Diao Daming: The U.S. Political Ecology and Donald Trump’s Foreign Policy

Author:Diao Daming Date:2017-11-06


On Oct. 30, 2017, the Institute of International and Strategic Studies, Peking University (IISS, PKU) held the 18th “North Pavilion Seminar” series, inviting Diao Daming to give a keynote lecture on the topic “The U.S. Political Ecology and Donald Trump’s Foreign Policy”. Diao Daming is an Associate Professor at the School of International Studies, Renmin University. The lecture was presided over by Assistant Prof. Gui Yongtao, Assistant President of IISS.

Mr. Diao firstly from the perspective of public opinion and Trump’s actions in running the country summed up the political conditions in the U.S. after the presidential elections. From the perspective of public opinion, the displeasure in the 2016 election has continued as shown by the overall opinion polls, but the Republicans and key groups have supported Trump in varying degrees. Compared with the previous Obama administration, Trump’s approval ratings are relatively stable, but there is also a tendency of increasing polarization.

Mr. Diao concluded that the key unilateral actions of Trump since he took office mainly include running the country with Twitter, running the country with administrative orders, and running the country with coteries. In particular, he pointed out that although the mainstream media in the U.S. are often misleading, Trump has a relatively stable position in the political circle of the Republican Party. Moreover, he effectively understands the political ecology of the U.S. and knows very well what he can achieve under this polarized condition.

Diao Daming believed that there are four major challenges in the current politics of the U.S., which are: the failure of policy ideas to effectively respond to public opinion, changes in the structure of voters, adjustment of the echelon of the two parties, and mobilization’s ever heavier reliance on social media. Future trends of party politics may change cyclically, and it is very likely that the year of 2016 is just the beginning of the long suspension of the current liberal cycle.

Based on summing up the internal affairs of the U.S., Diao Daming believed that the Trump administration’s foreign policy is the projection of the U.S. domestic party politics on foreign affairs, and it is more of a passive response. Depending on the importance of different interests, Trump may prioritize different concerns and then respond to them.

Finally, in the question-and-answer session, Diao Daming discussed and exchanged views with teachers and students present at the seminar on such issues as the features of the Trump administration, the U.S. policy toward China, and the U.S. withdrawal from multilateral agreements. (Contributed by Huang Xiaoting)

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