Often the best predictor of a new US president’s foreign policy is to look at his predecessor. Yet each president does leave his impact on American foreign policy. Donald Trump came to office with no government or foreign policy experience and his presidential campaign rhetoric suggested significant changes in a US foreign policy, which he described as “America First.” This article examines Trump’s foreign policy after nearly three years both in terms of how it is made and across three levels—interests, strategy, and tactics. The argument is that while Trump’s foreign policy shares many continuities with his predecessors, there are notable differences, especially in terms of how it is made and the conflict between his intensely personal style and the control the US foreign policy establishment has over him. Finally, any permanent changes in US foreign policy beyond Trump may have more to do with larger shifts in a world that is no longer dominated by the US.
“Designed many years ago, NATO is obsolete”, said Donald Trump in January 2017. Yet in August 2017, he said the US would be very protective of the Baltic region. In the US. National Security Strategy published in December 2017, the Trump administration said it would abide by “Article 5 of the Washington Treaty”. This article aims to analyze the US security policy during the Trump presidency, with a particular focus on military security and NATO’s role in it, and to assess its significance for the Baltic States. What are the guiding principles of Trump’s military security policy? What is NATO’s role in the Trump administration’s security policy? Is the administration’s policy regarding NATO coherent? Has the Trump administration’s military security policy changed compared to traditional US military security policy? Does the Trump administration plan to maintain its commitment to defend the Baltic States? What does Trump’s military security policy mean to the Baltic States? Based on the original study, the article discusses official positions of US officials (the President, the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense) expressed in strategic documents and political discourse, also analyzing initiatives taken by the administration based on compiled event data sets.
Since 2016, the Trump administration has announced a series of protectionist measures: it suspended or reviewed the US participation in free trade agreements, taxing some imports, restricting foreign access to high-tech sector, and so on. Trump’s international economic policy has provoked debate in the US and around the world. Critics rushed to state that Trump was leading the US into international isolation, which could in turn lead to a global economic downturn. Foreign countries have also joined the ranks of Trump critics. China said it would resist protectionism and fight for free trade, while the longtime US allies France, Germany and Britain had to admit that the transatlantic community was going through difficult times. This article seeks to answer two questions: why has the US President administration been pursuing protectionist international economic policy and how does this policy affect transatlantic relations and Lithuania’s international position?
This article focuses upon the most recent trends in nuclear deterrence and strategic stability. It addresses the contemporary developments in three interconnected domains: first-strike, crisis and arms race stability. It traces the evolution of strategic stability studies, highlights the most fundamental contribution in the three above-mentioned study areas, and attempts to explain the change in contemporary nuclear deterrence. During the Cold War the superpowers developed international practices and unwritten rules of nuclear deterrence. Political practices emerged together with extensive studies of nuclear deterrence, which were based on a rational choice approach and game modelling. Contemporary international relations (IR) faces revival of nuclear deterrence studies. While some scholars are rediscovering the Cold War IR analysis models and adapting them to contemporary realities, others are looking for new analytical possibilities. This article focuses upon interlinkages between firststrike, crisis and arms race stability, and attempts to explain how changes in strategic environment can help better understanding the contemporary nuclear deterrence. It discusses whether and under what conditions nuclear parity, first-strike stability, arms control and crisis equilibrium can guarantee the strategic stability and military balance. It also addresses the qualitative or quantitative change in the conflict or crisis perception, and its implications on contemporary deterrence.
Nationalism is one of the great ideologies of the 19th and 20th centuries, whose demise was widely expected with certainty at the end of the 20th century. But Brexit, the election of Donald Trump as the President of the United States and constant gaining force by the Radical Right political parties in Europe sparkled discussion on the role of nationalism in the international system of the 21st century. The article answers the question whether this reanimation of nationalism is a long-term trend or merely an episode that supports predictions of its fading away.
