Skip to main content

Foreign Affairs Outlook For Trump Presidency, 115th Congress

When President-elect Donald Trump and the 115th Congress are sworn in January, they will confront a world in deep turmoil, from a war-ravaged Middle East to a Europe beset by terrorism, a migrant crisis, and populist, nationalistic and far-right movements promoting anti-European Union sentiment.

President-elect Trump and lawmakers will also face a resurgent Russia under the leadership of Vladimir Putin that is threatening the post-Cold War Euro-Atlantic security order by creating instability in Ukraine and the South Caucasus, which eventually could lead to a confrontation with NATO over security of the Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia that have significant Russian-speaking minorities. Putin is also challenging the United States and its allies in the Middle East by using military force in Syria to prop up the regime of Bashar Hafez al-Assad, deepening a bloody civil war that has killed an estimated 470,000 people and forced millions to flee to neighboring Turkey and Europe.

Finally, if Congress fails to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal before adjourning for the year, which is a near certainty given President-elect Trump’s strong opposition to TPP, this will leave the future of TPP uncertain, adding to a complex set of security challenges facing the United States in the Asia-Pacific region, including North Korea’s nuclear program and China's territorial claims in the South China Sea. By proclaiming TPP a critical part of the U.S. “rebalance” to Asia, the Obama administration raised the stakes for approving the 12-country trade agreement. Many fear that as a result, congressional failure to approve TPP in the lame duck session not only threatens U.S. business interests, it is likely to sow doubts about American resolve, which could embolden North Korea and China and undermine U.S. alliances with countries in the region.

Continue Reading (subscription required).