By Javad Heirannia

Ex-Congressman sees no major foreign policy shift under Trump

January 22, 2017

TEHRAN - Former U.S. Congressman James Charles Slattery says he remains hopeful that there will be no serious changes in U.S. foreign policy under President Donald Trump, who officially took power on Friday.

“It is going to be difficult for a period of time to know exactly what policy is going to be.  But I remain hopeful that Trump will not make many serious changes in U.S. international policy,” Slattery tells the Tehran Times in an exclusive interview.
The former congressman calls Trump a “unique character who believes in communicating directly to the people without filter through the twitter world."  
Following is the full text of the interview:
Q: Trump has been critical of NATO, calling it obsolete and insisted he will only help members that pay their “fair share”. Do you think that relations between the U.S. and fellow NATO members will undergo changes during the Trump presidency?

A:  It is appropriate for President Trump to remind the NATO members that they do have an obligation under NATO agreement to spend approximately 2% of their GDP on defense.  Most are failing to do this.  They are no longer destitute countries.  Today many EU countries are just as well off economically as the U.S. and should be contributing more to the defense of Europe during this time of rising alarm about Vladimir Putin’s intentions.   I believe that NATO could become stronger in the next few years depending on what Russia does in Ukraine and in Europe.
NATO will survive the Trump presidency but we may have some difficult conversations with friends.  General Mattis, who will be secretary of defense, is a strong supporter of NATO.

Q: Trump has promised to abandon the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal and this has unnerved certain U.S. major trade partners and allies including Japan. What is your prediction?
A: The TPP will probably be renegotiated in the next few years and will ultimately be approved.  Trump and his team will soon figure out how important the TPP is for Asia.  I think the Trump team will also conclude that it is a good agreement for American workers and businesses and good for the countries of Asia.

Q: Trump has said he is seeking a renegotiation of the hard-won nuclear deal between Iran and great powers. What do you think of him?
A: I remain hopeful that Trump will also recognize that the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA) is also in the best interest of the P5 plus 1 and Iran and Israel.  When he reviews his options he will surely conclude that revocation of the JCPOA would be dangerous for our allies, Israel and the region. General Mattis has been highly critical of Iran since 1983 when U.S. Marines were killed in the bombing in Beirut.  … he has grievances with Iran but he has also indicated that the JCPOA should not be rejected by Trump.  There is growing indication even in Israel that the Iranians are complying with the JCPOA and that the U.S. and her allies should recognize this and make sure they comply with the JCPOA as well.   

Q: Does Trump’s criticism of China and his overtures toward Taiwan indicate a change in Sino-U.S. relations?
A: I don’t think Trump will throw the two-China policy away when he becomes president. He understands how complicated this part of the world can be.   
 Finally, Trump is a unique character who believes in communicating directly to the people without filter through the twitter world.  It is going to be difficult for a period of time to know exactly what policy is going to be.  But I remain hopeful that Trump will not make many serious changes in U.S. international policy.   
Let me conclude by observing that few people know exactly what Trump will be doing. But I believe he is surrounding himself with some first class advisors who will ultimately conclude that most of U.S. policy is stable and make sense.  

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