Search This Blog

Friday, March 10, 2017

Have There Been Any Foreign Policy Successes For President Trump?

It's been 50 days since President Trump took office.  Most of what the President has done has been focused on the USA's domestic issues.  We've seen changes regarding illegal immigration, regulation of businesses, proposals to get rid of Obamacare, decisions to go ahead with the Keystone and the Dakota Access pipelines, among other things.  It's worth taking a moment to look at how President Trump has fared on the world stage.

The reality is that there have been some notable successes for Trump.  The biggest one is something that the mainstream media has treated as an afterthought.  It concerns North Korea.  Simply put, China has cut off coal imports from North Korea for at least the rest of 2017.  That may not sound like much, but it's actually an earthshaking development in North Korea.  Something like 40% of the entire North Korean economy depends on coal production, and China has been for years the biggest customer for that coal.  When China cuts off coal imports from the NKs, it means that the North Korean economy heads into a depression.  For years, we have been told by Washington "experts" that the only real way to control North Korea is to have China do it.  For all that time, the same "experts" at the State Department have gotten no cooperation from the Chinese.  China didn't even stir when the North Koreans exploded their first nuclear bomb.  The Chinese ignored entreaties from presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama.  Now, they have acted after being asked by President Trump to do so.

Why is there this Chinese change of heart?  To be fair, it's not just Trump.  The North Koreans have managed to insult China and to take steps like launching ballistic missiles that have made China realize that it had to act.  Still, Trump did come into office with China as a clear target on trade.  Trump started relations with China by speaking to the president of Taiwan.  The media and the Democrats portrayed this as a mistake, but it seems to have gotten the attention of Beijing.  North Korea is important to China, but it is a flea compared to the dog that is the Chinese economy.  Trade disputes between Beijing and Washington could threaten Chinese prosperity and the continued rule of the Communist Party.  No Chinese leader wants to put that at risk.

A second success for Trump has been in dealing with NATO.  Here too, there has been a lot of negative press, but the fact remains that after Trump complained about inadequate defense expenditures by NATO members, those amounts have been increasing.

It's too soon to tell how Trump will do handling relations with Russia, bringing peace to the Middle East, or defeating and destroying ISIS.  Even so, the successes should not be overlooked.

No comments: