Panel III: Has the US foreign policy shifted under the Trump’s administration?

The President of the USA, Donald Trump, does not have a wide perspective when it comes to foreign policy, but his policy is based on instinct. At the same time, the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, would gain 60 percent of the votes if he were the candidate on the elections in Serbia. These are the messages from the third panel “Has the US foreign policy shifted under the Tramp’s administration?” in the framework of the eighth 2BS Forum taking place in Budva.

Speaking about the President of the USA, the former Minister of Defense of Serbia, Dragan Šutanovac, said that a couple of days ago he was listening to the manager of Trump’s campaign, Mr. Corey Lewandowski who, as he highlighted, almost convinced him that Trump is the best leader.

When it comes to the attitude of Serbia to the East and West, Šutanovac said that the Serbs have different opinions.

“Emotionally, we are leaning towards Russia and we would say that we love it the most, but, if you ask us where do we want our health insurance, the answer would be – the USA and  the Western Europe”, said Šutanovac.

He stated that Serbia is not ready to become a member of NATO as fast as the other countries of the region.

“Trump is led by instincts, he is a great businessman. I am a democrat, and the nationalists say – “Serbia first”, just like “America first.” But, if we had elections and if Putin were a candidate, he would gain 60 percent of the votes which is surprising” said Šutanovac.

Stating that the EU is the only choice for the region, Šutanovac said that all of us would become NATO member states, eventually.

Šutanovac commented the attempt of a third party’s interference into the political events in Montenegro and Macedonia:

“Serbia is under the real siege and fake news attacks.”

Concerning the question whether this fake news is from Russia, he responded:

“I think so. You would not believe what could be received from that source. We have one magazine with the headquarters in Russia and their influence is much stronger than the content produced by the televisions.”

As he said, he does not perceive a serious vision in this: “In this situation, we are like a pebble in a shoe, we obstruct every movement. We have long relations with the USA, it is something that should be considered and this way, we should cope with fake news.”

The Director of the Warsaw Office of the German Marshall Fund, Michal Baranowski, said that the pessimism concerning Trump is real, stating that the Trump’s administration nor the USA are like him.

“It is true that it would be good for us to be a strong actor on the security field and to have a good ally in the USA but we must consider the USA from that perspective. We might not like what Trump is representing but it is even worse when we think of the consequences of his rule – i.e. the undermining of his alliances, and NATO and the EU belong to them”, said Baranowski.

Baranowski said that they would approve if Joe Biden won the next elections, stating that his country would remain pro-American, no matter who is in the White House.

According to him, the biggest threat is the imitation of Russia by the other countries, which is a Putin’s success.

The Director of the Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement, Michael Carpenter, thinks that Trump does not have wider perspective concerning foreign policy, but that his policy is based on instincts. All of this is not good for human rights and democracy, as he considers. 

“Foreign policy should be in the hands of professionals”, said Carpenter.

He thinks that the American foreign policy was based on a strong transatlantic relation.

Carpenter said that the relations of Serbia with Russia are acceptable, but, they should not be combined with the aggressive Kremlin policy.

“Do they see the foreign policy of this country which is clearly manipulating?”, asked Carpenter.

The Counsellor in the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Selmo Cikotić, says that the USA should think of an alternative for their benefit.

“It is natural for us to have reasons to believe that our connection in the region is a guarantee for a stability in the Western Balkans. And that is why the interventionist role of the USA is expected in all of this. That intervention of the USA has been the best since the period of the Cold War.”, said Cikotić.

As he said, NATO is seen as the only efficient concept.

“Whenever a problem appears, NATO is the only one that can solve it.”, he highlighted.

While commenting the presence of the Russia in the region, he said that they do it with a very few investments.

“There is no simple approach. In all of the nations in the region, there is the attitude that Russia is a great nation that participated in the creation of the civilization, which is true, but when the crisis emerge, you will always find some radical element from Russia.”, said Cikotić.

He said that the investments from Russia would not bother Bosnia and Herzegovina, but the problem is that the President of the Republic of Srpska, Milorad Dodik, is inclined towards Moscow. 

“We have the economic trade with Russia which was the smallest for the entity that he represents” says Cikotić, while assessing that the geopolitics of the Western Balkans is particular. To the question concerning how much we should be worried about the presence of “the soft Russian power”, Šutanovac responded that the influence of Russia is not rational.

“There were zero donations from the East, but they had better PR. When we had a fire, there were the airplanes from Russia to extinguish it. They acted faster than the USA, since we have the procedures there”, he said.

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Panel III: Has the US foreign policy shifted under the Trump’s administration?
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