American foreign policy is dotted with declaration of doctrines. We have the Monroe Doctrine, Roosevelt Doctrine, Truman Doctrine, Reagan Doctrine and so forth. I dare to speculate how history will portray the Obama Doctrine.
Obama came to office highly critical of President George W. Bush’s foreign policy. He assured us he could do better. He clearly did not. Whereas George Bush made foreign policy decisions that had a consistency and logic – even if you disagreed with him – the Obama administration has been all over the place. And few if any would consider the world a safer place for Americans then it was eight years ago.
For the first time since the 1978 election, foreign policy became a central theme in the presidential election. And Donald Trump’s win was best descriptively captured by his campaign slogan “Let’s Make America Great Again” — a great power, the leader of the free world, a nation that once flexed its might not by intervention but simply by the threat of its immense power appearing off one’s shores.
One of the poorest foreign policy decisions I have seen in recent years was the Obama administration’s decision to abstain on the Israeli settlement issue. It was a horrible decision on many counts, ranging from deserting our only reliable ally in the Middle East to allowing the United Nations, an organization that constantly works against American interests, the power to intervene.
The UN is dominated by nations that would be just as happy to see Israel disappear. That is why the Security Council has a policy that gives permanent members like the U.S. the authority to veto the many dangerous resolutions that are put forward.
The Israeli settlement resolution was a prime example of why this veto rule is built into the organization’s charter. The U.S. failure to use the veto in this situation confirmed suspicions that the Obama administration was one of the weakest supporters of Israel since the state came about in the late 1940s.
American foreign policy should be predicated on a single concept — “America First.” President-elect Donald Trump was elected on this plank. He has articulated his view by saying that America will intervene when it is in our best interests. And he has placed his focus on international terrorism.
He made his view on the resolution well known. His administration would have vetoed it. And he apparently sent his son in law to Hawaii to lobby President Obama unsuccessfully against abstaining.
Trump is not a fan of the United Nations. He has criticized the organization many times during the campaign and in fact for many years. In 2005, he appeared before a Congressional committee alongside State Senator Golden – whom I serve as chief of staff — to criticize an action at the time that both considered against the best interests of our nation.
In my opinion, the Trump Doctrine will be summarized years from now as simply “America First.” This will be very easy for Americans to understand and get behind. It is what America clearly wants, and after eight years of Obama’s bowing to foreign interests, it is what America needs.