Times of Uncertainty

On April 13, 2017, Dr. Wolfgang Muno, DAAD/AICGS Research Fellow in March and April 2017, presented his research on President Trump’s foreign policy and the associated repercussions for transatlantic ties in a seminar at AICGS.

Dr. Muno investigated the basis of and prospects for foreign policy under Donald Trump, with special focus on the realms of security and economy. In security, NATO has played a large role in the discussions on transatlantic cooperation and the Trump administration’s expectations. With the president having voiced criticism of NATO during the campaign and early in his administration, calling it “obsolete” and accusing allies of uneven burden sharing. Many were worried about the future of the alliance. However, in Trump’s first 100 days in office his narrative on NATO shifted to touting the importance of NATO. Trump’s change in narrative on this issue can be linked back to many influential pro-NATO stances in the administration, from the National Security Advisor to the Secretary of Defense, as well as bipartisan support in Congress. Within both the executive and the legislative branch, there are influential actors that counteract some of the new administration’s views.

Dr. Muno then turned to Trump’s economic policies, namely trade and trade relations, and the correlated repercussions.  Throughout the campaign, Trump promoted the narrative of “unfair trade” and “bad trade deals,” including critique of Mexico and NAFTA. With the abandonment of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the publishing of the President’s Trade Policy Agenda, and the signing of the trade-related Executive Orders, the trade policy agenda is taking shape and turning away from traditional free trade positions. Dr. Muno noted that, compared to NATO and security, there is less opposition to the administration’s policies on trade from either the executive or legislative branch,  making it more susceptible to the president’s agenda.

Only 100 days in, it is too early to say what the final output of the Trump administration’s foreign policy will be.  The future U.S. foreign policy is unpredictable, thanks to changing actors, actor groups, and actor coalitions in the government.

 

Dr. Wolfgang Muno was a DAAD/AICGS Research Fellow in March and April 2017. He is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Mainz (habilitation 2015) and Acting Professor of International Relations and Comparative Political Systems at University of Landau. Previously, he was Acting Professor of International Relations at Zeppelin University, Friedrichshafen, and Acting Professor for Political Science at Willy Brandt School. He was Visiting Scholar at University of Ottawa, Canada; at Shanghai University of Political Science and Law SHUPL, Shanghai, China; at Universidad Torcuato Di Tella, Buenos Aires, Argentina; at Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies, University of Texas at Austin, USA; and guest lecturer in India, Poland, Norway, Sweden, the UK, and Spain. In addition to his native German, Dr. Muno speaks English, French, and Spanish.

April 13, 2017