Why Trump Attacks His Allies

Sunday, 29 July, 2018 - 14:45 Issue Number [14488]

In the 17th Century, international relations foundations were laid in what was called the Peace of Westphalia treaties, following sectarian wars and countries fighting in Europe. The treaties ended conflicts, some of which lasted 30 years and killed eight million people.

There were three principles in the treaties: Faith in the sovereignty of the state, non-interference in its affairs, and that all states are equal in the international perspective. Upon this, the concept of international relations in the modern world was built, and even though it did not always succeed in stopping conflicts, it remained a reference.

One of the most prominent advocates for the return of these principles to our region is the Arab League’s Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit, believing that, if respected, they can end continuing conflicts stemming from regional and foreign interferences.

From a previous article of mine about American President Donald Trump administration’s policies, we can get a relatively clearer view of these principles.

President Trump has criticized more than once what he considers the influence of international organizations, including the United Nations and its agencies. He opposes international agreements like the World Trade Organization Agreement, considering them as interfering and contradicting to his country’s policies. This is why he has withdrawn from UNESCO, and most of his country’s commitments to the Paris Climate Agreement, reduced commitment to the refugee agency and withdrawn from the UN Human Rights Council.

More importantly, he threatened to reassess his country’s commitments towards the very strategic NATO. Washington’s share in NATO’s budget is massive - $650 billion - which is more than double what all other 27 member-countries pay altogether! Trump is asking NATO for more power, and from the rest of the members more financial commitment, and military participation in fighting, including Germany and Japan.

With the same logic, he almost destroys NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Organization, which is almost obliterated, rejecting many of the commitments to it.

So we have to understand the current administration through its public behavior when we talk about its statements as well as its policy in the Gulf and the Middle East in general. He treats the Gulf states as his closest neighbors [Canada and Mexico] and like his most important allies [Germany]. He does not accept Turkey and Qatar to buy the Russian S-400 missile system because he sees it giving Moscow political influence and funding its military-technical capabilities.

Trump’s administration is also different from the former one and the Democratic Party in general, especially when it comes to mixing politics with human rights.

As I mentioned in my previous article on Trump, there are five pillars of his government’s policy, including strengthening his country’s economic power and confronting its competitors. He considers that Europeans live on the benefits of post-World War II and he challenges them to embrace full free trade. He accuses the Chinese of exploiting his country’s flexible investment systems to transfer knowledge, steal advanced technology to their country and threaten America’s standing.

Of course, there are many people who do not agree with Trump, but his actions and his direct language express the positions of the party, specifically the Right.

Those who disagree with him believe that the United States, as a superpower, has a greater political and moral responsibility for managing the world, and that the 400-year-old Westphalia principles are no longer valid with dramatic changes due to the progress in technology and the geopolitical changes.

The migration explosion due to civil wars, hunger, and economic mismanagement may justify military intervention through NATO, or economically through the World Bank.

Trump, as president, does not necessarily reflect his personal vision of the world around him, as much as the views of the party that brought him to the White House. Before that, he was known as an international investor, dealing with immigrants and with foreign investors, New Yorkers and merchants.

America ’s foreign policy under Trump does not see the same value for the organizations and alliances built after World War II. As for Iran, it deals with it as a threat to its own interests. Washington wants Tehran to know its limits in dealing with a superpower, but expects its European allies and Arabs to take responsibility for it.