Asia that has taken the responsibility of protecting the Shiite regimes against the will of Sunni leader Saudi Arabia which still wants to see Persia also gets destabilized, possibly as the end process that began with the invasion and destabilization of an Islamizing Afghanistan.

Russian support had made a fast falling Assad energetic and strong, bold. A year after President Barack Obama issued Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime a “red line” on the use of chemical weapons, Assad manifestly crossed the line with a chemical attack that killed more than 1,400 civilians. Rather than acting decisively on his pledge, Obama first dithered and then demurred to Congress for approval of a strike on Syria. Of course, the strike never materialized, and Assad’s brutality went unchallenged and unpunished for years.

While the European Union faced its existential crisis with the Brexit, and NATO appeared confused about its own reasons for existence, Russian strongman Vladimir Putin continued to exert Moscow’s influence over weaker neighbors. Latest appointment of an Armenian Armed Forces General, Yuri Khachaturov, as head of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, commonly known as “Putin’s NATO” illustrated the degree of the Kremlin’s sway over its neighbors. A former Soviet republic, Armenia is filled with Russian military bases and weapons, and its external borders are guarded by the Russian security officers. Khachaturov’s appointment proves that, even in the Moscow-dominated world of its Eurasian satellites, Armenia stands out as an ultra-loyal and dependent Russian vassal.

Russia last November strategically placed its nuclear-capable Iskander ballistic missiles in its enclave of Kaliningrad, right next to America’s NATO Baltic allies, and announced plans to do the same in its annexed territory of Crimea—essentially threatening the entire Black Sea region. In addition to areas Russia controls directly, Moscow placed the Iskander in two of its regional proxies and satellites: Armenia and Syria. Apparently for Russia, the difference between the territories it formally deems its own, and the failed states it effectively controls, is very symbolic.

These are a clear effort by Russia to deny military advantage to NATO forces and to assert geographic dominance. The first major test for President Trump came when Moscow-backed Assad carried out April’s chemical attack, defying the former Obama red line. Trump responded in force. Possibly Russia-Iran-Syria trio had not foreseen that.

Iran is now one of the biggest oil exporters to South Korea and has steadily increased its exports since the lifting of sanctions associated with its nuclear program in January 2016. Iran became the second largest oil exporter to South Korea in the first three months of 2017, delivering a record 18.54 million barrels. South Korea will be under pressure to import more oil and gas from the US, having ramped up Iranian imports in recent months to the displeasure of Washington.

The USA has sent the first batch of its heavy armaments to the Kurdish People’s Protection Units or YPG. Speaking to Sputnik Turkiye, former Turkish Ambassador to the US Faruk Logoglu reacted to the delivery, calling it a “diplomatic slap in the face of Turkey.” The armament and armed vehicles were sent by land from the Iraqi Kurdistan and then sent to Rojava autonomous region in northern Syria, he said. It was further sent to Kobani, a city in the Aleppo Governorate and the Tell Abyad District within the Raqqa Governorate. This weaponry, the source said, will be used in the ongoing offensive to liberate Raqqa from Daesh

Support for Ukraine government

Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of US senators on May 8 sent a letter to President Donald Trump encouraging him to prioritize meeting with President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine before meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 conference in July. Identifying the importance of engaging longstanding American allies as a priority for the foreign policy agenda of the new administration, the letter also recommends increased support for institutions and European governments that help preserve the international order.

“As your Administration continues to formulate policies to promote American national security and foreign policy interests, we are writing to strongly encourage you to engage with our traditional allies and prioritize meeting with foreign leaders representing countries with whom we share historical ties, democratic values, and mutual interests,” wrote the senators. “Meeting with democratically elected representatives from Ukraine would send a strong signal that the United States continues to prioritize our relationship with longstanding allies, and will continue our commitments to support Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of ongoing aggression.”

A meeting in Washington, D.C., between President Trump and Ukraine’s President, they say, would be a critical sign of support for peace in the region, as US support for Ukraine now is imperative to its survival. Russia’s unrelenting hybrid warfare in Ukraine is destabilizing the international world order.

