I don’t typically write on politics, even though my bachelor’s degree was in political science. But this year’s presidential election in the United States potentially marks a watershed moment in the modern history of international relations. It appears increasingly likely that Donald Trump will win not only the Republican presidential nomination, but also the general election for president. If Donald Trump is elected president, I believe we will see a radical change in American foreign policy. While only time will tell exactly what would happen in a Trump presidency, here is how I read Trump’s agenda.
Donald Trump is an American nationalist. His nationalism resonates well with voters, although I do not believe it is entirely reflective of biblical Christian principles. Trump wants to grow America the way he grew his business, which means giving competitors bad deals. When he talks about “winning,” that means other countries will be losing. When he talks about bringing jobs and money back from overseas, that means underdeveloped countries will be losing those jobs and money. That might be good for the United States economy, at least in the near term. But Trump does not seem to be bothered by the idea that his policies may hurt the livelihood of people in other countries or that they may be ethically problematic. He seems only to view the economies of other countries as tools that can be used to grow the United States’ economy.
Ever since the United States became the most powerful country in the world, it has generally tried to be a good neighbor to the rest of the world. A classic example was the Marshall Plan to rebuild Western Europe with U.S. dollars after World War II, in contrast to the Treaty of Versailles which France and Britain used to punish Germany after World War I. I think that would change under a President Trump. Trump would seek to take advantage of the rest of the world for the United States’ economic profit. This is similar to the mentality of the Chinese government, which Trump has said on many occasions is “smart.” While his intentions alone are troubling from a moral point of view, the scary part is that Trump’s plan would probably work. The United States has incredible military and economic power, and if this power were ever abused there would be little the rest of the world could do about it. Trump would get his way. He could take oil from Iraq and Libya, he could take jobs and factories from Mexico, and he could force major corporations to relocate their headquarters and assets to the United States. He would also seek to manipulate global monetary policy in ways which remain to be seen. Gone will be the days when America helps other countries free of charge; under Trump, they will receive a bill for all expenses incurred. Further, since American society does not have the biblical Christian values that it once did, it is likely that the majority of the American public would approve of Trump’s efforts to enrich them at the expense of others. Trump’s agenda probably could not be stopped by either external or internal opposition.
The result of Trump’s actions would likely be to force the rest of the world to coalesce into regional blocs so as to be able to defend their interests on the world stage. The United Nations would become far less important, while Russia, China, and the European Union would organize and strengthen regional alliances in order to compete with the United States and each other. A new arms race would also ensue, as other countries recognize the need to build up military power in order to better resist the United States’ bullying. Sometime down the road, this bullying would lead to the destruction of the United States by those who hate it—but in the meanwhile Americans would enjoy great material prosperity.
A disclaimer: I am not writing this post as part of the anti-Trump campaign, although I plan to vote for Marco Rubio in the Michigan primary on Tuesday. Trump certainly has some un-Christian and un-presidential character qualities, and I have significant disagreements with some of his proposed policies. However, the Democratic candidates are directly hostile to biblical Christianity and pose an immediate threat to the ability of Christians to practice their faith, so I plan in the general election to vote for (not necessarily endorse) whomever the Republicans nominate. Thus, this article is essentially an observation on what may be coming in a Trump presidency, a call to awareness.