The Democratic candidates have stark differences, but there are foreign policy changes that they'd all be likely to make, Axios World Editor Dave Lawler writes.
Trump’s unusually cozy ties with Saudi Arabia and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his warm words for Russia’s Vladimir Putin and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, and his adversarial relationships with allies are all ripe for course corrections from day one.
- On Iran, the leading Democrats are all hitting virtually the same notes: The only division on display in the debates was over whether to re-join the Obama-era nuclear deal or negotiate an extension first.
- Expect an early trip to Europe, Canada or Mexico from any Trump successor to send a signal that the U.S. stands by its allies.
Debates that have raged in U.S. foreign policy for decades — when to use military force, whether to sign on to trade deals — will continue.
- But there are a number of issues on which it's “more about flipping a switch” than establishing new policies, says Ned Price of National Security Action, a group founded by former Obama administration officials that’s advising Democratic candidates. He says one of those is resetting relations between the White House and the intelligence community.
Between the lines: Many countries — allies and adversaries alike — are trying to wait Trump out.
- European leaders seem to be hedging their bets, talking more about autonomy and collective security, while quietly hoping Trump is an aberration.
- Others have placed big bets on Trump. “If Trump loses, the Saudis are screwed,” one Middle Eastern diplomat tells Axios.
Between the lines: By the time Inauguration Day rolls around in 2021, it will be "too late to turn back to the clock" on the most daunting challenges the U.S. faces, says Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations.
- He says "elements of Trumpism," possibly on trade, could carry over into the next administration. In any case, he says, the next president will be "constrained by the fact that the world has moved on" from the U.S.
- “Even if the next American president sends reassuring signals, rejoins this or that, there’s still now an element of doubt about U.S. policy," Haass said.
- "There’s no longer the presumption of continuity that there was, and there’s a sense in the world that if it happened once it can happen again."
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