Show Less
Restricted access

Three Approaches to Presidential Foreign Policy-Making in the Twenty-First Century

The Executive, the Magistrate, and the Maverick

Luis da Vinha and Anthony Dutton

Political scientists have long determined that a president’s relationships with his advisors is crucial in determining an administration’s policies. Over the last several decades, scholars of the presidency have paid particular attention to the advisory structures and processes involved in foreign policy decision-making. Their work has contributed to the development and refinement of three presidential management models to help frame the analysis of foreign policy-making: (1) formalistic model, (2) collegial model, and (3) competitive model. This book analyzes the management models employed by presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump throughout their presidencies by employing a structured-focus comparison method that is framed on a set of general and standardized questions used to analyze a series of case studies involving their Middle East policies. The book offers the first systematic comparative analysis of presidents Bush, Obama, and Trump’s management of foreign policy crises.
Show Summary Details
Restricted access

Section 3 President Donald Trump


Section III President Donald Trump

President Donald Trump

Donald Trump came to the White House bent on overhauling traditional politics. Throughout his presidential campaign, Trump disparaged the political class in Washington claiming that “people are sick and tired of stupid and incompetent people leading our nation” (Trump cited in Jackson, 2015). He denounced policy-makers’ “foolishness and arrogance” in leading the U.S. “to one foreign policy disaster after the other” (Trump, 2016). According to Trump, his predecessors’ lack of vision and leadership weakened America’s global standing by overextending national resources, permitting allies to financially defraud the U.S., and allowing allies and adversaries to disrespect American power. In order to surmount these failures, Trump promised voters that he would restore an “America First” policy which would provide a “coherent foreign policy based upon American interests and the shared interests of our allies” (Idem). The transactional approach of international relations underlying “America First” was summarized by two of the president’s main advisors early in his presidency, who argued that for Trump “the world is not a ‘global communityʼ but an arena where nations, nongovernmental actors and businesses engage and compete for advantage” (McMaster and Cohn, 2017).

In contrast to his predecessors, Trump presented himself to the electorate as someone who “could get things done” (Johnson, 2018). Leaning on his widely advertised business acumen, Trump consistently juxtaposed his much-touted managerial skills with the supposed ineptitude of the entrenched career politicians. For example, when questioned about how he would...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.