President Obama still has a couple of months in office. He might use those talks to launch peace talks, or negotiate an arms reduction, or assist with a crisis. But Donald Trump’s team is issuing a warning: keep your hands inside the country.
Before Donald Trump won the presidency, Democratic foreign policy circles hummed with talk that an outgoing President Barack Obama could take a last stab at peace talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians. There also was a strong expectation that Obama would push hard for Congress to approve the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.
But now that they're on the verge of power, Trump aides say Obama shouldn't even think about taking such steps.
It’s hard to find a fan of the TPP these days, but … would negotiating peace be such a bad thing? Is Donald Trump against peace?
Actually, it’s impossible to say what Trump is against. Or what he’s for. Because with the exception of a few things he’s vowed to bomb the $#!^ out of, there really isn’t much to know about Donald Trump’s foreign policy.
Trump, officials and analysts note, has repeatedly shifted his approach on some foreign policy issues, including the Iran deal and restoring ties to Cuba. Some of Trump’s more definitive stances (such as his hostility to trade deals and conciliatory stance toward Russia) also run diametrically opposed to establishment Republican thought, not to mention Democratic preferences. To top all that off, there are numerous issues of international concern about which Trump has said little to nothing whatsoever.
That’s because if it can’t be bought or blown up, Trump isn’t particularly interested.
We know he’s willing to write off Aleppo. To bomb thousands of civilians. To kill the families of people he suspects of terrorism. But what is Donald Trump’s world view beyond things he can kill?
“In the past 24 hours, I’ve seen embassies all over town, foreign journalists, officials in foreign capitals reaching out to anybody they can find to try to get a sense of what does Trump foreign policy look like with regard to my country, my issue, whatever it is, because there has not been a huge amount of detail spelled out during a campaign,” said Richard Fontaine, president of the Center for a New American Security.
Of course, there is one world leader who already knows what he’s getting. Because they’ve been in touch with Trump all along.
Perhaps nowhere are more changes expected than on U.S. policy on Russia.
Trump's take on Russia is far more dovish that that of many leading members of his own party — including his vice president-elect, Mike Pence. Trump has said he'd like to get along with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Russian officials have said they were in touch with Trump's advisers during the U.S. presidential campaign. As a result, the Russian government, which used its state-backed media apparatus to bolster Trump’s candidacy, will probably wait out the Obama administration on a number of critical subjects.