30 September 2018
From dusting off the French leader’s dandruff to holding hands with his British counterpart, US President Donald Trump’s acts of hospitality and chivalry towards his allies during summits have painted a picture of unity and harmony.
But his statements, tweets and even actions on key issues have left observers as perplexed as those long-standing allies about relations with Washington.
Defiance and dissonance seem to be the prevailing sentiment as witnessed at a tumultuous G7 Summit in Canada back in June, when Mr Trump refused to budge on trade negotiations.
… “There have been studies that show that substantially when it comes to Asia, not much has really actually changed. In terms of the number of US forces in Asia, its foreign policy makers coming for visits, a lot of the messages have not changed,” said Dr Hoo Tiang Boon, an expert on US-China relations from the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS).
“Even though they are pushing the America First policy, they still maintain their alliance and relationship. But in terms of the way of communicating, that is certainly very different. And I think a lot of it is about domestic politics.”
But Dr Hoo also acknowledged, as many analysts have done, the confusion and consternation that arise as a consequence of Trump’s bellicose tweets and flip flopping policy statements.
… Professor Alan Chong from RSIS questioned the trust.
“They’re now asking the US to grease the process further by giving another concession – they want a treaty drawn up to formally end the Korean War. And is Trump prepared to go along with that?” he said.
“Why should anyone trust North Korea and its word? And there was of course Trump’s controversial summit with Putin in Helsinki. What does this say about him being someone who is rational and wise in foreign policy?”
CMS / IDSS / Online
Last updated on 01/10/2018