A protest against President Donald Trump's travel ban on refugees and citizens of seven Muslim-majority nations, Seattle, Wa., Jan. 29, 2017 (AP photo by Elaine Thompson).

President Donald Trump’s rushed move to block entry to the U.S. for refugees and travelers from selected Muslim-majority states is sure to exacerbate the perception of a “clash of civilizations” between the West and the Islamic world. It will likely lead to more radicalization, shrink America’s soft power, and weaken its brand as a rule-of-law country. The silver lining to this story is the showcase it has provided for the vitality of American civil society, which has mobilized to resist these harsh measures. Seeming to savor his role as disruptor in chief, Trump blithely undermined several essential features of U.S. […]

President Donald Trump signs an executive order for border security and immigration at the Department of Homeland Security, Washington, Jan. 25, 2017 (AP photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais).

It has been hard to keep up with the sheer torrent of dreadful political proposals that have emanated from the United States in the past 10 days. President Donald Trump’s decision to block refugees and travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. is undoubtedly the vilest of the lot. But the new administration has also managed to promulgate a bundle of ideas about international crisis management that will, if put into action, prove pretty disastrous. Last week, I predicted that Trump would adopt “haphazard” approaches to conflicts overseas. That may have underestimated both his sense of purpose and […]

U.S. President Donald Trump walks off Air Force One, Philadelphia, Jan. 26, 2017 (AP photo by Matt Slocum).

In last week’s column, I assessed the threat from America’s “big five” adversaries: Russia, Iran, China, North Korea and the self-styled Islamic State. Some or all of these five, I believe, will test the incoming Trump administration as it gets its feet wet and redesigns U.S. strategy to reflect the new president’s unorthodox ideas and style. I suggested that challenges from the big five will stay below the line of provocation that might drive the United States to respond forcefully. Instead they will rely on the ambiguous, camouflaged, multidimensional aggression and pinprick applications of force that security experts call “hybrid” […]

President Donald Trump delivers his inaugural address after being sworn in as the 45th president of the United States, Washington, Jan. 20, 2017 (AP photo by Patrick Semansky).

With his inauguration address last Friday, President Donald Trump announced to Americans and the world that the “America First” era had arrived. No longer will the U.S. put the interests of other nations ahead of its own. No longer will America’s global role as backstop of the international order take priority over its own domestic needs. The address represents a sea change in America’s foreign policy discourse. It is not just the words that are different, but the very grammar and syntax of its logic, which calls into question the international order that the U.S. built and backstopped over the […]

President Donald Trump speaking at the Central Intelligence Agency, Langley, Va., Jan. 21, 2017 (AP photo by Andrew Harnik).

Presidential transitions are always a time of apprehension and uncertainty for the career civil servants who keep the big machine of government running. President Donald Trump’s plans make this particular transition scarier than most. His performance at the CIA on Saturday, in particular, is an ominous sign. Bureaucracy is often used as an epithet, usually conveying cautious, inefficient cadres that Trump considers part of the swamp he plans to drain. But in reality, bureaucrats are the career civilian workforce—2.5 million strong across the U.S., in Washington agencies and abroad—who keep the U.S. government functioning. Not always efficiently or transparently, to […]

Chadian peacekeepers with the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) patrol the streets, Kidal, Mali, Dec. 17, 2016 (U.N. photo by Sylvain Liechti).

What will international peacemaking look like in the Trump era? Here are five tentative but credible predictions. One: The U.S. will play an increasingly haphazard, and often counterproductive, role in peace processes. Two: Organizations that have always relied on American largesse to function, like the United Nations and NATO, will also struggle to stay relevant. Three: A small host of aspiring alternative peacemakers, ranging from Russia to midsize African powers, will try to fill the resulting political vacuum. Four: The majority of these new peacemakers will dump post-Cold War niceties, such as giving human rights a prominent role in peace […]

President-elect Donald Trump at a pre-Inaugural celebration at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington, Jan. 19, 2017 (AP photo by David J. Phillip).

America’s adversaries are almost certain to challenge U.S. President Donald Trump early on, testing his inexperience in national security affairs and his propensity to personalize political interactions. How he and his team respond will show the mettle of the new administration and determine whether other adversaries mount challenges of their own. What is not clear, though, is which of America’s adversaries will move first. Russia, which appears to have launched a multidimensional assault to weaken Western democracies, seems the least likely to challenge the new administration. Indications are that Trump will get along well with Russian President Vladimir Putin. He […]

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump arrives at Andrews Air Force Base ahead of his inauguration, Maryland, Jan. 19, 2017 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

On Friday, Jan. 20, Donald Trump will be sworn in as the 45th president of the United States. As the president-elect prepares to take office, the world anxiously awaits an American leader who has expressed an intention to break with policy orthodoxy on issues from China to NATO and who has questioned many pillars of the post-World War II international order. World Politics Review has compiled eight articles that offer a sense of what the Trump era might bring for the United States and the world. The following eight articles are free to nonsubscribers until Feb. 2. The Trump Doctine? […]

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump during the presidential inaugural Chairman's Global Dinner, Washington D.C., Jan. 17, 2017 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

Under normal circumstances, most Americans don’t pay much attention to foreign policy unless the country is engaged in a major war or experiencing high-profile terrorist attacks. Though neither is occurring now, these are anything but normal times. With just hours until Donald Trump assumes the U.S. presidency after the most unusual presidential election in living memory, Americans are breaking with tradition and giving foreign policy a prominent place on the list of national concerns. Americans, it turns out, are watching with great interest to see how exactly the Trump administration manages bilateral ties with Russia and how Trump deals with […]

French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Berlin, Germany, Nov. 18, 2016 (AP photo by Markus Schreiber).

Just when it seemed like the European Union’s troubles couldn’t get any worse, Donald Trump seemed to rub salt in its wounds last week. In a joint interview with German newspaper Bild and The Times of London, he lauded Brexit, disparaged German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door refugee policy, and derided the EU as a “vehicle” for German economic domination. Trump clearly would shed no tears were the union to collapse on his watch. But could he instead end up being the EU’s savior? Trump’s most recent comments follow reported assurances given by the Trump transition team to British Foreign Secretary […]

President-elect Donald Trump and retired Marine Gen. James Mattis at Trump National Golf Club, Bedminster, N.J., Nov. 19, 2016 (AP photo by Carolyn Kaster).

The one-year anniversary of the Iran nuclear agreement’s implementation on Monday—combined with Senate confirmation hearings for President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees last week and the death of former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani on Jan. 8—has put Iran back in the spotlight. In their congressional testimony, Trump’s nominees for foreign policy and national security posts offered a range of views about the nuclear agreement and the larger problem of Iran for U.S. national interests. At the same time, Iranians are debating the implications for Iran’s foreign policy of Rafsanjiani’s final exit from the political stage. While the net effect of […]

A neighborhood in eastern Aleppo after it was retaken by forces backing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Dec. 14, 2016 (Kyodo photo via AP).

The harrowing image last month of a Turkish police officer standing over the Russian ambassador he just shot, while blaming Moscow for the devastation in Syria, captures a key foreign policy challenge for U.S. President-elect Donald Trump: How can he attempt to stabilize the Middle East by bringing conflicts to a close, rather than letting Russia and Iran lead the region into further cycles of repression and violence under the rubric of fighting terrorism? Trump’s current defense priority—“to crush and destroy” the so-called Islamic State—plays right into Russian and Iranian machinations, with their selective definitions of terrorism and scorched-earth tactics. […]