00:49 GMT30 March 2020
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US President Donald Trump during his first year in office has ceded control of foreign policy to neoconservatives and failed to fulfill his campaign promise to improve ties with Russia, former Assistant Secretary of State Department Chas Freeman told Sputnik.

    Saturday marks the first year anniversary of Trump's inauguration, the day he took office after winning an election campaign in 2016 in which he promised to work with Russia and avoid long-term military engagements abroad.

    "If there has been a success for anyone… this past year it has been that of the neoconservatives, who have largely taken over US foreign policy despite Mr. Trump's initial apparent hostility to them," Freeman said.

    Trump has faced unprecedented and although unsubstantiated accusations of being tied to Russia which have prevented him from acting to improve superpower relations during his first year in office, Freeman observed.

    "Anti-Russian hysteria, driven by a mixture of old habits of Cold War scapegoating and the unwillingness of [Hillary] Clinton to face up to her own inadequacies as a candidate, has blocked Mr. Trump from exploring cooperation with Russia," he said.

    As a result, Freeman said, Ukraine for example continues to fester while European stability and security remain in doubt.

    Internationally, Trump has carried out policies directed at disengaging the United States from institutions and alliances it created and long led, Freeman noted.

    "He has not sought to end the wars his predecessors began. Instead, he has yielded to the pleadings of his generals and continued these wars despite their having no plausible current purpose other than the avoidance of ignominious defeat," he said.

    Like his senior generals, Trump did not want to accept that the United States has lost its wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen, Freeman commented.

    "Concern about Mr. Trump's unpredictability and American unreliability under him has produced heavy hedging by America's allies, partners and friends in both Europe and Asia. The United States now has ever fewer committed followers abroad," he said.

    As his second year in office began, Trump seemed to have determined to launch a trade war with China to complement a cold war with Beijing which the US military-industrial-congressional complex has come to favor as a boost for the defense budget, Freeman remarked.

    "The result is that, instead of courting or seeking to work with China or Russia, the United States continues to push the two closer together," he said.

    Trump has gone out of his way to alienate Pakistan, despite its vital role in facilitating US logistics in support of Afghan operations, Freeman said.

    The US president has also "challenged Turkey on the Kurdish issue in ways that are drawing an armed Turkish response," he said.

    Instead of building on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran he had inherited from Obama, Trump was trying to tear it down over the objections of the other international signatories, Freeman remarked.

    "This is a record of which only a megalomaniac could be proud… A year down the rabbit hole and the prospect of another for my country," Freeman concluded.

    Freeman is a lifetime director of the Atlantic Council and served as US Deputy Chief of Mission and Chargé d’affaires at the US embassies in Beijing and Bangkok. He has also held several senior level positions at the US Department of Defense.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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    unreliability, unpredictability, anti-russian hysteria, policy, tensions, relations, diplomacy, cooperation, Chas W. Freeman, Donald Trump, China, United States, Russia
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