Fascicolo 17-18 | 2020

La Presidenza Trump
Bilancio Ed Eredità

This volume is in natural continuity with the previous one (Effetto Trump? Gli Stati Uniti nel sistema internazionale fra continuità e mutamento) in this same series and aims to provide a first reconstruction and interpretation of Donald Trump presidential mandate. A correct and thorough analysis of the substance of Trump’s policies has been hindered by a prevalent focus on his style of government. The introduction explains the methodological criteria followed by the authors and presents the topics discussed. Most chapters deal with foreign policy, some with internal issues. The volume’s general conclusion points out that Trump followed paths that already his predecessors had tread. He did that with a more extremist attitude, depending not just from his personality but also from deep factors which developed in recent times. Considering this second reason, we may guess that Biden will be unable to put aside completely Trump’s heritage.


Massimo de LeonardisIntroduzione

Abstract – This volume is in natural continuity with the previous one (Effetto Trump? Gli Stati Uniti nel sistema internazionale fra continuità e mutamento) in this same series and aims to provide a first reconstruction and interpretation of Donald Trump presidential mandate. A correct and thorough analysis of the substance of Trump’s policies has been hindered by a prevalent focus on his style of government. The introduction explains the methodological criteria followed by the authors and presents the topics discussed. Most chapters deal with foreign policy, some with internal issues. The volume’s general conclusion points out that Trump followed paths that already his predecessors had tread. He did that with a more extremist attitude, depending not just from his personality but also from deep factors which developed in recent times. Considering this second reason, we may guess that Biden will be unable to put aside completely Trump’s heritage.

Davide Borsani, La diplomazia della transazione, gli Stati Uniti e il sistema delle alleanze durante la presidenza Trump

Abstract – Since the end of the Second World War, the role of the United States on the international chessboard has been closely linked to the stability and sustainability of the system of its security alliances, either multilateral or bilateral, which Washington gradually established in several regions. This essay analyzes the U.S. alliance system in three main strategic theaters under Donald J. Trump presidency. First, the Indo-Pacific region, particularly the bilateral agreements with Japan and South Korea, and the trilateral alliance with Australia and New Zealand. Second, the European theater, focusing on NATO. Third, the Western Hemisphere, especially the Rio Treaty. The essay argues that the historic U.S. mutual defense alliance system went through a phase of renewal throughout the Trump presidency. Far from being decayed, U.S. alliances – particularly those in Europe and Asia – had to deal with the declining status and influence of the American power. Washington certainly moved away from the practices of multilateralism over the last four years, exerting strong pressure at the diplomatic and economic level on long-standing allies whose support, as showed by the measures adopted by the Congress, still seems essential to American foreign policy in the long run. The Biden presidency, thus, opens up with new perspectives for the U.S. security alliance system.

Massimo de Leonardis, La politica dell’amministrazione Trump verso la NATO: percezioni e realtà

Abstract – The chapter reappraises the attitude of the President and his administration towards the Atlantic Alliance, a traditional pillar of American foreign policy, which did not escape Trump’s criticism towards multilateralism. Actually, an historical survey demonstrates that Trump’s policy, in particular on the issue of burden sharing, was basically in continuity with that of his predecessors. Some sources report that Trump pondered the US’ exit from NATO if the European members did not keep their pledges and the Alliance was bashed by some scathing presidential remarks. However official documents by the Trump Administration expressed a strong support for NATO and, as a matter of fact, Washington strengthened its commitment. The military arm, NATO, remains formidable, while certainly the Alliance seems to lack a clear vision and a grand strategy to address current major problems such as the threats posed by China, Islamic terrorism, and illegal mass migrations. The Atlantic Alliance’s “crisis” derives from factors of longer term than the four years of Trump’s administration.

Gianluca Pastori, Una distensione mancata? L’amministrazione Trump e il nodo dei rapporti con la Russia

Abstract – Donald Trump’s administration was supposed to start a long-needed review of the traditional US approach toward Russia, staring a new détente after the tensions that marked George W. Bush’s and Barack Obama’s presidencies. Expectations went disappointed. Not only détente failed to materialize, but relations further worsened in several theatres and on several issues. Russia enhanced its role in Syria and the Mediterranean, its ties with Ankara e Teheran counterbalanced Washington’s anti-Iranian initiatives, and its role in the Ukraine crisis remains a source of constant tension in Europe. There are many reasons why the US-Russian rapprochement failed. The speculations about the so-called Russiagate (the supposed Russian meddling with the 2016 US presidential elections) negatively impacted on Donald Trump’s freedom of action while the cleavages existing in the administration and the quick turnover of some key-positions weakened its political coherence. Most important, the diverging interests between Moscow and Washington made it difficult to find a mutually satisfactory middle way, also in the light of the strong anti-Russian bias of part of the Republican establishment. At the end of Trump’s mandate, the situation is – from many points of view – worse than at its beginning, with the US actively engaged in contrasting Russian ascendency at the Middle East and Europe, as well as in competing with Russia to modernize and strengthen both its conventional and nuclear arsenal. In this perspective, Joe Biden’s success in the 2020 presidential elections seems will probably have little impact on US-Russia dynamics, although stronger US-Europe relations could, possibly, enhance Washington’s standing vis à vis its opponent.

