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Center for Security Studies

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Going Legit? The Foreign Policy of Vladimir Putin

Image courtesy of Kremlin.ru. (CC BY 4.0)

This article was originally published by the Lowy Institute on 17 September 2018.

Key Findings

  • There will be broad continuity in Russian foreign policy over the course of Vladimir Putin’s current presidential term. Any policy changes will be stylistic, not transformative.
  • The Kremlin is committed to asserting Russia as a global power, although it will be tactically flexible in pursuing this ambition.
  • Putin will present different faces to the West: sometimes accommodating, at other times assertive and even confrontational. But there will be no compromise on core principles.

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The US-Chinese Trade War Begins

Image courtesy of The White House/Flickr.

This article was originally published by YaleGlobal Online on 19 September 2018.

In his book Fear, journalist Bob Woodward suggests that Donald Trump’s protectionist instincts may be stronger than previously thought, preventing him from making commercial peace with traditional allies or trade partners. Recent actions against China leave no doubt. Yet, this is not simply the Trump administration directing “protectionist firepower” against China, to quote James Politi of the Financial Times. A geopolitical fight is also emerging about global technological leadership and US ambitions to contain China on this crucial frontier.

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Inexorable Changes in US Foreign Policy?

Image courtesy of Luke Michael/Unsplash

This article was originally published by the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI) on 14 August 2018.

It seems to be an article of faith among many members of the U.S. foreign policy community that, whenever Donald Trump—and his administration—leaves office, a subsequent president (whether a Democrat or a non-Trumpist Republican) will push a reset button that will return the United States to its position in world affairs that it occupied in 2008 or 2016. They take reassurance in the assumption, however, that Trump’s presidency can only represent a brief aberration and that, as Lawrence Freedman notes, “When Trump ceases to be President, things should return to normal.”

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Merkel and Macron: Edging towards Change?

Image courtesy of the European External Action Service/Flickr. (CC BY-NC 2.0)

This article was originally published by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) on 7 June 2018.

Angela Merkel finally responds to Emmanuel Macron’s Europe reform plans – but through the pages of a newspaper, and in only the most guarded of terms.
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From Policy to Populism: Donald Trump’s Trade Policy in Global Context

Image courtesy of The White House/Flickr.

This article was originally published by the Elcano Royal Institute on 10 April 2018.

Theme

An open multilateral trade system is under direct challenge from the policies of President Donald Trump. The year 2018 will be crucial.

Summary

This paper reviews US trade policy one year on after the election of Donald Trump. It demonstrates that after a year of exacerbating transactionalist and protectionist rhetoric we are now in a position to observe the direction policy is taking in practice. Sadly, it is becoming clear that practice is indeed matching rhetoric. The evidence is gathering. Commencing with withdrawal from the TPP, policy has hardened towards an open multilateral system. The year 2018 has seen attacks on the WTO (stopping appointments to the Appellate Board), followed by moves to introduce tariffs on white goods, aluminium and steel and a strategy for direct activity towards China. The year will also see a hard line towards NAFTA re-negotiations. The prospects of enhanced trade tension –trade war, even– is the obvious next stage flowing from Trump’s policy. Major players are likely to retaliate.

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