President Trump has adopted a strong nationalist stance and intends to prioritize American national interest over all else as he emphasized during his inaugural address when he said, “From this moment on, it’s going to be America first.”
While it is only natural that Trump should seek first to benefit his own country and his own countrymen, statesmen will now have to decide by what means President Trump intends to bring about the results he desires. Extolling American greatness and winning the hearts of supporters is, after all, a strategy that has typically worked only until the end of an election campaign.
Whether he likes it or not, President Trump, as the leader of a superpower, will have to interact in some way with the rest of the world. In this regard, the clear policy statements that we have been able to glean from Donald Trump’s speeches are particularly regrettable. It is clear that he prioritizes the national interest—but nothing else?
The United States has achieved such ultimate heights of freedom, democracy, and the rule of law that those values have become universal. Will America now throw that all away? Once doubts such as these arise, then the order which permits peace and stability may collapse, casting the entire world into turmoil.
In order to win the respect and fear both at home and abroad which are due to the mighty United States, Trump must first articulate a vision befitting the leader of a superpower, and must also speak of his guiding philosophy.
President Trump has spoken of taking power out of the hands of a small group in Washington, DC and returning it to the American people. When Trump argues for the destruction of the political establishment, one can sense the intensity of his will. However, the management of a state does not come about simply by returning “power to the people.”
Trump was a businessman before entering politics. His selling point was that he was not caught up in the establishment framework. But Trump is now no longer a businessman and has embarked on a political career. It is no longer enough for him simply to point out why others have failed.
Some of the demonstrations protesting Trump’s inauguration turned violent. There were clashes between demonstrators and the police. This reaffirmed the impression that the American people are deeply divided. Some measure of responsibility for this lies with the things that Trump has said thus far.
In his inauguration address, Trump called for overcoming racial tension and coming together as one. It is just as he says: we hope that President Trump will rethink his xenophobic stance. If he is unable to heal the wounds that America has suffered internally, then there will be no returning the United States to a position of strength.
During his inaugural address, President Trump set forth his new administration’s basic policies, prioritizing peace through strength, the rebuilding of the American military, and the extermination of the Islamic State (IS).
The international order is now exposed to unprecedentedly grave threats. The proliferation of violent extremism, as evidenced principally by IS, is one of those threats. Russia invades its neighboring countries’ territory, and China builds military installations in the South China Sea. These nations care nothing for defying international law and using their power to force changes to the status quo. How will President Trump deal with these developments?
Of course, this is not to hold Trump responsible for these things as American might undergoes a relative decline. It becomes increasingly important for the United States to strengthen its cooperation with its allies, such as Japan. It is for these reasons that it is imperative that the new Trump administration make known, with all due haste, its policies for involvement with the international community.