While Donald Trump’s Presidency will undoubtedly have many far reaching geopolitical consequences, the actual nature of his foreign policy remains undefined. There is therefore a window of opportunity for the UK to influence US objectives over the coming years, after a period of considerable weakness under Barack Obama.
Transatlantic international think-tank, The Henry Jackson Society, believes that the election of Donald Trump as US President needs to be seen as an opportunity rather than a crisis for international relations. Donald Trump is now President-elect. His statements on foreign policy leave the likely direction of US engagement opaque. Although he has courted controversy during the campaign, it would be naïve to assume automatically that his actual foreign policy will follow the same trajectory. As someone with little experience of world affairs, he will undoubtedly choose experienced advisors who will understand global dynamics.
This gives the UK an opportunity to engage with President Trump early, and seek to shape his worldview and objectives to stand up for our shared interests. As a politician who has expressed his support for the Special Relationship and his desire for a trade deal with the UK, the UK is well placed to take advantage of this change.
Dr Alan Mendoza, Executive Director at The Henry Jackson Society, said: “A Donald Trump Presidency should be viewed as an opportunity, rather than crisis, for international relations, and for a UK which is itself looking for a new role internationally given our Brexit trajectory.
“The Obama administration’s foreign policy has been characterised by neglect of old allies, drift rather than leadership, and inaction in the face of action by hostile actors. The US has voted against that weakness.
“For all Trump’s foreign policy rhetoric, he has little experience in the area and knows that he now has to succeed in his Presidency. For a UK that has seen the Special Relationship diminished under Obama, there is therefore an opportunity to positively influence his worldview based on the real challenges now actually before him, which he will need allies to resolve.
“We can choose to sit on the sidelines or engage to reshape the world together.”