Tighten your seat belts! South Asia, along with much of the rest of the world, should get ready for a more muscular, business-like, and unorthodox foreign policy under US President Donald Trump. His team of security and foreign policy experts, many of whom have unorthodox backgrounds and credentials, will help him implement a more personalized and business-like foreign relations regime. Trump has wasted no time in seizing the opportunity to reshape US foreign policy to better define and align it with US interests as he sees them.

Other than his self-created crisis in dealing with refugees and immigrants from the Musllim World, two areas will demand Trump’s immediate attention: the war in Afghanistan and foreign aid.

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Americans may still be coming to terms with Donald Trump’s election victory, but more than 7,000 miles away, the wheels of India’s diplomatic machinery began turning soon after the November results.

Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval both visited the United States within a month of the elections with the intention of getting to know the incoming administration, but their meetings haven’t led to any clear indication of just what shape the India-US relationship will take over the next four years.

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Donald Trump’s election as the next president of the United States not only poses a threat to the American liberal-constitutional democratic order at home, but it also threatens to end the international liberal economic and democratic order that successive US administrations have built and promoted during and in the aftermath of the Cold War.

The three pillars of US foreign policy until now have been: (1) the building of a liberal economic order institutionalized through global rule-based regimes; (2) the provisioning of public security goods through a combination of lone defense of the global commons and military alliances with regional powers; and (3) the promotion of a liberal democratic-constitutional order globally. Trump’s tweets and utterances suggest that his administration is likely to upend all three of them.

If Trump goes through with the radical modifications that he has proposed, India will have to make significant adjustments in its foreign policy. Most will likely induce significant domestic pain for New Delhi.

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The changing dynamics of the energy landscape have undeniable geopolitical implications, said the United Arab Emirates’ Energy Minister, Suhail Mohamed Faraj Al Mazrouei, noting that his nation has made great strides toward establishing regional stability through the development of clean energy.

“In any geopolitical situation… you’ll find energy is either an enabler or an issue that you need to resolve,” Al Mazrouei said at the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Forum in Abu Dhabi on January 12.

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US President Donald Trump’s executive order that prevents refugees from around the world and citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States has triggered warning calls from critics about the damage it could inflict on US interests, values, and national security.

“The ban not only provides fuel for the radicals, but it also undermines American diplomacy, American business, and the ability of our military to operate abroad,” said Lawrence Pintak, a nonresident senior fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, where he focuses on the US relationship with the Muslim world and the media’s role in shaping global perceptions and policies.

“Trump just handed [the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham] a gift. Anwar al-Awlaki, the late American-born al Qaeda propagandist, predicted that one day the United States would turn against its Muslim citizens. In extremist social media chatrooms today, his followers are calling this a ‘blessed ban,’” he added.

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Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) sees order as a ‘gift’ to hardliners in Iran

US President Donald Trump’s executive order that curtails immigration and the rights of refugees is illegal, has “catastrophic implications” for the United States, and is a “gift” to hardliners in Iran as it paints all Iranians as a security threat to the United States, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) said at the Atlantic Council in Washington on January 30.

“This ban on immigration from Iran to the United States is a gift to the hardliners at a moment in which we should not be giving them gifts,” said Murphy, noting that it comes at a particularly delicate time for the moderates in Iran soon after the death of former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani on January 8. “This is a movement that does not need another body blow, and yet they got it,” said Murphy.

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European leaders must address the economic factors that have contributed to the rise of populism in the West and cater to their constituents who have been on the losing end of globalization, said George Alogoskoufis, a former finance minister of Greece.

Alogoskoufis contended that globalization is good for societies as a whole, but there are individuals who lose in this system. “Europe cannot go on ignoring the losers,” he said, because “the losses are real enough for those who suffer them,” and nationalist, populist movements target these disaffected people.

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While the US-Mexico relationship has been making headlines because of the political fallout from US President Donald Trump’s demand that Mexico pay for a border wall, it is important to consider Mexico’s role in global and regional energy markets as well as its energy relationship with the United States.  

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The ceasefire agreement recently negotiated by Russia, Turkey, and Iran preserves Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s grip on power, but the deal itself is significant because for the first time the key players, with the exception of the United States, have come to the table with an understanding that a political solution to the conflict is no longer a viable option, according to two Middle East analysts at the Atlantic Council.

“The idea of political transition in Syria is done,” said Faysal Itani, a senior fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East. “The opposition can no longer achieve political change through military action, or indeed through the negotiation process,” he said.

“There was never any way that that was going to happen unless there was military leverage used against the regime, because the regime was never going to agree to a political transition, nor has it ever pretended that it would,” he added.

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US President Donald Trump’s demand that Mexico pay for a border wall has plunged the US-Mexico relationship into an unseemly crisis, according to two Latin America analysts at the Atlantic Council.

“It is a troubling development for a relationship that has few parallels throughout the world,” said Peter Schechter, director of the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center.

On January 26, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto cancelled his visit to the United States and a planned meeting with Trump after the US president insisted that Mexico pay for the border wall. Peña Nieto has insisted that Mexico will not foot the bill for the wall.

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