“US Foreign Policy and Trump Presidency: A Review and Outlook”
Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad
March 27, 2017
“President Trump essentially wishes to restore American supremacy and mistakenly believes he can bring back jobs to the United State and protect the economy from the onslaught of globalization.” This was stated by H.E. Mr. Inam-ul-Haq,former Foreign Minister during his address as Chief Guest, at a Seminar on “US Foreign Policy and Trump Presidency: A Review and Outlook” organized by the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) in collaboration with the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS) COMSATS, Islamabad today.
Other dignitaries of the seminar included; Mr Zahid Hussain, Journalist Dawn News; Dr. Talat Farooq, Senior Research Fellow and Editor ISSI; Ambassador Ashraf Jehangir Qazi; Dr. Imran Syed, Assistant Professor CPS COMSATS; Ms. Shamsa Nawaz, Research Fellow ISSI; Ambassador Saeed Khalid and Ambassador Fouzia Nasreen, Head CPS, COMSATS.
H.E. Mr. Inam-ul-Haq remarked that the world is converging towards a very dangerous future for mankind as a whole. The international community is faced with many problems, and while the elites are trying to maintain their status, the poor of the world are trying to claw out of the hunger and disease they have been consigned to for generations. He also highlighted the issues that were of particular importance with regard to Pakistan namely: terrorism, nuclear assets, India-Pakistan relations and the drastic slash of US aid.
Ambassador Khalid Mahmood, Chairman Board of Governors of ISSI, in his welcome remarks stated that the world was still reeling in the aftermath of the US elections – the rise of social and political divisions along racial lines were evidence of this and that Trump’s ambivalent policies were only reinforcing existing fears and apprehensions.
Mr. Zahid Hussain talked about South Asia: The Evolving Dimensions of US Foreign Policy and implications. He stated that it was clear that pressure on Pakistan to fight militants will further increase, as will an escalation in drone strikes. He went on to say that there would be no change in US policy towards India and Pakistan. If anything, each countries’ relations with China will affect the respective US policy towards them.
Dr. Talat Farooq spoke about US-Pakistan Relations: Will Trump Embrace or Erase Obama’s Foreign Policy? She said that US foreign policy is less about personalities and more about geopolitical and strategic interests and was of the opinion that even while playing the divisionary blame-game by holding Pakistan responsible for the failures of the US and Afghan governments, the Trump administration would continue to show restraint in isolating Pakistan.
Ambassador Ashraf Jehangir Qazi analyzed the Competing Dynamics: The New Dynamics of US-China relations. He highlighted that history teaches us that when a new great power emerges, a great disequilibrium emerges. He went on to state that China’s strategic support to Pakistan has its limits. So, in order to take advantage of any strategic alliance, it is imperative to address the challenges at home first.
Dr. Imran Syed expressed his views on US-North American Ties: Continuities and Discontinuities. He outlined the domestic sources of US foreign policy and stated that Trump’s ability to move forward on foreign policy will be curtailed because of the checks and balances engrained in the US system.
Ms. Shamsa Nawaz examined US-European Relations: Identifying the Central Pillars of Cooperation Under Trump. She stated that despite various meetings by members of the US administration with their European counterparts, there is still an absence of clear policies towards the European Union. She also said that if Europe is to maintain itself as a close partner of the US, it needs to urgently re-discover ways to increase economic dynamism and competitiveness.
Ambassador Saeed Khalid evaluated the future of US-Russia Relations. He stated that though Trump is yet to lay down his Russian policy, one should not overlook the fact that any lowering of US commitment to Europe or NATO would have two repercussions: firstly, America’s profile would suffer, and secondly, it would also cause severe loses to the defence industry.
Ambassador Fouzia Nasreen delivered the vote of thanks and stated that at present a lot of things are in a state of flux. There is a general xenophobic sentiment in the world at the moment and Trump’s election is evidence of the limit to the acceptance towards migrants. She also pointed to the importance of the situation in North Korea and stated that the US should seek to engage with China on this issue.