Since President Donald Trump took office in January, the U.S. has abandoned or threatened to quit several international accords under his "America First" policy. A pattern of disengagement from multilateral commitments has emerged. A foreign-policy doctrine of withdrawal casts profound doubt on America’s commitment to the intricate international system that the United States helped create and nurture after World War II so that countries could collaborate on issues that transcend any one nation.”

Here are some of the accords that Trump has abandoned or threatened:


  1. Global Compact on Migration: The US mission to the United Nations has  announced that the United States was ending its participation in the Global Compact on Migration. In September 2016, the 193 members of the U.N. General Assembly unanimously adopted a non-binding political declaration, the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, pledging to uphold the rights of refugees, help them resettle and ensure they have access to education and jobs. The Global Compact, based on the declaration, is due to be presented at the U.N. General Assembly next year. But the U.S. mission said the declaration contains numerous provisions that are inconsistent with U.S. immigration and refugee policies and the Trump Administration's immigration principles.
  2. UNESCO: Washington said in October it was pulling out of the U.N.'s Paris-based culture and education body, UNESCO, accusing it of anti-Israel bias. The withdrawal is to take effect at the end of next year, when the U.S. will establish an "observer mission" to replace its UNESCO representation.
  3. Paris Climate Deal: Trump announced in June that the U.S. will withdraw from the 196-nation Paris agreement on climate change and seek to negotiate a new global deal. Trump complained that the accord gives other countries an unfair advantage over US industry and destroys American jobs. The U.S. pullout will not take effect before November 2020. This means a future administration could rejoin it, and every other country is sticking to the pact, which means it remains the framework within which the world is going to deal with climate change.
  4. TPP: Within days of taking office, Trump withdrew the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which was billed as the world's biggest trade pact when signed in February 2016 with 11 other Asia-Pacific nations but not China. The U.S. pullout killed the deal before it could even be implemented. Trump pledged to negotiate bilateral pacts that would be more favorable to his country.


  1. Iran Nuclear Deal: In October, Trump withdrew his support for the nuclear agreement signed in July 2015 by Iran and the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council: Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States, plus Germany. The pact's fate is now in the hands of Congress, which may decide to break it by imposing new US sanctions on Iran, and Trump has warned that he may unilaterally quit it at any time.
  2. NAFTA: Trump has ordered a renegotiation of the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Mexico and Canada, which he has called the worst trade deal ever signed. Talks began in August but Trump has threatened to pull out of the pact and negotiate bilateral deals if his country did not get a fairer shake by the end of this year.
  3. Renegotiation of US-South Korea FTA
  4. United Nations: The U.S. president wants reform of the United Nations "bureaucracy," accusing the world body of bad management. Washington is the largest financial contributor to the world body. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley has stressed that Washington would continue evaluating its role in U.N. agencies.


  1. NATO: On the campaign trail, Trump called the North Atlantic Treaty Organization "obsolete" before qualifying his remarks and demanding that members of the alliance increase their defense budgets. Once in office, Trump caused jitters among U.S. partners by waiting almost six months before clearly stating his support for Article Five of the alliance's treaty, which states that an attack on one ally is an attack on all.
  2. Trade with EU: The U.S. president regularly denounces "protectionist" measures by the European Union and the U.S. trade deficit with Germany. Washington targeted Germany and six other nations in March with punitive anti-dumping duties on steel plates.
  3. TTIP: Talks, begun in 2013, for the proposed US-EU Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) have been suspended, but U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has made it clear that the U.S. side is only interested in a deal that would reduce U.S. trade deficits.
  4. WTO: The World Trade Organization (WTO) is also in the Trump administration's sights. At a July meeting of the G20 group of major economies, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin did not exclude renegotiating multilateral accords. Trump has said a border adjustment tax, which has been advanced by some Republicans to favor exports, could be a job creator. But it could also be at odds with existing rules under the WTO.

Other Actions

  1. Canceling the U.S. opening to Cuba . The Trump administration expelled 15 Cuban diplomats from the United States, pulled non-essential personnel from Cuba, and warned Americans not to travel to the island. Trump has placed some new restrictions on American travel and business ties to Cuba—restrictions, incidentally, that have yet to be implemented.
  2. Troop increase in Afghanistan
  3. Launched strikes against the Syrian government for using chemical weapons,
  4. Military campaign against ISIS in Syria and Iraq
  5. Escalating rhetoric about initiating another war on the Korean peninsula including military exercises, the deployment of missile-defense systems, and the use of sanctions to pressure North Korea into talks.
  6. US Statement on declaring Jerusalem capital of Israel and move of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem

Bottom Line: The Trump administration  has a very scattershot, not principle-driven, not ideology-driven foreign policy

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