Trump's foreign policy after the midterms

The whole world was mesmerised by the US midterm elections this week. Observers see Trump weakened on the domestic front, but how will the results affect his foreign policy? Commentators focus on the relations with Moscow.

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Novoye Vremya (UA) /

Competing enemies of Russia

Relations between the US and Russia won't improve any time soon, Russian journalist Alexander Golz predicts in Novoye Vremya:

“The fact is that the only issue on which there is a clear consensus between the Republicans and Democrats in Congress today is the resolute condemnation of Russia. All this was as obvious a week ago as it was a month ago. But Putin is stubbornly insisting that we wait until the unreasonable Americans resolve their domestic problems. However that won't change their relations with Russia. If the Democrats argue with the Republicans about this topic, then it's only over who's taking the tougher line against Moscow.”

Vedomosti (RU) /

Putin can only hope Trump is re-elected

Vedomosti also fears that the existing US sanctions against Moscow won't be lifted:

“Trump used to say he was ready to consider lifting the sanctions if Russia agreed to cooperate with Washington in Syria and Ukraine. But the strengthening of the Democrats in Congress will throw a wrench in the works: the Democrats take a tougher line on Syria and Ukraine. ... The next sanctions envisaged over accusations that Moscow used chemical weapons in Salisbury and refuses to submit to international inspections are in any case independent of the election result. Because they are mandatory for legal reasons. ... Now the Kremlin is pinning its hopes on the 2020 presidential elections. Putin said in October that Trump's re-election would untie tied hands.”

Público (PT) /

President can still cut loose in this area

The US president will now focus his efforts on a specific area of politics, Teresa de Sousa predicts in Pùblico:

“The triumph of the Democrats in the House of Representatives may restrict Trump's domestic agenda - but not his foreign policy. The US president has far-reaching powers in this area, including the possibility to use military force in certain circumstances, to annul trade or international agreements and sign new ones - even if the latter requires the ratification of the US Senate (which remains in the Republicans' hands). With his internal political agenda placed on hold, Trump, like many others before him, will try to score quick victories in foreign policy.”

Izvestia (RU) /

President should pacify warmongerers

The US president should return to his original foreign policy agenda, the president of the Moscow-based American University Edward Lozansky writes in Izvestia:

“For an election victory in 2020 or at least in the interest of his historical legacy Trump could take on the role of saving his country and the world from a third world war. That's where his ideological opponents, the proponents of a mono-polar world order and boundless US hegemony are leading us. Trump would be wise to dust off his inauguration speech in which he listed the mistakes made by his predecessors in the White House - which he promised to rectify. ... The US press continually discusses who is the main enemy: Russia or China? Trump now has the wonderful opportunity to resolve this problem by turning both enemies if not into allies, then at least into strategic partners.”

Contributors (RO) /

Europe's security at risk

Things could get very uncomfortable for the US's allies in Europe until the next US presidential elections, political scientist Valentin Naumescu writes in Contributors:

“An America that is even more divided than before, with a weakened executive and a president who is openly doubted and contested by his own people will not necessarily be able to offer convincing security guarantees in the event of a threat. ... What is certain is that the US's strategic orientation in the next two years will be unclear, with serious ramifications for the US, Nato, and US-EU relations. The same will be true for the US's allies and partners around the world, who are already waiting impatiently for the results of the elections on November 3, 2020.”

Lidové noviny (CZ) /

No dramatic changes

Europe can rest assured after the US midterm elections, Lidové noviny believes:

“Of course, for us in Europe the question is whether we can expect a change in US foreign and security policy. But it doesn't look like we're facing anything dramatic. Trump will be careful not to shoot off his mouth again the next time he meets Putin or call US intelligence information on Russian interference into question. He'll be more likely to adopt a tougher attitude to Russia. ... Will he soften his hard stance on foreign trade? Probably not. He's convinced it's a success. And many people on the left - first and foremost Bernie Sanders - are in fact even more protectionist than Trump.”