With election fever gripping the US, the Republican front-runner Donald Trump, whose nomination as the Presidential candidate of his party is as good as ensured, laid out his foreign policy objectives with ‘America First’ as the centre of his campaign’s focus. While his official campaign’s slogan “Let’s Make America Great Again” continues to be the highlight, his foreign policy speech on April 27 may have finally given him the required momentum for his presidential bid.
“It’s time to shake the rust off America’s foreign policy,” Mr Trump said. “My foreign policy always puts the interest of the American people and American security above all else. Has to be first. Has to be. That will be the foundation of every single decision that I will make. ‘America first’ will be the major and overriding theme of my administration”, he added.
Mr Trump’s focus on ensuring America’s security signals a more muscular approach by the US on counter-terrorism. “I will return us to a timeless principle. Always put the interest of the American people and American security above all else”.
The Republican Party, which has been divided over Mr Trump as the official candidate, finally seems to be reconciling itself to the fact that his nomination seems to be a foregone conclusion, and has started rallying behind him.
The speech, however, drew flak from critics who said that his policies were more isolationist, cutting off the US from playing a major role in international affairs. He also received praise from some quarters, saying that his campaign is finally looking more organised and that he was sounding more Presidential.
Criticising the establishment approach of both the major parties, Mr Trump stepped up his criticism of NATO and emphasised that it was an “outdated mission” while claiming that the US allies were “not paying their fair share.” This has led to some unease among the allies. He said that NATO allies should confront shared challenges like migration and Islamic terrorism.
China and Russia
Focusing on adversaries China and Russia, Mr Trump said that he would make deals with Russia and China shortly after assuming power and seek to regain their “respect” by showing the US strength. Surprisingly, Mr Trump was silent on relations with India, which over the years have attracted a broad bipartisan consensus.
Raising the rhetoric against migrants, Mr Trump said that there were “scores of recent migrants inside our borders charged with terrorism”, claiming that “for every case known to the public there are dozens and dozens more”. His views on migrants have earned him much criticism during the campaign.
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