Despite Donald Trump’s speech to the World Economic Forum in which he attempted to reassure global leaders on his “America First” ideology, the damage to U.S. credibility may already be done, as Alon Ben-Meir explains.
By Alon Ben-Meir
Just one year after Donald Trump was inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States, the U.S. has already experienced alarming setbacks to its global leadership role and has badly damaged its image.
In short order, Trump has managed to bewilder friends and allies, intensify the enmity between the U.S. and its adversaries, and evoke fear, concerns, and unpredictability to the dismay of the international community. It is difficult to imagine how much further America’s reputation will decline as an increasing number of countries, including traditional U.S. allies, have resigned themselves to the lack of American leadership under Trump’s watch, which will have major adverse repercussions on our national interest and influence the world over.
Although Trump tried to qualify his “America First” approach to global affairs at a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos this week by saying that “America First” doesn’t mean “America Alone,” his general approach has been to abandon U.S. soft power and America’s longstanding leadership role. His tweets and reckless utterances have deeply troubled countries with strong ties to the United States, enraged those who have been maligned by his reprehensible rhetoric, and delighted U.S. adversaries, while leaving America increasingly isolated.
On the issue of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and anti-ballistic missiles, instead of engaging Pyongyang in quiet diplomacy to resolve the conflict, he resorted to bellicose rhetoric and threats that only heightened tensions and brought the U.S. and North Korea ever closer to the unthinkable prospect of nuclear war.
On the Iran nuclear deal, rather than trying to renegotiate any changes, especially regarding the prickly issue of sunset provisions, Trump unilaterally decertified the deal and threatened to resume old sanctions and impose…