Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump and Xi Jinping Mikhail Metzel\TASS via Getty Images

The Trump Factor and US Foreign Policy

The first year of Donald Trump's presidency brought many scandals, and even more incendiary tweets, but not a fundamental overhaul of US foreign policy. The big question for 2018 is whether the US will maintain foreign-policy continuity in the face of Trump's incentives to shake things up.

BERLIN – In the first year of Donald Trump’s presidency, the damage wrought by his administration’s foreign policy fell well short of what had been feared.

Despite his thundering rhetoric and tweets dubbing North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un “little rocket man,” the new US president did not start any wars, whether on the Korean Peninsula or in the South China Sea. There was no conflict over Taiwan, either, following Trump’s questioning of America’s longstanding “one China” policy.

In fact, rather than clashing with China, Trump seems to have forged a close personal relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping. China’s leaders could hardly believe their luck when one of Trump’s first official acts was to withdraw the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which would have excluded China and shored up Western trade rules in the Asia-Pacific region. It was as if Trump wanted to make China, not America, great again.

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