Toward a new model of democracy promotion for state and non-state actors: the conceptualization of the Donald Trump 'America first' foreign policy and impact on democracy and democratization process
The Trump presidency has come to an end, but academic debate on his ‘America First’ foreign policy is still in full swing. Academics who engage the subject either disagree that Trump developed a distinct foreign policy or agree that he did. Those who agree that he did, still disagree on the type and impact. Thus, the three key academic questions that underpin the Trump ‘America First’ foreign policy are: 1) How do we conceptualize the Trump ‘America First’ foreign policy? 2) What impact does it have on democracy and democratization? 3) How do state and non-state actors of democracy promotion respond effectively to this impact? This research makes conceptual and theoretical contribution to U.S foreign policy schools of thought and International Relations. It identifies five patterns in the Trump policy that provides the theoretically backed basis for re-conceptualization; 1) Pattern against international system/multilateral institutions; 2) Unilateral pattern; 3) Pattern against pro-democracy leaders; 4) Pro-Putin pattern; and 5) nick-naming/populist pattern. The study argues that a U.S foreign policy that displaces U.S stewardship of the international system and replaces the two main pillars of liberalism; multilateralism and globalism, with unilateralism and Americanism creates the conditions for global waves of autocratization and anarchy.