Opinion: Trump seeks to lock in a set of irreversible foreign-policy decisions
The key question is whether foreign leaders — or even members of his own administration — are prepared to go along with his ideas, which in many cases appear to be only on the fringe of realistic, or even safe for America.
Even if a major foreign policy pronouncement never happens, Trump has already done his best to cement policies that could prove expensive, even dangerous, to unwind.
Beyond the Middle East, there are no shortages of other foreign policy and military initiatives that Trump has hustled through, the unwinding of which would pose substantial challenges for a Biden presidency.
Then there are other areas like intelligence cooperation, where the 74-year-old Five Eyes cooperation between the US, Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand has been threatened over friction about use of Huawei equipment in modernization.
Repositioning the United States by undoing a host of other Trump-era global initiatives — including, as Biden has pledged to do, returning to the Paris climate accord and the World Health Organization — would be added burdens on a new administration. But for many diplomats, especially in Europe, that moment can’t come too soon.
Harvard professor and former Kennedy School dean Joseph S. Nye Jr. told me in a conversation Thursday, before the start of a conference sponsored by Friends of Europe, that “a European diplomat told me, ‘We can hold our breath for four years, but eight years?'”
This is the challenge facing the American electorate, as a host of global leaders and thinkers hope that American voters will make a choice that would enable the next administration to undo initiatives that are destabilizing to the world order and are becoming increasingly entrenched.
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