In Donald Trump: The Making of a World View (I.B. Tauris & Co Ltd, 2017), noted UK-based historians Brendan Simms and Charlie Laderman argue it’s a grave error to see Trump’s foreign policy views as impulsive and inconsistent, or believe that they were improvised on the campaign trail and now in office. They also explore how Trump’s foreign policy views aren’t new in American history, but are based on beliefs deeply rooted in U.S. history.
Economic Nationalism vs. Globalization
Drawing on extensively documented Trump interviews, tweets, articles, and books from as far back as 1980, the authors reveal that Trump’s world view has been consistent on international trade and America’s alliances, but instead of Europe and Japan being the nations getting the better deal – or a “free ride” in the phrase Trump used in the 1980s – today it’s China. Trump’s resistance to globalization is also extensively cited over the decades.
A Tradition of Blame
Similarly, the authors detail how one aspect of Trump’s foreign policy rhetoric has been a long-standing tradition of American politics – blaming all of America’s current problems on the mistakes or “bad deals” of its leaders. They list extensive examples of how American politicians have leveraged popular support by promoting the simple belief that in a complex world, any problems the U.S. faces are the result of the mistakes of previous leadership.