The study traces the development occurred in the alliance between Putin’s Russia and the European far-right parties since the European Parliamentary election held in May 2019. The article briefly summarizes the populist upsurge in Europe, exploring the reasons behind it. Consequently, the relations established between the political actors are outlined, starting with the concept of “sovereign democracy” to cover all the eventual points where the interests of the Kremlin match with those of the European far-right populists. The ultimate purpose of the study is to define three possible macro-scenarios for the alliance and, indirectly, for the European Union in the near term, concluding that even though the uprising of the populist parties has been somehow contained and the alliance has been widely exposed, the far-right still benefits from great success among public opinion. Furthermore, however ephemeral and transitory the collaboration between Putin and the populists may be, it has already laid the foundations for a more fruitful understanding. Russia’s importance as an economic and political partner will grow as its friendly political forces do and their mutual sympathy will stand until there are reciprocal gains.
The European security architecture inherited from the period of the Cold War encompasses a few most important international organisations – first of all, NATO, EU and OSCE, members of which are most European countries – and institutional rules as well as numerous informal patterns of state behaviour and status. 2019 is to see the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, which is one of the key institutional “axes” of the European security architecture. This will potentially have an impact on the future of the entire organisation, hence – on the security on the old continent. This article aims at compiling a set of alternative scenarios of the evolution of the European security through the use of the scenario building technique which is still bizarre in political science. To this end, interaction of four “driving forces”, namely, 1) USA involvement, 2) threats of regional scope, 3) leadership of Germany (and France) in the promotion of the European integration, and 4) stability of the UK government, in the next seven years, is analysed. Various combinations of these variables lead to the crystallisation of three alternative plots of scenarios: 1) closer European security and defence union, 2) new Cold War, and 3) revival of the global “Anglosphere”. Still, as seen from the practice of application of the scenario building technique, in the medium term, a parallel and only partial materialisation of all three scenarios is most likely.
This article considers Baltic defence strategically, focusing on three scenarios of Russian aggression against the Baltic states: 1) an ambiguous invasion, what the West would call a hybrid war; 2) a hasty invasion by Russian formations already in and around the Baltic region; and 3) a prepared invasion by more substantial Russian forces brought within striking distance of the Baltic states from other parts of Russia. The ultimate question for each is: does this particular scenario present Russia with a viable strategy, a convincing theory of success? Each scenario is explored through the perspectives of military practice or tactics, then politics, and then synthesized through a strategic perspective. The article argues that neither the ambiguous invasion nor the hasty invasion scenarios provide convincing theories of success for Russia, whereas the prepared invasion does provide a compelling theory of victory.
The article aims to reveal the themes, intensity and reasons for the securitization of the Baltic States building on the analysis of the public rhetoric of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in 2008-2017. The current bilateral relations between Russia and the Baltic States happen to be hostile, often involving mutual criticism, aggressive rhetoric from the Russian side, and the security policy of the Baltic States is often seen in Russia as a threat to its national security. The results of this study make it possible to identify the publicly declared interests of Russia and their evolution vis-à-vis the Baltic States and to see the importance of the Baltic States in Russia’s common foreign and security policy. The theory of constructivism serves as a theoretical basis for this study. On the basis of this theory, the author has developed a model for the study of the securitization of the Baltic States, which helps to highlight the context in which the Baltic States recur most frequently and to assesses the goals pursued by the securitization of the Baltic States.
The article analyses the dynamics of military cooperation between Russia and Belarus at the time when Russia’s aggression against Ukraine revealed president Vladimir Putin’s objective to consolidate control over his interest zone in the nearest post-soviet area at all hazards. This could be called the time-period during which endurance of military cooperation is increased and during which Russia demonstrates its principle ambition to expand the use of military capabilities while leaning on Belorussian military capabilities, military infrastructure and territory as a bridgehead for potential military actions. For this reason, the aim of the paper is to outline the key factors which determine military integration of the both countries, or, more specifically, to discuss orientations and objectives set forth for building military cooperation as laid down in the documents regulating military policy, to discuss and assess practical cases of strengthening of interaction between military capabilities (strategic military exercises), to reveal the accomplishments of military and technical cooperation, problems it might pose and potential prospects of its development.