The Trump Administration’s Foreign Policy

A Trumpian World of Uncertainty or A Decline of Pax-Americana?

by Wassim Daghrir (Author)
©2020 Monographs X, 70 Pages


This book offers a serious investigation of one of the most controversial contemporary American Studies issues: President Donald Trump’s foreign policy. Actually, an ambiguous, inconsistent uncertainty would best describe President Trump’s approach to foreign affairs. This book investigates Trump’s foreign policy agenda, style, principles, priorities, and patterns. The main challenge of this book is to check whether President Trump’s foreign policy initiatives are faithful to the traditional and modern-era foreign policy schools (such as ‘America First’), or whether they are merely inconsistent, impulsive, incoherent initiatives which lack the complexity of a serious foreign policy agenda or doctrine? This book puts the nature of Pax-Americana and US Exceptionalism face to face with the assumption of a post-American world. It also examines the ‘Trump Doctrine’ as what Trump himself described as a ‘brand new’ foreign policy. Thus, this book offers a further assessment of the assumption that Trump is establishing a new school of American foreign policy.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction
  • 1: Trump’s Controversial Foreign Policy
  • A Realist and Pragmatic World View
  • A Populist and Inconsistent Foreign Policy
  • The End of American Exceptionalism and the Decline of Pax-Americana
  • 2: Trump vs. Traditional Foreign Policy Schools
  • Major Foreign Policy Approaches
  • Major Foreign Policy Doctrines and Schools
  • A Portrayal of Trumps’ Personality
  • 3: Foreign Policy at Trumpland
  • The Worldview of the Trump Administration
  • Trump’s Approach to Foreign Affairs
  • Trump’s Foreign Policy Style
  • 4: Trumpism in Action: Case Studies
  • Donald Trump vs. International Treaties and Agreements
  • Donald Trump’s Attitude towards the Iran Nuclear Deal
  • Trump’s Policy vis-à-vis China
  • 5: Deciphering Trump’s Foreign Policy
  • Trump’s Incoherent and Ambiguous Foreign Policy
  • The Lack of a Clear Foreign Policy Pattern
  • The Impact of Trump’s Personality on His Administration’s Foreign Policy
  • The Future of American Diplomacy
  • Conclusion
  • About the Author

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This book originally started as a course in our Cultural Studies Masters Program at the College of Arts and Humanities of Sousse, Tunisia. I am deeply grateful to my MA 2 students who took a very active role in this research project. These exceptional students are the following: Asma Rabeh, Maha Ezzina, Hajer Ben Ameur, Abir Ben Ameur, Hela Amraoui, Fatma Souissi, Fatma Chedly, Wiem Daldoul, Wassel Borghol, Oussama Othmani, Ali Bhiri, Mootez Msallem, and Rahma Dridi.

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President Donald Trump’s foreign policy presents itself as a matter of continuous controversy and intense scrutiny. This book proposes a framework to investigate President Donald Trump’s foreign policy agenda, style, principles, priorities, and patterns. It will first try to explain the vital approaches and concepts that are decisive to American foreign policy making. It will then attempt to provide a detailed description of major foreign policy doctrines and major foreign policy schools. Ultimately, the extent to which these approaches are to be applied is very much linked to the president’s ideological and psychological characteristics. A study of Trump’s personal traits, priorities, and convictions becomes therefore a crucial element in establishing a better understanding of his foreign policy approaches.

During his electoral campaign in 2016, Donald Trump promised his supporters to “make America great again.” After calling the foreign policy of then-U.S. President Barack Obama “a complete and total disaster,” Trump promised to follow what he called an “America First” foreign policy (Zurcher 2016a). His promise, though it seems simple at first glance, holds a complex set of policies that he pledged to implement ←1 | 2→regardless of their significant impact on the international affairs arena. For instance, during his speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (A.I.P.A.C.), Trump promised to “dismantle” the Iran nuclear agreement, more formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (Zurcher 2016a). This promise came with complete disregard to the positions of the five world powers (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and Germany) that are also part of the agreement. Trump also promised to revise the United States’ ties to its trans-Atlantic allies by cutting United States financing towards N.A.T.O., to renegotiate trade deals with China, and to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Another significant promise was to ultimately give priority to issues at home at the expense of issues abroad. As Trump maintained, “we are going to take care of this country first before we worry about everybody else in the world” (Curran 2018).

Such promises were indeed put into practice after Trump won the 2016 U.S. presidential elections leading, thus, to a controversial United States foreign policy approach. Once put into practice, the United States’ withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal further destabilized the Middle East and escalated tensions between Iran and other countries from the same region including Israel and Saudi Arabia. Furthermore, the United States’ funding of N.A.T.O. was cut by $770 million leading to an increased Russian domination over the area (Townsend 2019). Renegotiating trade deals with China eventually resulted in a trade war that is currently dragging both countries down an economic dilemma. Moving the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem resulted in several protests in Palestine and ultimately further deteriorated Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.


X, 70
ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2020 (December)
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Oxford, Wien, 2020. X, 70 pp.

Biographical notes

Wassim Daghrir (Author)

Dr. Wassim Daghrir received his PhD in American history, politics and cultural studies from the University of Paris and a post-doctorate degree in American civilization from New York University. He is Associate Professor at the College of Arts and Humanities at the University of Sousse, Tunisia. He is the author of five books and several international articles. His areas of research interest include US foreign policy, US democracy, US history and historiography, US media, popular culture and various other American culture studies and political science issues.


Title: The Trump Administration’s Foreign Policy
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82 pages