BY MUSKAAN CHOUDHARY
The current foreign policy of the U.S. heavily reflects some of the right wing and Republican ideologies. Under Trump’s presidency, nothing less could be expected. Some of his actions and views throughout his term of presidency include – immigration bans, travel bans on several Muslim countries, investing excessive amounts of money towards war, opposing abortions, withdrawing from the Paris Agreement, declaring an emergency to gather funds for the border-wall along with many other radical decisions and policies only to favour America economically. His policies have not only caused numerous uprisings but also impacted America’s foreign relations tremendously. Evidently, the only way forward is to reduce the repercussions by inculcating more liberal and progressive policies in the future.
During his term, Obama put into place what is famously known as “The Cuban Thaw”. He eased some economic sanctions on Cuba, relieved Cuban- Americans from multiple travel restrictions and passed multiple laws to start trade between the two nations. Trump, on the other hand, reversed “The Cuban Thaw”.
The Guantanamo Bay detention camp is an American military detention camp located within the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base which was established after the Spanish – American War in 1898, under the Platt Amendment. Acts of indefinite detention without a trial and torture within the camp have caused a major breach of human rights. Obama had promised to cease the camp, but it all went in vain since most of the congressmen were against this. Trump signed an order to keep the detention camp open indefinitely. Keeping in mind that equality and human rights is an important theme of the left wing, a policy by them would help cease this detention camp and maybe even help Cuba economically, as well as with their multiple travel and trade restrictions.
Another conflict that has been going on since ages, is the Israeli – Palestinian conflict. This territorial conflict between Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs began in mid-20th century. In a nutshell, after World War II, the Jewish survivors had wanted to claim the area as their national homeland, but they faced resistance from the Arabs as they felt that the land belonged to them. Hence, the Jews ended up forcefully establishing Israel as a state. This ultimately led to several wars, the most prominent one being The War of 1967.
The U.S. has been providing Israel with an extensive amount of finances ever since WW-II. They are committed to provide Israel with approximately $500 million for missile defence alone. Their relationship has grown over the years but there has been a considerable amount of friction as well.
Obama’s administration, in line with most of the past administrations, advocated for the “two-state solution”, where Palestine and Israel would both be independent with Arab and Jewish populations, respectively. Unfortunately, there were disagreements on settlements, the release of Palestinian prisoners, and other issues. America was to play an honest mediator between the two, but it is said that Trump has completely slashed this agenda. He seems more pro-Israel. In 2017, he announced his decision to relocate the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, recognizing the city as Israel’s capital. This caused a lot of revolts from Palestinians, as the city of Jerusalem is considered holy by the Muslims, Christians, and the Jews. Recently, Trump announced his vision for Israeli – Palestinian peace which included Israel capturing over 30 percent of the West Bank, leaving a smaller area for Palestinians. In foresight, this means that Trump is in favour of the “one-state solution”. This would entail the entire state being in control of the Israel administration which could end up in two ways – either the leftist aspect where Israel would cease to remain a Jewish state since the Arabs would outnumber them or where Arabs become second class citizens which would threaten the democracy of Israel while also violating basic human rights since the situation would come threateningly close to apartheid.
Until now Trump has proved that his policies are not beneficial for both the states, but more so around forcing Palestinians into accepting the U.S. plans. He has even closed the PLO office in Washington and defunded UNRWA (the UN agency responsible for Palestinian refugee relief). If a policy by the left wing were to be finalized, it would not only satisfy both the states but also avoid violation of human rights while keeping intact the democracy of both.
These two conflicts were barely a sliver of all the other foreign relations and conflicts the American government is involved in. Realistically, a complete leftist approach would not be possible since the repercussions are not always on the positive end. This could be seen during Obama’s administration. He came in as an anti-war candidate but towards the end of his term, his presidency became identical with drone strikes and continuous use of military force in various Middle Eastern countries. Hence, an approach that falls somewhere between leftist and rightist is required to assess and enact the foreign policies.