None of the presidents in the American history have scuttled agreements as President Donald Trump did in past two years. Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Paris Climate Agreement, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA), Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty (INF) and Iran Nuclear Deal are glaring examples of his flip flop policies.
President Trump has mercurial tendencies with unexpected and unpredicted decisions. He is following the doctrine of disengagement from various overseas military commitments, mainly Syria and Afghanistan. He wants his other NATO member countries to contribute more in the organisation. Southeast Asian allies have also been asked to pay more for their security. Consequently, his actions have created anxiety amongst American allies. Why does President Trump maintain such fickle attitude on the strategic front?
Primarily, it is because of American domestic politics and President Trump’s own campaign promises that compelled him to adopt this unpopular and premature military doctrine. In American history, re-election has been remained top priority of Presidents in the first term and in second term they try to find possible place in history. It means Trump has started preparation for his 2020 Presidential elections campaign.
There is a general consensus that chaotic regions particularly the Middle East and South Asia protect American strategic and economic interests. The sense of insecurity provides a conducive business environment for the military industrial complex of the US. For instance, US signed deal worth US$20 billion to supply F-15 jets to Qatar amid latter’s insecurity owing to blockade by the Saudi Arabia and its allies. These defence contractors are backbone for election campaigns in American politics. The American Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Rule 501 (C) (4) allows groups and individuals to lobby for Congress and Presidential candidates through generous donations for political campaigns. Due to these generous donations, policymakers in general and Presidents of the US in particular try to secure interests of these individuals and groups, which largely affect the foreign policy of the US.
Therefore, the role of defence contractors is vital in President Trump’s abrupt withdrawal from Syria, exit from Iran Nuclear deal and unilateral drawdown from Afghanistan. Peace in Middle East and Iran nuclear deal is detrimental to their economic interests. For instance, Lockheed Martin that manufactures F-22 fighter jets had lobbied against Iran Nuclear deal and financially supported President Trump’s election campaign. It had hired Heritage Foundation, which wrote a series of articles and policy papers to manage perceptions of American public and policymakers. Resultantly, he has expanded sanctions on Iran and enhanced arms sales to American allies in the region.
President Trump’s domestic compulsions and military doctrine have drastic ramifications for its allies in South Asia, Middle East and beyond. The US Senator Lindsey Graham contemplates that Trump’s doctrine will add resentment and feeling of abandonment among allies. President Trump military doctrine has been openly criticised by Syrian Kurds and Afghan government. In case of Syria, the unilateral withdrawal of the US from Kurdish region has provided an opportunity for Turkey and Assad regime to regain control of the Kurdish region. Turkey has many times threatened invasion of northeastern Syria. This is why the Syrian Kurds have considered withdrawal as betrayal.
In case of Afghanistan, it is widely believed that the announcement of drawdown during next 18 months will not only boost morale of Afghan Taliban but also may damage the legitimacy of Afghan government. Moreover, the insecurity would further damage the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and already fragile economy of the country. This is why the Afghan government has labelled it a premature decision.
To conclude, PresidentTrump has been trying to prove in front of American public that he is a man of his words. He wants to be seen different from other American politicians who often speak a lot but remain reluctant to take decisions. In 2016 he contested elections on his promises and he seems committed to contest election 2020 on his actions. Therefore, this year will more likely witness a series of such hasty and unpredicted actions from the American President.
This article provided by NewsEdge.