US President Donald J. Trump presented his nationalist doctrine “Principled Realism” in his first official address to the United Nations on Tuesday. Initial reports from the White House said that the message of President Trump’s speech will focus more on upholding the nation’s values and traditions and not on the United States’ advancing role in the international community.
President Trump has been vocal on his criticism of the United Nations since the Presidential campaign, calling it heavily bureaucratic and mismanaged.
With tensions rising between North Korea and Japan, the United States pulling out from the Paris Climate Change Accord and the increased frequency of terror attacks, world leaders have had bated breath to find out if President Trump will relinquish the United States’ traditional role as world leader.
Principled Realism advocates the realist’s view that US foreign policy should place America’s interests first. The contrarian view offered by idealists state that it is impossible to uphold values without compromising the national interest.
With Principled Realism, policy making should prioritize US interest without compromising its values and traditions.
President Trump believes that the previous administration of Barack Obama has left US interests on the wayside by entering into agreements that placed the nation in disadvantageous positions.
An example that President Trump frequently alludes to is the United States’ penchant to become a global police force. Past administrations would authorize military intervention in other regions in order to impose its own idea of democracy and nation building.
President Trump’s doctrine of Principled Realism is rooted in traditional American values while advocating shared interests within the international community, cooperation and common sense.
With Principled Realism, President Trump believes nations should not be bystanders to history. There is a shared risk; meaning nations should work toward achieving common goals without imposing ones values or ideals on the other. Respect for the sovereignty of nations is the rationale for international cooperation.
On Monday, President Trump spoke at a UN session about reforming the United Nations as an institution; to lessen the bureaucracy and accept management accountability. He asked his fellow leaders to institute reforms aimed at “changing business as usual” but assured them that America would be “partners in your work.”
Is it to “Make the United Nations Great Again”?
According to President Trump, “Not again. Make the United Nations great. Such great potential. I think we’ll be able to do this.”
Despite his campaign promise to “Make America Great Again” and to strongly advocate “America First” policies in trade and foreign relations, President Trump will need international support to counter the threat of North Korea and the growing presence of ISIS around the world.