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WashPost: Trump Aims for 'Peace Through Strength,' Not 'Soft Power'

Image: WashPost: Trump Aims for 'Peace Through Strength,' Not 'Soft Power'

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By    |   Thursday, 29 Dec 2016 02:15 PM

President-elect Donald Trump's foreign policy plans include using tough talk and acts to gain "peace through strength," but that is a different tactic in policy that both Democrats and Republicans have used for decades, according to an analysis in The Washington Post.

Diplomats have depended on "soft power," which avoids conflict, according to the report. Critics of Trump's plan argue that America is supposed to lead with Democratic values and work on issues together with other countries, not engage in tough rhetoric.

"If your slogan is 'America first,' other people will think, 'What about me?'" Joseph Nye, Bill Clinton's former assistant secretary of defense, said.

"Soft power" can be more effective in diplomacy and in determining that other nations perceive that the U.S. promotes human rights and ideals. Trump has rarely mentioned such topics, instead appearing skeptical about international agreements that President Barack Obama's administration has put together with Iran and Cuba.

Suzanne Nossel, a former deputy assistant secretary of state for international organizations under Obama, said that Trump's plans involve "tough guys and being tough. There's a sense of fear around the world that the U.S. is going to abandon its leadership role in the world on behalf of the vulnerable."

One European diplomat told the Post that the Trump administration would come to see the need for teamwork with other nations. "I think the risk is the U.S. will sort of step back from this leadership, and it will cause certain disarray."

"The 'America first' rhetoric, combined with the anti-Muslim rhetoric, will constrain America's ability to persuade world powers to work with us," according to Vali Nasr, who was a senior adviser on Afghanistan and Pakistan in Obama's administration.

While Obama has sought to mend fences with Iran, Cuba, and the Muslim world, Trump has said that dealing with those places is Obama's "apology tour." Trump said that Obama refusing to use the term "radical Islam" plays into their hands, while the president has said that inflammatory language would turn more young people against the U.S., the Post reported.

Trump has drawn criticism for praising authoritarian leaders such as Russian President Vladimir Putin. Obama canceled a meeting with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who has spoken harshly about Obama, while Trump invited Duterte to the White House.

Former House Speaker and Trump supporter Newt Gingrich said that the president-elect's willingness to work with such leaders could lead to better results. Using the example of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, he said, "If you wanted to minimize the number of people killed in Syria, you would've supported Assad, because the truth is if Assad had won very quickly, fewer people would've died."

J.D. Gordon, a national security adviser for Trump, said Obama was "high on ideology, low on practicality… hostile regimes took full advantage of his olive branches for little to nothing in return."

A separate Post analysis by Miriam F. Elman on Thursday said that Trump moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem could be constructive and lead to negotiation between Israelis and Palestinians.

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President-elect Donald Trump's foreign policy plans include using tough talk and acts to gain "peace through strength," but that is a different tactic in policy that both Democrats and Republicans have used for decades, according to an analysis in The Washington Post.
trump, aims, peace, strength, not, soft power
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2016-15-29
Thursday, 29 Dec 2016 02:15 PM
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