Mireno Berrettini, La fine dell’inizio o l’inizio della fine? Le relazioni sino-statunitensi nell’era di Donald Trump

Abstract – This essay analyzes the Sino-US diplomatic relations during the Donald J. Trump’s mandate as President of the United States in a crescendo of tension unraveling from the first frictions regarding Taiwan to the trade war. The years of the Trump administration marked the progressive awareness of the United States of the strategic value of economic-trade relations with the People’s Republic of China. From this point of view, therefore, they will mark a point of no return in the competition for the redefinition of global geopolitical assets.

Raimondo Neironi, «We are more than just a flag»? L’alleanza tra gli Stati Uniti e l’Australia e le relazioni bilaterali durante il mandato presidenziale di Donald J. Trump

Abstract – Since the Cold War, alliance between United States and Australia has been relied on the long-standing assumption that Washington is the only driver to attain Australian security from any external threat. The ANZUS, the most important pillar of the Australia’s foreign and security policy, maintained Australia’s position as the militarily most capable country of the Southern Hemisphere to counter both Japan and Communist China. But, in certain circumstances occurred both the Cold War period and afterwards, alliance has seemed to be far from steadfast. During the Trump administration, Canberra has admittedly shown no intention to be caught in the middle of a risky competition between U.S. and China that might backfire. While bilateral relations are built on shared values and entrenched dialogue, Australia’s strategic assessment is to offset, as never before, political commitments with the major guarantor of its own defence and economic interest with China, its main trading partner. This «binary choice» has contributed to heighten the feeling of insecurity in Australia, amid other significant challenges affecting the Indo-Pacific. This paper examines the importance of the military alliance for Australia in an historical perspective, provides a preliminary appraisal of the U.S.-Australia relationship between 2017 and 2020, and eventually explains to what extent Australia does not bother to choose a side within the current Sino-American rivalry.

Enrico Fassi, Gli Stati Uniti e la promozione della democrazia. Un bilancio dell’amministrazione Trump

Abstract – The election of Donald Trump as 45th President of the United States raised a number of questions about what the effects of such a development would bear on American foreign policy and the international system as a whole. Four years later, this essay attempts to take stock of the Trump administration’s score in the specific field of democracy promotion. Considered to be one of the constituent elements of the liberal order created by the United States in the aftermath of the Second World War, this aspect immediately seemed to be in tension with the positions of the new President. The thesis of the article is that, beyond the distance that this administration has created between the policies of democracy promotion “on the ground”, which have laboriously continued to be pursued, and the U turn in “high politics” related to presidential action, the greatest damage is probably that inflicted on American democracy as a possible model to imitate.

Giuseppe Dentice, Trump e il Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA)

Abstract – Over the last decades, the deep transformations throughout the MENA region have created new challenges that overlap with old crises. The several inter-state conflict, the emergence of new asymmetrical threat, the growing weight of (violent) non-state actors, and intense power competition have turned the region into one of the world’s most volatile in the world, whose geopolitical significance goes far beyond its geographical borders. A widening instability further aggravated after the Arab Spring in 2011, when the region was overwhelmed by a peculiar condition of controlled disequilibrium, in which MENA powers competed each other for influence and geopolitical advantage, spreading insecurity, fragmentation and disorder in the regional system, as a whole. In this context, the United States and its main partner (Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Israel) has tried to define a new mechanism of stabilization and securitization in the wider Middle East. Applying a historical and IR approach, this paper traces the changes in the regional dynamics, arguing also that the impacts and transformations in the MENA security complex are strongly related to the evolutions of America’s foreign policy.

Andrea Plebani, La complessa eredità della presidenza Trump sullo scacchiere siro-iracheno

Abstract – Understanding the legacy left by Donald Trump’s presidency on the Syrian and Iraqi systems is a difficult yet extremely important task. After having been at the forefront of international media coverage for over three years (2014-2017), the area returned to being perceived as marginal after major combat operations against the “Islamic State” ended. Yet the “Syraq” maintained a crucial importance for Washington, far exceeding the threat represented by jihadist forces. Once IS positions in the Jazira crumbled, Syria and Iraq sank into a new spiral of instability fed by a “game of shadows” witnessing the presence of a wide array of competing actors operating at the local, regional and international levels. Washington was no exception, adopting a geopolitical posture that deeply influenced local equilibriums and dynamics. The article therefore aims to analyze the effects Trump’s presidency had on the U.S. geopolitical stance in Syria and Iraq, focusing in particular on its impact on friends and foes alike, in an area destined to remain central for Middle Eastern equilibriums for years to come.

