The emerging foreign policy of the Trump administration showcases far greater continuity than change despite what President Trump rhetoric and tweets might suggests. The Trump administration is continuing and in many ways strengthening traditional American foreign policy goals and aligning their interests more closely with the international community. For example, the President reaffirmed America’s commitment to defending NATO allies, has prioritized defeating ISIS, strengthened America’s presence in Afghanistan, encouraged more sensible policies toward Pakistan, has been more forceful with China than his predecessor, and importantly has embraced India as a key strategic partner in the Indo-Pacific and world. Despite some changes, such as America’s withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Paris Agreement, the “Muslim ban,” and President Trump’s ambivalence toward international norms and institutions, we should be confident that the rules-based liberal international order is not in retreat and that the US government will continue to lead.
During the discussion, questions were raised regarding the possibility of developing a Qualitative Military Edge between US-India, evolving US interests in Afghanistan, a seemingly de-globalizing America, and the threats posed by an increasingly powerful and authoritarian China. It was discussed that India’s relationship with Russia poses a challenge to a greater defense relationship with the US and that the spread of authoritarianism is a major dilemma and threat to liberal democracies everywhere, highlighting the importance of countries like India and Japan. The rules-based liberal international order is under greater stress now than during the Cold War due to the rise of China and the challenge posed by extremist ideologies. These challenges require countries like the US and India to find ways to strengthen their liberal institutions and values, setting examples for other countries to follow.
Brookings India hosted a roundtable with General David H. Petraeus, Chairman of the KKR Global Institute, and former commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, chaired by Ambassador Shivshankar Menon, Distinguished Fellow at Brookings and India’s former National Security Advisor and Foreign Secretary. The discussion revolved around the U.S. policy on South Asia and China.
The discussion was by invitation and off-the-record.
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