During the Cold War era, American president’s actions were largely driven by the practicalities the international situation rather than ideology. Vietnam had a very large impact on American political thinking due to the cost and unpopularity of the war.
Partly in response to this, Richard Nixon came up with the “Nixon Doctrine” which said that whilst America would support allies, it would not take disproportionate responsibility for another nation’s problems. In other words they would look after America first and other countries had to do their fair share.
One of Nixon’s relatively junior administration officials was called Roger Stone, who went on to have a long political career. Stone remained a loyal follower of Nixon long after the Nixon presidency, reportedly even getting a Nixon tattoo recently.
The same Roger Stone seems to be a close political adviser to Donald Trump. Now Trump’s foreign policy seems to be acting in America’s own interests first, openly calling for allies to do more of their fair share in tackling their local problems.
So Trump’s foreign policy appears to be very close to the Nixon Doctrine as shaped by the war with Vietnam.
Text: Colin Blackwell