The US President promised to put his own country first as a priority when running for office in 2016. He claimed that Washington’s overreaching involvement in many countries put the US at a disadvantage, and has subsequently severed aid to a host of nations and entered a trade war with China worth hundreds of billions. This has led to former allies, such as Mexico and Turkey, publicly disavowing or rebuffing the Trump administration.
This has stoked fears within the White House that Trump’s ‘America first’ policy has not served US interests, but instead isolated the nation at a time when Russia and China are on the rise.
Former US National Security official Michael Anton suggests that the ‘Trump Doctrine’ – a term used to describe the President’s foreign policy – is based on nationalist sentiment.
He wrote: “It can be stated like this: Let’s all put our own countries first, and be candid about it, and recognise that it’s nothing to be ashamed of.
“Putting our interests first will make us all safer and more prosperous.
“Since taking office, the president has recouped US foreign policy to domestic politics, a bond that had become increasingly frayed in recent decades.”
Is Trump isolating the US?
The rhetoric from the Trump administration is that where previous Presidents were happy to intervene in countries for America’s benefit, the US, under Trump, would keep to itself.
Although this was belied by US involvement in Iran, and previously Afghanistan, Trump has taken a different approach to his predecessors when it comes to the global economy.
After withdrawing the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership almost as soon as he took office, Trump drew the ire of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau when he imposed tariffs on Canadian aluminium and steel.
Trump has also upset his southern neighbours due to a barrage of demands that Mexico pays for a border wall.
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Since then, the two nations – who shared close ties with the US before Trump – appear ambivalent towards Washington.
This may also be the case with Australia – Prime Minister Scott Morrison rejected Washington’s offer to place missiles in the country to counter China’s alleged aggression in the South China Sea.
Former Australian defence strategist Hugh White has accused Trump of allowing China to act unopposed in the region and suggested that the traditional alliance with Washington may break down.
The US has traditionally seen the majority of their long-term adversaries lie in Latin America as a legacy of the Cold War when the Soviet Union actively courted nations in the continent.
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Russia and China have linked up with Venezuela
Putin’s global activity – in which he has developed links with the likes of Iran and China – has helped expand Russia’s sphere of influence and reignite anti-Washington sentiment.
This is especially true with Venezuela and Cuba, which have been singled out for punishment by the White House in recent years.
Foreign policy analyst Nahal Toosi claimed that the US is now in a “proxy battle with Russia over Venezuela”.
She added: “Poking America’s eye in the Latin American state is a relatively cheap proposition for Putin, who is intent on reviving Russia’s standing as a global power.”
Turkey is the latest issue for the US as they move towards Russia
Trump risks losing allies in crucial areas
Washington has also severed ties with Cuba just four years after former President Barack Obama appeared to have thawed relations with the reopening of the US embassy in Havana.
Argentina, who shared close relations with the US under the current Macri administration, could see a stark shift in allegiances should Alberto Fernández win this October’s election.
Russia has also taken full advantage in Turkey, where a dispute has arisen between Washington and Ankara over the purchasing of Moscow’s S-400 missiles.
This could lose the US a valuable foothold in the region, with Foreign Policy Research Institute fellow Aaron Stein saying: “The Turkish-Russian agreement appears linked to the growing personal ties between Presidents Erdogan and Putin, two authoritarian leaders who chaff at the American presence in the Middle East.
“The threat of sanctions did not deter Turkey’s S-400 purchase, and its implementation may drive Turkey to deepen defence cooperation with Putin.”
Colombia and Brazil, having elected right-wing governments, have pledged to build strong ties with the Trump administration but Bolivia and several other Latin American states have cooled their US advances.
China are flexing their might in the South China Sea
While Russia appears to have a foothold in South America, Beijing are giving Trump another problem in the South China Sea.
Analysis by Express.co.uk reveals Washington’s concern over China’s reported targeting of various nations in the area – whether it be through diplomacy or intimidation.
A map outlining various allegiances in the South China Sea shows that China currently has the backing of North Korea and Russia.
However, it is targeting another five – Vietnam, Philippines, Brunei, Hong Kong and Malaysia.
Meanwhile, three nations – Taiwan, Australia and South Korea – back the US.
China’s behaviour in the South China Sea is believed to have two purposes – the first is to carry out the vision of becoming a global superpower on both a political and economic level.
The second is to alleviate economic pressure from the trade war and possibly force Washington into softening their tone on Beijing.