I feel as if it is my civic duty to speak out against Donald Trump. Many in recent days have done the same, as the Trump political machine marches forward on a street paved with fear and racism. He is poised to be the Republican nominee. In these recent bipartisan refutations and denunciations, very much the opposite of what Mr. Trump did with the former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, particular attention has been paid to Mr. Trump's temperament, especially his proclivity to lie.
As an American studying International Relations abroad, I feel as if there has been a lack of attention paid to the potential foreign policy fiascos that could occur as a direct result of Mr. Trump's fumbling and feigned knowledge in the foreign policy realm. This opinion piece would like to briefly address some of these potential shortcomings focusing on Europe, Iran, and China.
Even though Mr. Trump has some European heritage (#makedonalddrumpfagain), it is unlikely that he will, despite his inevitable protestations, be a big hit in Europe. Increasingly fragile transatlantic relations have strained the Europe-American security apparatus in recent years.
In this year's Munich Security Conference, the preeminent security conference on the European continent, America was notably absent from the discourse. Mr. Trump's isolationist tendencies will diminish American leadership in Europe and in NATO. His racism and prejudice, especially against Muslims, threatens to further derail transatlantic cooperation, particularly as Europe deals with its own rising right.
As the situation in Syria and with ISIS continues, strong cooperation and partnership between America and Europe represents a necessity. Europe and the United States need to remain united in dealing with Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime in Syria in order to broker a proper ceasefire based upon principles of justice, liberty and democracy. A united transatlantic coalition fighting ISIS, now in Libya as well, remains unlikely in the case of a Trump presidency.
In Iran, Mr. Trump threatens not only the progress made by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, but also threatens the progress that Iranian moderates made in the most recent elections. A more moderate Iran could be a force for stability in the region; however, a posturing U.S. will likely play into the more conservative Iranian elements and reverse the current shift towards the reformist and moderate faction, which secured control of all 30 precincts in Tehran in elections held just a few days ago. Iran still has big problems, but the most recent developments seem like real, yet fragile progress. Mr. Trump, much like a bull in a china shop, could bluster and threaten our way out of progress in the quicksand MENA region, not into it.
Speaking of China, Mr. Trump's tough talk and inconsistent "facts" threaten the integration of China into the current Western built world order of the IMF, World Bank, and WTO. The U.S. should support further integration of China into these organizations, lauding recent actions by the IMF to add the Renminbi into the list of reserve currencies. The risk is that, should integration fail, China will set up rival institutions, as seen with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, China's version of the World Bank formally opened this past January. Again, Mr. Trump and his bombastic rhetoric will likely push China to developing rival organizations that threaten U.S. interests. Such developments would further strain Sino-American relations, and jeopardize the U.S.'s strategic position in Asia.
Europe, Iran, and China comprise three strategic areas that a Trump presidency will undermine, significantly weakening the U.S. position in Europe, the MENA region, and Asia. As a Trump nomination for the Republican looms over the horizon these unintended consequences in the foreign policy arena deserve more attention as he seems overwhelmingly likely to alienate our allies and misconstrue our strategic interests in the Middle East and Asia. Going back to temperament, Mr. Trump just doesn't seem very diplomatic, which as the word suggests, is a key for effective diplomacy.