Paolo Maggiolini, Erase and Rewind. Il coinvolgimento statunitense nel settore giordano-israelo-palestinese e l’eredità Trump

Abstract – This chapter aims to document the main features of Trump’s legacy to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by analysing the United States’ diplomatic relationships with Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian National Authority in the framework of the 2020 Peace to Prosperity plan. The focus on these three dimensions helps to fully detail the logics and tenets of the “new” political landscape that Trump’s personal diplomacy contributed to shape. While the focus on Israel and the Palestinians is self-explanatory, the analysis of US-Jordan diplomatic relations is considered important given the strong historical and socio-political bonds between Amman and the Israeli-Palestinian question. Jordan is not simply one of the regional actors involved in the issues, but also one of the most stable Arab allies for Washington; the second belligerent Arab country that signed a peace treaty with Israel (1994); that has the longest border with it; and, finally, the sole Arab state that has with this conflict, and of course with the peace process, an existential relationship. The chapter reconsiders Trump’s policies in the area by, first, providing a short overview of the past US administrations’ interventions in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and, secondly, by focusing on Trump’s initiatives toward Israel, the Palestinians and Jordan. The aim of this analysis is to highlight continuities and discontinuities, pointing out what can be considered the features and factors that can probably compose the Trump legacy to future US administrations. Trump did not simply impose his personal vision on the conflict and for its resolution. This always happens with each new administration. Rather, he deliberately ignored and contradicted much of the US’ traditional assumptions about the area.

Valentina Villa, Gli incontri ufficiali con la Regina Elizabeth II durante le presidenze Obama e Trump: elementi per un’analisi delle relazioni bilaterali

Abstract – The purpose of this essay is to outline the relatively recent history of official meetings between the British Crown and the United States Presidency from the end of the First World War to the present day. This is done in the belief that the analysis of public activity could contribute to provide some elements of reflection also on the state of health of the relationship between the two sides of the Atlantic. In addition to the general historical reconstruction of the visits, both in America and in Great Britain, a specific focus is provided to the period of the last two presidencies, Obama and Trump, particularly full of travels and meetings. During the two terms of Barack Obama, the indisputable good relations between the presidential couple and Queen Elizabeth II have helped to alleviate some difficult moments in the usual Anglo-American special relationship. Conversely, the hallmark of Donald Trump’s visits is undoubtedly represented by the massive popular protests against the President and the attempt to politicize those meetings.

Antonio Campati, «You are the élite». Donald Trump e la democrazia americana

Abstract – The ferocious attack that Donald Trump routinely makes on the elite has appeared as an unprecedented attitude in American political debate. But it represents only the last chapter of a history that dates its origins even to the end of the eighteenth century. Indeed, criticism of those at the top of political power is a constant (also) in the US political system. However, this attitude by the New York tycoon is not simply a déjà-vu but tends to undermine a fundamental assumption of Western democracy, that of representation, based on the «principle of distinction» between elected and electors. The objective of the essay is therefore to argue this hypothesis with reference to the transformations it could imprint on the liberal democracy.

Cristina Bon, “The Law and Order President”: il law enforcement di Trump nella gestione della protesta anti-razziale. Una riflessione storico-istituzionale

Abstract – In the Summer 2020, a wave of anti-racist protests began after the police-killing of an Afro-American citizen in Minneapolis and spread all over the United States. Many protestors engaged in looting and committed criminal acts against public buildings, police vehicles, and private businesses. Less than six months before the Presidential elections, and in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, the protests highlighted one of the most inconvenient truths of the American social system: a deep rooted institutional racism which has affected black-Americans since the origins of the Union. The containment of the protest consequently became the priority of both the Federal and States governments. This essay aims to analyzeing the Federal response to the protest and, in particular, the rhetorical, administrative, and constitutional tools used by President Donald Trump to contain both the initial demonstrations, as well as the long trail of popular dissent, which continued in June and resulted in open vandalism against historical monuments that symbolize slavery and white supremacy. Particular attention will be paid to the use of – or the threat of using –Federal force to deal with localized unrest, an issue that is linked to the broader theme of the extension of presidential authority in times of emergency. Finally, this essay will assess President Trump’s reaction to the protestors, arguing that even though Trump did not invoke the Insurrection Act, he employed a very similar response by exploiting both his role as Chief Administrator – that gives him the possibility to directly control the federal bureaucracy – as well as his role as Commander in Chief of the Dc National Guard. In this way, the President showed to his electoral base his support for the “law and order” rhetoric, without taking the risky path to resort to the use of military power according to the Militia and Insurrection Acts.

Julio Loredo e James Bascom, Trump, la religione, i temi etici, gli afro-americani: un punto di vista conservatore

Abstract – Like Ronald Reagan in the Eighties, Donald Trump has represented a President emerging more from a conservative environment than from the Republican establishment. However, while Trump is certainly a conservative, he is heterogeneous to the proper conservative movement. His positions on ethical issues are opposed to almost all liberal ones. He strongly condemns and tries to limit abortion and supports the role of religion in the public arena. An exception is his stance on LGBT “rights”, an issue on which he appears to be rather tolerant. Environmentalism certainly is not in his agenda, but his policies towards Afro-American appear more positive than might be expected. In any case, in internal politics, the United States appear sharply divided and even the broad consensus on fundamentals is questioned: the Right no longer accepts without discussion the principles of Enlightenment and the Left no longer rejects “socialism”.

Appendice Iconografica

Gli Autori

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