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  • Published in Analysis
US President Donald Trump. Photo: flickr / Gage Skidmore

US President Donald Trump. Photo: flickr / Gage Skidmore

Donald Trump's foreign policy intentions are unclear, however, what is, is that we should step up anti-war efforts, argues Chris Nineham

Donald Trump's election is alarming for all who are concerned with peace and justice. Neither main candidate was a good foreign policy choice. Hilary Clinton is a neocon-supporting interventionist who pushed for Western imposed regime change in Libya and advocated escalation in Syria and a more confrontational approach to Russia.

Trump's foreign policy - in so far as can be ascertained - is more isolationist and he claims to be in favour of a more conciliatory attitude to Russia. One of the things he has done in the election is to tap into a widespread opposition to the recent cycle of wars that have created carnage in whole regions of the globe and drained the US Treasury. However, Trump's vow to 'destroy' ISIS and his fighting talk about Iran are proof that his isolationism is limited and calls into question his whole attitude towards the Middle East.

His pumped up patriotism and xenophobic attitudes, immediately frightening on the home front, can quickly lead in dangerous directions abroad. As history testifies, isolationist and protectionist policies, if indeed they are carried through, are likely to heighten international tensions already at unprecedented levels.

The US foreign policy establishment meanwhile appears generally convinced that more direct and decisive military intervention is necessary after the Obama years. As the Washington Post reported at the end of last month there is a 'broad-based backlash against a president who has repeatedly stressed the dangers of overreach and the need for restraint, especially in the Middle East.'

The article goes on to explain that reports from across the political spectrum have made recommendations including 'calls for safe zones to protect moderate rebels from ­Syrian and Russian forces'. Some of them have been calling for an increase in the use of special forces and ground troops.

Trump's Vice president, Mike Pence, is a more conventional rightist who would normally support this kind of imperial escalation. Trump's election spells a period of potential chaos for the US establishment. Complacent and remote from the population, they were clearly unprepared for this result and exactly how it will play out is impossible to say.

But against the backdrop of spreading war and growing global competition, we face the prospect of not just the most reactionary president in US history but also the most volatile and unpredictable. This is a moment for the UK anti-war movement to step up its level of organisation and demand an end to the collaboration with US foreign policy that has led to a series of catastrophic wars and poisoned British politics for so long.

We have to insist on a complete change of foreign policy direction. 

Chris Nineham

Chris Nineham

Chris Nineham is a founder member of Stop the War and Counterfire, speaking regularly around the country on behalf of both. He is author of The People Versus Tony Blair and Capitalism and Class Consciousness: the ideas of Georg Lukacs.

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