As President Trump drops tape (and tweet) bombs left, right, and center; often saying exactly what he is thinking, it appears the world's leaders (and establishmentarians) are "shocked" at his inconvenient truthiness. As Tim Bale, politics professor at Queen Mary University of London, said, reflecting on Brexit concerns,
"...our reliance on the United States, in normal times, wouldn’t worry too many people... But Donald Trump doesn’t seem to be a normal president."
Which seemed to sum things up nicely.
From Australia to Iran, and from Germany to Russia, no one is safe from President Donald Trump’s blunt, win-the-deal approach to diplomacy. As The Wall Street Journal reports, his style has U.S. adversaries and some allies struggling to assess its impact for their countries and puzzling over how to react if they land in the new American leader’s crosshairs next.
“The troubling thing for allies is this kind of hard-edged, transactional approach, where longstanding relationships and all that shared history and shared military sacrifices going back to World War I just doesn’t seem to count for anything,” said Andrew Shearer, who served as national-security adviser to two Australian prime ministers.
“Every deal is a struggle between a winner and a loser,” he said of Mr. Trump’s style. “That approach might work in business, but as someone who’s been around foreign policy for a long time, I just don’t see how it’s going to work internationally.”
“In the short run everyone is trying to get a handle on the new administration,” Mr. Haass said. “But in the medium and long run, whether governments like or loathe what they’re seeing, I believe what every government will do is essentially rethink its relationship with the United States.”
“Worrying declarations by the new American administration all make our future highly unpredictable,” European Council President Donald Tusk, who represents the governments of the EU’s 28 member states, wrote in a letter to EU leaders this week. He stressed the need to maintain a united Europe “whether we are talking to Russia, China, the U.S., or Turkey.”
“We had hoped for a more nuanced, sophisticated version of Trump after inauguration,” said a senior European diplomat. “Alas, that was not to be.”
Trump has often remarked he prefers to be unpredictable and it seems that is exactly his approach, and Richard Haass, the chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations, said Mr. Trump has introduced uncertainty into the role the U.S. plays in the world.
Furthermore, Mr. Haass said, the new president has shown an openness to upending the foreign policy status quo. “He doesn’t feel confined by what he inherited,” he said.