Queen's Policy Engagement

A Word from our Experts: What the US election result means for US foreign policy

Professor Beverley Milton-Edwards, currently a visiting fellow at the Brookings Doha Centre, highlights the damage that the 2016 US election campaign has done to US foreign policy in the Middle East.

A Word from our Experts: What the US election result means for US foreign policy

Among the losers of the U.S. presidential campaign is America’s foreign policy. The world has watched—at first with some amusement, and then in growing alarm—as the campaign reduced America’s relations abroad to some kind of cruel joke. Serious policy issues were often relegated to the margins of the campaign, and discussions about international relations imbued with hostility rather than messages of global leadership and power. This has hurt America.

In the Middle East—where America must vie with Russia, China, and Islamist movements for influence—there is a sense that the pax Americana moment has passed. Regional actors have reoriented away from Washington and formed new alliances. The 2016 campaign has only worsened this damage. The question is whether its outcome can undo the harm to restore the preponderance of power America once enjoyed in the region.

In this respect, Donald Trump faces a momentous challenge. To begin to recover power in the region, he must go back to Iraq and play a sustained part in assisting not only the military victory against ISIS but also in stabilisation and reconstruction. This means extending the current mandate of U.S.-led forces in Operation Inherent Resolve beyond the Mosul liberation challenge.


Article first appeared on the Brookings Blog.

The featured image in this article has been used thanks to a Creative Commons licence.

Professor Beverley Milton-Edwards
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Beverley Milton-Edwards is a Professor of Politics at the Senator George J Mitchell Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice at Queen's University where she specialises in research and teaching on violence, terrorism and security, as well as the Politics of the Middle East and Political Islam. Professor Milton-Edwards has worked as a Special Advisor to a number of high-level governmental representatives, including the EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy, and the EU’s Middle East Peace Envoy. She is currently a Visiting Fellow at Brookings Doha Center.

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