What is it about?

The article shows that Trump has complained for decades about foreign governments' disregard for America's international status. More than anything else, this conviction drives his thinking and feeling about foreign policy, including his transactional approach to international trade.

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Why is it important?

Trump's deep-seated resentment about foreigners' habitual disrespect for the US best explains why he stubbornly sticks to emotional policies that contradict key American interests.


I think that Trump's obsession with status and respect derives from his obvious narcissism and (as I have argued in another article) that it was shaped by his early acquaintance with New York machine politics and organized crime. In essence, he transfered his experience in clientelistic micro-politics to the international level. Therefore, he has an agonistic understanding of status and respect which exaggerates the importance of toughness and "winning".

Reinhard Wolf
Goethe-Universitat Frankfurt am Main

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Donald Trump’s Status-Driven Foreign Policy, Survival, September 2017, Taylor & Francis,
DOI: 10.1080/00396338.2017.1375260.
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