Foreign Policy Throughout History
President Trump had a unique way of dealing with other nations – but how did his predecessors handle it?
By: Andrew Moran | November 17, 2020 | 578 Words
While foreign policy wasn’t a big campaign issue in the 2020 U.S. presidential election, President Donald Trump achieved a lot of success here during his term in the Oval Office. He can claim brokering Middle East peace agreements, winding down the number of U.S. troops overseas, and entering diplomatic negotiations with the nation’s adversaries. President Trump’s approach was different from previous presidents – but what can we expect when he’s gone?
The Monroe Doctrine
President James Monroe declared that he would not let European powers further colonize the United States or interfere in the domestic affairs of independent states, referring to them as “puppet monarchs.” In exchange, President Monroe pledged during the seventh State of the Union address that the U.S. would not intervene in the internal workings of European countries.
The Truman Doctrine
The Second World War forever changed U.S. foreign policy, resulting in a more proactive approach to mitigating potential conflict overseas. In March 1947, President Harry Truman told Congress that the federal government would send money, distribute equipment, and supply military support to nations that were threatened by communism or were resisting communist forces. This was one of the first critical acts in the Cold War.
The Nixon Doctrine
Nixon tried to find a balance between being a responsible superpower and appeasing U.S. citizens who were didn’t like the idea of paying for the defense of every nation on the planet. The Nixon Doctrine, also known as the Guam Doctrine, was an objective that stated the U.S. would assist in the defense and developments of allies, but America would not be the perpetual policeman of the world.
The Carter Doctrine
During his final State of the Union address in January 1980, President Jimmy Carter announced that the United States would defend national interests in the Persian Gulf. The Carter Doctrine was in response to the Soviet Union push into the area. As a result, military force would be applied in the region to protect American economic and national interests, primarily supplying a dependent United States with crude oil.
The Reagan Doctrine
Many historians and prominent figures have cited the Reagan Doctrine as being a leading factor in the fall of the Soviet Union. The idea behind the philosophy was to offer covert operations to allies fighting communist powers, but actually sending American soldiers to fight.
The Bush Doctrine
George W. Bush made pre-emptive war the go-to policy of the U.S. government. After the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, the idea was to get rid of any threats before they could attack America.
The Trump Doctrine
Ultimately, the Trump Doctrine focused on diplomacy, peace, and economic development with some of America’s adversaries, while still applying pressure on their governments through sanctions. Trump was also the first president in many years to not start a war, showing the effectiveness of his foreign policy doctrine.
The Future of Foreign Policy
What will foreign policy look like under Joe Biden? It is hard to tell because his campaign didn’t offer many details on his plan. Since Biden, the Democrats, and the mainstream media lamented on President Trump embarking on diplomatic discussions with the likes of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, we can probably assume they would reverse some of his accomplishments on the international stage. Will Biden return to the old ways of interfering in other governments – or will he continue where Trump left off?