The massive build-up of Russian troops along Ukraine’s eastern border and recent escalating attacks in the eastern regions of Luhansk and Donetsk are continuously threatening Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. The USA must take definitive action to help stabilize the transnational, trans-Atlantic security framework, which clearly serves our national interests as Americans. Without U.S. support and a commitment to peace, the crisis in Ukraine is only likely to escalate,” they noted.

They argued that, “As the bastion of democracy in the Free World, the United States must take the lead in promoting international norms and consolidating geo-political stability,” and they urged Trump “to affirm the United States’ commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.” They cited security concerns that should be highlighted by the USA.

Trump to meet Putin

Recently, Russia’s top diplomat Sergei Lavrov met US President Donald Trump and praised his government as problem solvers, just as the White House drew criticism over the firing of the FBI director who was leading a probe into Moscow’s alleged interference in US politics. The talks with Foreign Minister were the highest-level public contact between Trump and the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin since the Republican took office on January 20. While not unprecedented, it is a rare privilege for a foreign minister to be received by a US president for a bilateral meeting in the White House.

A meeting between Putin and Trump is likely to happen under the auspices of the G20 summit in Hamburg in Germany in July and that it was important that their meeting brought tangible results.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov raised the issue of the compounds during a Washington visit. Former US president Barack Obama ordered the expulsion of the 35 Russians in late December and imposed sanctions on two Russian intelligence agencies over what he said was their involvement in hacking political groups in the November 8 US presidential election. Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the time he would not retaliate immediately and would wait until at least US President-elect Donald Trump took office on January 20 before deciding what action to take.

Russia retaliates against the USA for the Obama government’s expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats it said were spies. Moscow is also waiting for the return of two diplomatic compounds seized in the USA during the same espionage scandal, Yuri Ushakov, a Kremlin foreign policy aide, said. “We are waiting for the return of Russian diplomatic property illegally impounded before the New Year by the previous US authorities,” Ushakov told a news briefing. “We decided not to respond immediately to this escapade, but no-one has yet abolished the principle of reciprocity in diplomacy … Our patience is not without limits,” he said, saying Russian retaliation could not be ruled out.

Observation

Americans voted for Trump mainly because they wanted to punish Obama-Hillary Clinton for their mishandling of the world, especially their crimes in West Asia.

Speculations were ripe about a possible collaboration between USA and Russia in Syria under Trump presidency. But the US attack on Syria put to end such speculative exercises.

Trump apparently is confused and he is confusing the world as well. He si trying to do exactly his predecessors Bush and Obama have done. Possibly the notorious Neocons with their regime change agenda in Arab world continue to mislead the new US president as well. In a stunning development, Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, whose agency is investigating alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election and the possibility Trump associates may have colluded with Moscow.

Trump has not formed any clear cut idea about how he would handle Israel and free Palestinians from the Zionist fascist clutches and their children from Israel’s military bombs supplied by USA. One is not sure if what he said about solving the Kashmir issue would be a sincere intent or just rhetoric to get maximum money from a badly stressed India through Indian corporate lords as service charges.

Trump should show the world that America will not blur its red lines. Flying in the face of concerns about his “support for Putin”, the president showed, by striking Syria, that he is willing to stand up to Russia.

Dr. Abdul Ruff

Dr. Abdul Ruff

Dr. Abdul Ruff is a columnist contributing articles to many newspapers and journals on world politics. He is an expert on Mideast affairs, as well as a chronicler of foreign occupations and freedom movements (Palestine, Kashmir, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Xinjiang, Chechnya, etc.). Dr. Ruff is a specialist on state terrorism, the Chancellor-Founder of Center for International Affairs (CIA), commentator on world affairs and sport fixings, and a former university teacher. He is the author of various eBooks/books and editor for INTERNATIONAL OPINION and editor for FOREIGN POLICY ISSUES; Palestine Times.

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