Is there a Trump Doctrine in American Foreign Policy?

On October 3, 2018, TRT World Research Centre held a roundtable meeting on U.S. foreign policy under the Trump administration. Even before President Trump took office, the question of how the new administration would approach U.S. foreign policy had become an issue of discussion. As Trump approaches two years in office, scholars, journalists and pundits have offered diverging perspectives regarding Trump’s foreign policy. It is widely held that Trump does not have a coherent grand strategy geared towards the execution of purposive actions and that his foreign policy is strategically incoherent, even anti-strategic. The counterpoint is that Trump does have coherent foreign policy doctrine, but that it is ill-conceived and illprepared to serve the strategic interests of the United States. Trump’s rhetoric against free trade, multilateral institutions and alliance politics, and his reluctance to assume global leadership have cast doubt on the fate of the existing world order. On the basis of these developments in American foreign policy, scholars concerned with the survival of the liberal order have drawn attention to the illiberal characteristics of President Trump’s foreign policy preferences, their implications and potential consequences, and have called for an urgent defence of liberalism. Against this backdrop, this session will delve into the fundamentals of the U.S. foreign policy and discuss Trump’s foreign policy vision and its implications for the world.