It is hard to imagine that very many Americans who voted for Donald Trump did so because of his foreign policy statements. And he has received lots of criticism for his mercurial foreign policy proposals. But he has brought economic and diplomatic pressure on three of America’s adversaries. In a recent column, Victor Davis Hanson sums up our current standoff with China, Iran, and North Korea.
Trump’s critics described him as a Don Quixote “tilting at Chinese windmills” because of his focus on tariffs and a trade war. Yet the “US economy is still humming. The stock market is at record highs.” Meanwhile, the Chinese economy is slowing down. Human rights activists are condemning China, and riots continue in Hong Kong. Beijing seems to be hoping that Trump will not be reelected so they can force a Democratic administration to return to the status quo.
“The Iran deal in 2015 was all that Iran could hope for.” But Donald Trump ended that treaty and also ramped up sanctions on Iran. He even pressured our allies to join him as well. Victor Davis Hanson reminds us that Iran was once an oil-exporting country. Today it has riots over gasoline prices.
North Korea is relatively quiet at the moment. But the leaders there must make a crucial decision soon. “It’s impoverished population is reduced to a pre-civilization existence” due to the sanctions Trump brought not only to North Korea but also to China. Food is scarce. Fuel is almost impossible to find.
With these limited successes comes greater danger. China may try to wait out their situation, hoping for a change of administration next year. North Korea can’t wait. It will probably launch a missile or do something provocative in order to force Trump to negotiate away sanctions. I expect one or more of these countries to attempt to change the situation that the Trump foreign policy put them in.