Opinion: President Trump picking up the foreign policy pieces

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President Donald Trump, second from right, speaks in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, April 9, 2018, at the start of a meeting with military leaders, with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, left, Vice President Mike Pence and national security adviser John Bolton. (Susan Walsh/AP)

President Donald Trump, second from right, speaks in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, April 9, 2018, at the start of a meeting with military leaders, with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, left, Vice President Mike Pence and national security adviser John Bolton. (Susan Walsh/AP)

President Trump was left an absolute mess when it comes to foreign policy. Although I am not one of the people who say former President Obama’s presidency was a total disaster, his foreign policy absolutely was. From the overthrow in Libya (largely Hillary Clinton’s brainchild but still happened under Obama’s administration), to the Benghazi disaster, to the “Red Line” in Syria, to the “reset” with Russia, to the continued appeasement of North Korea, there were many debacles. The worldwide issues the Trump Administration faces today aren’t the fault of only the Obama Administration; the disaster that was the George W. Bush administration, as well as the Clinton Administration’s subpar policy before that, contributed greatly to the problems.

When it comes to foreign policy, we should be thanking our lucky stars that Hillary Clinton was not elected President. Her policy aligned more with the so-called “war hungry neo-cons” than that of the old anti-war platform the Democratic Party once held. Granted President Obama wasn’t exactly a president of peace, (I think the drone strike program ends that debate quickly), but he certainly wasn’t a war monger. Hillary Clinton on the other hand claimed intervention in Libya was “Smart Power”. Her interventionist policy may have very well lead to more war for the United States. President Trump on the other hand ran his campaign on a non-intervention promise and he has kept that promise whenever possible. Let’s look into three key areas and how President Trump has handled it.

When it comes to North Korea, President Trump gets an A++. He was handed an absolute disaster on this one and has been able to make an unbelievable amount of progress in just over a year. After many years of appeasement, President Trump stepped up to the plate and made North Korea realize once again that the United States is far more dominant and continued threats towards us would end very badly for the hermit kingdom. Not surprisingly, Kim Jong Un doesn’t seem willing to call President Trump’s bluff and he recently announced he would be meeting with our president.

Another milestone came this week when U.S. officials announced North Korea is willing to talk about denuclearization. These are unbelievable breakthroughs in a very long, dangerous string of incompetence by former administrations.

As far as Russia, President Trump has been strong here as well. Unfortunately the Trump Administration has been hampered in this area due to the unbelievably overblown and fact deprived Mueller investigation (yes, the same investigation that just announced President Trump is not a criminal suspect) which has created a completely false idea that President Trump likes Putin or is weak towards Russia’s government. Regardless of the false narrative, Russia was just hit with another round of massive sanctions for 2016 election interference as well as continued aggressions around the world which a great thing. This is another positive step in the right direction for an administration that has to deal with the failed Obama-era reset that emboldened Putin greatly.

The next area is one that seems to have few answers, yet massive problems. The Syrian Civil war has been raging since 2012 and President Obama’s “red line” did nothing but make the United States look foolish and weak. President Trump was left little choice last year after Syria’s chemical weapons attack and the calculated missile strikes were a great response to the Assad regime. Unfortunately it seems history has repeated itself this week with another chemical weapon attack. I wish I had the answers when it came to this conflict. It is very complicated, with many sides with near countless motives. But the bloodshed and refugee crisis has no end in sight. President Trump has some very tough decisions to make in the days ahead, but I believe he will continue making the right ones.


Alexander Grzelak is a staff columnist for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at alexander.grzelak@uconn.edu.

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