Author: Timothy Naftali
Affiliation: New York University
Organization/Publisher: Foreign Affairs
Date/Place: March 13, 2020/ U.S.
Type of Literature: Analysis
Word Count: 3283
Keywords: Trump First, National security, Foreign Policy, Impeachment.
Looking at the three impeachments since 1973, the author asks whether the process could influence US foreign policy. Trump’s case is unique as it is the first time impeachment was triggered by foreign conduct. Additionally, the process itself broke the wall between domestic politics and foreign policy. Apparently, Trump never recognized that wall to begin with, and he went on adjusting foreign policy to preserve domestic popularity, damaging the foreign policy apparatus in the process. Such behavior diminished the morale of the national security and intelligence personnel, and harmed Trump’s credibility globally. When the impeachment started, Trump worked on disengaging from the Middle East, leading him to withdraw from Syria. Trump’s decision went against the national security establishment, damaging America’s stand and abandoning allies. Moreover, Trump turned the response to Iran’s test of his moment of weakness into an assassination of a high official that was nothing short of a blunder, motivated by an attempt to boost his domestic standing. China too took advantage by ending the trade war via a concession that Trump could claim as a victory. China promised to buy $200 billion worth of US products, $76 billion of which would be in the Election year 2020, which money would go to states crucial for re-election. As a result of the impeachment and the defense, a confusion was caused between Trump’s personal political interests and the needs of national interests; Trump’s loyalists showed carelessness towards national security principles and consequently allowed him and the nation to be manipulated by foreign leaders.
By: Omar Fili, CIGA Research Intern