Donald Trump was elected president of the USA in 2016 promising to put ‘America First’. What he meant by this challenged many of the basic assumptions of US foreign policy, including its commitment to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which America had led since soon after the Second World War, cool relations with Russia, and a willingness to use military intervention. During his campaign, Trump’s speeches shocked many commentators. Trump was conciliatory towards Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin (and alleged links between the Trump campaign and Russia caused severe problems for Trump during his presidency). The previous administration has imposed sanctions on Russia in punishment for its military intervention in Ukraine. Trump accused China of stealing American jobs and questioned the legitimacy of the Beijing government. He praised Britain’s decision to leave the EU, and was seen with Nigel Farage, one of the leading figures in the campaign to get Britain out of the European Union. In contrast, Trump’s predecessor President Obama had argued for the importance of Britain’s continuing involvement in the EU for global peace. Trump argued that the USA should never have been involved in the Iraq War and criticised the Obama administration’s peace agreement with Iran. Trump’s election has challenged many of the assumptions in international relations and created new questions for the UK in how it responds to Trump’s new world order.
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