Channel NewsAsia carried a commentary piece by Director of the Yale-NUS Centre for Teaching & Learning and Senior Lecturer of Social Sciences Nancy Gleason on US President Donald Trump’s presidency in the past year. She opined that Trump’s first year as President of the United States had bewildered international foreign policy experts and diplomacy actors as the norms of cooperation among countries to collectively manage global challenges and the institution of diplomacy were eroded. While the Trump administration had delivered on some domestic campaign promises, his brinkmanship made it more difficult to manage important foreign relations because his reliability and integrity fell outside acceptable norms for traditional diplomacy. So far, he had threatened nuclear war via Twitter, withdrawn the US from the Paris Climate Agreement, threatened to cancel the Iran nuclear deal, and rattled the trust of many close US allies with various personal and political attacks.
Dr Gleason noted that Trump’s unilateral actions were damaging to the US’s long-held reputation as a steady and reliable partner, even if countries understood that they had little choice but to work with the Trump Administration. She added that there were negative ramifications for the US and possibly the world in the medium term. For example, the US was bypassed for the recent One Planet Summit which was attended by 50 major world leaders due to its withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement. This meant that the US lost influence in the global transition away from fossil fuels. Dr Gleason concluded that global diplomats were adjusting to Trump as his administration settles into its second year. She noted that President Trump will likely focus on domestic issues during this second year, with mid-term elections in November 2018, and expressed hope that the US State Department would be able to increase its role in US diplomacy going forward.
PA facilitated the commentary request from CNA.