Analysis & Opinions - Foreign Policy

Welcome to Trump's Impeachment Foreign Policy

| Oct. 07, 2019

His administration's decisions will be erratic, ill-considered, and ineffective. In other words, business as usual.

In my last column, I argued U.S. President Donald Trump should be impeached, because he has repeatedly shown he cannot be trusted to put the nation's interest ahead of his own personal political aims. Since I wrote that column, Trump has publicly confirmed the validity of these concerns, most recently by calling for China to investigate the Biden family. If he's willing to say something like that in the open, can anyone doubt that he'd sell the country out in private if he thought it would benefit him personally? For a good analysis of the situation, see Andrew Sullivan here.

And remember: He did all of this to himself, voluntarily. Nobody made him chase weird conspiracy theories about Ukraine, Crowdstrike, and the Democratic National Committee server, and nobody forced him to withhold aid to Ukraine and pressure its president to keep digging into the family of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden (an issue Ukraine had already investigated and found no evidence of wrongdoing). Nobody pressured Trump into sending his personal lawyer to Ukraine to chase these will-o'-the-wisps. It was entirely Trump's own idea to tell Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to work with U.S. Attorney General William Barr on this whole bogus business. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi didn’t tell him to commit impeachable offenses. In sum: He did all this on his owninitiative.

This rather obvious conclusion raises a second question, one that should concern Democrats, Republicans, independents, and the rest of the world. Now that an impeachment investigation is underway (and is likely to lead to a formal House vote), how will this situation affect U.S. foreign policy? Whether you love Trump or despise him, it's important to consider whether impeachment will have other effects on America's position in the world and the policies it is able to pursue over the next few months....

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Walt, Stephen M.“Welcome to Trump's Impeachment Foreign Policy.” Foreign Policy, October 7, 2019.

The Author

Stephen Walt