Trump’s Impact on Nuclear Proliferation

November 18, 2020 ☼ trumpforeign-policynuclear

Source: Just Security - Link

Donald Trump has never been known for his visionary foreign policy and yet his presidency will leave the world transformed. In an age of disinformation, the precise nature of the changes he has brought about in global affairs can be elusive, particularly when those changes have resulted from his administration’s clandestine negotiations with Russian officials and businessmen. While America has been focused on the ways in which the Kremlin interfered to support Trump in the 2016 election, too little attention has been paid to what Moscow intended to get out of a Trump presidency or indeed what they got.

From the earliest days of the campaign right up until the present day, Trump and his associates have tried to conduct foreign policy through the genre they know best: the business deal. Since they didn’t use the usual government channels for foreign affairs, unless we have official investigations we won’t know exactly what transpired in these dealings. But there is one area — nuclear energy — in which it seems clear that Russia stands to benefit from these transactions at the expense not only of US interests, but also those of Ukraine and of global nonproliferation more generally. This could present serious challenges to any attempts the Biden administration might make to reconstruct a stable nonproliferation regime.