It is worth analyzing this fundamental pillar of a political agenda, not just for the eventuality that Donald Trump become President of the U.S. but the tendency that is spreading over the world because of their contradictory statements on relation to future U.S. foreign policies strategy. This is clearly leading to a new debate under different basis: a real new era on international relations much more similar to old patterns of political behavior and with a shortsighted view of what means global management in a world threaten by multiple crisis.
Is it true that International relations are in constant change, hence the debate about them changes from time to time, however there is no doubt that current challenges cannot be compared with a past era with modest technology, low impact on climate change or a reliable financial system. All of these elements need to be seeing not just through the eyes of a modern structure but in the context of a global world in which communications and the interconnection of each national economy seems to be the main reason for “surviving”. In fact, countries like China have been smart and creative enough to accept this reality and set above their political ideologies for the sake of their economy. Therefore, they open markets -and by sure their minds- to new horizons, achieving good levels of prosperity and reducing poverty levels in a substantial and extraordinary fast manner with the highest levels of world GDP growth (U.S: 2% , China:7%)
As a difference from the past, current crisis are global, with a worldwide impact that need global responses, the success or failure of a local economy is translated in the failure or success of other economies. International relations cannot be measured through the old perspective of the realism theories: States aiming to increase their power, but from a constructivism perspective: a social reality constructed by mutual interaction of Nations based on identities.
The big tool that has to be used towards this goal is: diplomacy, one of the reasons that the world becomes more resilient is precisely because of diplomacy. This skillful exercise has contributed to deliver big benefits to the world and recent COP21 shows how important is to move towards a solid global leadership for facing current global crisis. However, Trump reject the idea of a “good diplomacy” surprisingly associating this factor to fuel hate over U.S. “I think there’s been too much diplomacy. We’re diplomatic in our country and everybody hates us all over the world. We’re politically correct and the world hates the United States”. By the contrary, all the attempts made by U.S towards paths of negotiation have renewed trust and confidence. What has really brought hate and considerably damaged American image has been military operations like in Iraq or Afghanistan in which there were a notorious lack of this recognized and respected mechanism for resolving conflicts.
Relations with Russia: “Very good relationships with the Russian people”. This statement from Donald Trump shows clearly their political intention, however, make an axis of power with Russia in the context of bilateral relationships would be totally ineffective, with O impact if there are not focused in a global context. International relations are not a matter of “leaders friendship”, the own stato quo that globalisation creates is pushing for boosting global leaders with strength and capacity to face challenges with resilience and not a shortsighted view of strategies with a limited impact.
This is not just about a business focus but a geopolitical one, in which a global world is running despite personal preferences about being “against or in favor of globalization”. We live under political facts not under personal wishes, and accepting a global context is a way to grow politically and personal as a global leader.
In times of crisis “closing doors” to the world seems to be a profitable option for political campaigns, but is not the tangible results that U.S. and their global economic-financial goals are expecting.
Currently we are among multiple crises including a migration global crisis. Regulation and solidarity from countries all over the world are needed, both at the same time. The smart conciliation of both interests is what could bring the balance. The rejection or not acceptation of this situation is only a symptom of a no analytical vision of the impact in other sides of international relations. It is not healthy for a world-balance to face global crisis with bilateral alliance under an anti-global focus but to move towards solution-driven partnerships.
There are no chances to grow and build good international relations by implementing the same patrons of international relations from the beginning of last century. International stability would only be achieved by tackled crisis in a global perspective and with an institutional fabric that support these efforts. Technologies, finances, commerce, culture are all elements that make a balanced global order not just by bilateral initiatives but through a joint action.
Relations with Europe: “Europe is not part of our business” as Trump has recently claimed, is not an updated perspective and has strong consequences in the world economy. European exports represent an estimated of 38.1% of total world exports. In a global interconnected world, economy is also global and to leave aside Europe means also leave aside U.S. from a business world. In addition, from 20 trade partners around the world -76% of American exports-, one of the largest partner is the European Union. So, Mr. Trump: Europe is part of your business, therefore American business.
About climate change and COP21: “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive”. With this statement Trump radically denies all the commitments done worldwide and wide scientific research. We know, accepting the fact of a global warming means important investment and a complete change of American business and customs of their population. The truth is that U.S. leads on energetic world consumption*.
* U.S. 20.7% of oil (almost double consumption of China), 10.5% of coal (2d world position), 83% of fossil fuel energy consumption.
Shortage of natural resources (gas, oil, etc.) are a paramount indicator of the importance to go out of the “comfort area” that a local focus represents and move towards a path of resilience by an international coordinated action with courage and leadership.
That international institutions are failing is a fact, however, doesn´t mean taking the opportunity to send an anti-global message, but to work towards solutions under the basis of a joint action.
About Mexican government: Trump summarizes U.S. political relationship as “not our friend” and regarding historical commercial agreements with Mexico: “is taking advantage of the US on bad trade deals.” In addition, and about Mexican migration, repeatedly propose build a wall in the borders in addition to military intervention. One of the big goals of any government in international relations is to build strong and healthy relationships (commercial, political and financial) with their neighbours in a geopolitical attempt to create a strengthen dimension of power. It is clear the wrong direction of this view, even if there are challenges to tackle as illegal immigration. There are smarter strategies to face those challenges, different from wall off.
Going back to “one country against the other” in an aggressive, unilateral position, just making bilateral agreements on trade or finances will not lead U.S. to restore their image or to “make it great again”. By the contrary, deny current axis of global power on international relations will lead to more stagnation in the economy and a decreased image of the Nation.
Relations with Middle East: “I think Islam hates us”, with this devastating statement Donald Trump build another wall: the Muslim world. The second largest religious group with 1.7 billion people that makes over 22% of the world population from which 3.3 million leave in the U.S., representing 1% of the total population. Those people are not just migrants are part of the social fabric of America´s culture and economy, contributing with their work to “make America great”, just to maintain the some standards of greatness that since 1880´s are delivering. So, if the idea is to go back in history to find high standards that also involves American Muslims. Deny this reality represents not just going against a community but a whole religion. This is clearly a political mistake at international level because of the quantity and quality of the contributions that this community is giving.
What is the future under “Trump´s stage”? Europe´s fragmentation? US-Russia in a big alliance against China and emerging countries (mainly BRICS? The Muslim world boycotted for any agreement or involvement in a cultural or economic exchange? America transformed in a nearly isolated Nation? A go back to a Ku Klux Klan project? Millions of foreign residents in U.S. out of the country?* nearly 1 out of every 6 adults living in the U.S. is foreign-born. United States hit a record-high of 41.3 million in July 2013.
Work towards a peace world, -hope this is also Trump´s wish and political goal- forces political leadership to be global, tolerant and with capacity to discriminate between the struggle against violent groups and the respect to an international community and their religion.
It is time for a global era of a worldwide approach with strong and creative leadership, not for personal wishes at a national focus. Having as a main goal restore a multicultural identity and recover the tendency to unite communities and religions; a hard process that come along American history. Those are the real roots of America´s political goals on international relations: openness, tolerance and conciliation.
Is in that sense that you´re correct Mr. Trump: let´s make America great again!
*Surrealist art: “Anxious anticipation 5”. Aaron Tiley