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An ‘America First’ Foreign Policy: The Rhetoric and Reality

22 February 2018 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm

Chatham House, London


Bruce Jones, Vice President and Director, Foreign Policy Program, Brookings
Chair: Dr Jacob Parakilas, Deputy Head, US and the Americas Programme, Chatham House



How is Donald Trump’s ‘America First’ principle influencing the decision-making of his administration, particularly in its approach to foreign policy? One year into his presidency, how much of President Trump’s rhetoric has translated into shifts in American foreign policy?

How has policy in key regions – including Europe – changed, and what does this mean for America’s status on the world stage? Trump, in his first year, has abandoned the Trans-Pacific Partnership, left the Paris climate change agreement and revisited NAFTA - what can be expected of Trump’s foreign policy agenda going forward?

Bruce Jones assesses the balance between Trump’s rhetorical rejection of some central tenets of the traditional American foreign policy approach and a degree of continuity in real policy, and assesses the significance of this for America’s international role.

The president’s recent speech at Davos reinforced his adherence to a protectionist trade policy and his rejection of elites but were there any indications of a change in his foreign policy priorities? And following a tumultuous year for Trump domestically, what are the potential international flashpoints that could further test him in 2018?

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