100 Days of Trump: So what about our neighbors, friends and foes?
    Graphic by Savannah Christensen / North by Northwestern

    Aside from coining the term “bad hombres” when referring to illegal immigration, President Trump also had more specific plans for his first 100 days in office when it comes to national security. Par of that plan was his promise to work with Congress to restore the Community Safety Act and the National Security Act.

    After his 100 days as president, however, Trump hasn’t restored either. Some worry that Trump may have put the U.S. at risk of being bombed by North Korea and have threatened to cut ties with countries like South Korea if he doesn’t get the deal he wants.

    Decreased Funding for U.N. Programs

    First off, Trump has proposed drastic cuts in funds to the U.N. The U.S. roughly contributes $10 billion to U.N with more than $2 billion to its peacekeeping budget. The White House budget office estimated that U.N. funds could be cut by 50 percent, and the money saved is directed toward increasing military spending.

    These propositions are outlined in Trump’s budget, “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again.” The peacekeeping and U.N. Development Program – which focuses on initiatives like climate change amelioration, disaster resilience, democratic governance and peace-building – will likely be hit the hardest by the cuts. Fortunately, the budget leaves funding for prevention of diseases like tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS relatively intact.

    Trump’s proposal to decrease funding for U.N. programs by 50 percent would impede the accomplishment of U.N.’s mission — to maintain international peace and security. The budget cuts could deter other international organizations from trusting Trump’s commitment to human rights, according to Louis Charbonneau, United Nations director for the advocacy group Human Rights Watch.

    Combating International Crime

    After swearing in Jeff Sessions as attorney general on Feb. 9, Trump signed three executive orders focused on combating international crime. These three orders are arguably the most concrete steps in his proposed safety plan during his first 100 days. However, instead of working with Congress, the Trump administration and Sessions will be reevaluating existing laws and making recommendations to Trump for new regulations.

    Trump mostly focused on cracking down on transnational criminal organizations, specifically the ones that smuggle drugs and weapons into the U.S. The executive orders deal less with restoring the Community Safety Act and National Security Act, and more with the Immigration and Nationality Act. This act eliminated an earlier quota “based on national origin, and established a new immigration policy based on reuniting immigrant families and attracting skilled labor into the United States.”

    Nuclear Tensions with North Korea

    Trump’s fixation on North Korea can hardly be overlooked. Nuclear tensions with North Korea have grown, increasing the possibility of a nuclear war. In addition, Trump is getting impatient with China, another country entangled in the mess of nuclear and missile programs.

    In an interview with the Financial Times, Trump said “China has great influence over North Korea. And China will either decide to help us with North Korea, or they won’t...If they do, that will be very good for China, and if they don’t, it won’t be good for anyone.” Later on he added: “If China is not going to solve North Korea, we will.”

    The nuclear affair among North Korea, U.S. and China is everything but clear. However, just like Kim Jong Un, Trump knows how to launch a bomb. Earlier this month, Trump dropped the “Mother of All Bombs” in Afghanistan, targeting the Islamic State militants’ tunnel complex.

    Trump had previously favored an isolationist, “America first” foreign policy during his campaign, according to CNN. However, Trump has seemed to change his mind. Both he and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have been busy figuring out North Korea’s next move. “North Korea has to decide they’re ready to talk to us about the right agenda,” Tillerson said in an interview with NPR. “And the right agenda is not simply stopping where they are for a few more months or a few more years and then resuming things.”

    On the eve of Trump’s 100th day in office, North Korea launched another ballistic missile. According to CNN, this missile launch was “Pyongyang’s show of defiance.” The nation’s capital is home to its nuclear program, and Trump immediately called out North Korea for acting against China’s wishes.

    This leaves Trump and his administration with difficult decisions to make toward curbing North Korea. Trump told Reuters that “there is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea,” showing how he has yet to create a clear plan to ease relations with Kim.

    To assuage some pressure, Trump has threatened to eliminate the free trade deal with South Korea. Trump also wants South Korea to pay for Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD), a missile defense system that would protect South Korea and Japan from missile attack, whether it be from North Korea or other countries with nuclear weapons. However, South Korean Defense Ministry's stance seems to be pretty firm, stating that "there was no change to its position that the U.S. would bear the cost of THAAD deployment,” according to CNBC.com.

    Trump wasn’t able to check off the two legislative measures he hoped to accomplish in his first 100 days relating to national security. However, he did manage to complicate relations with North Korea. It's still left to be seen whether Trump will finally start understanding the concept of foreign policy, and whether things will change in the future.


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