Levitsky in Estadão de São Paulo: Fasten your seat belts, but no New World Order

January 26, 2017

After the election of President Donald Trump, many writers have sought to understand how his campaign promises will translate into policy. One such exploration, "Wandering foreign policy leaves world on alert," by Claudia Trevisan from the Brazilian paper, Estadão de São Paulo, looked to Ford School professor and former U.S. Ambassador to Brazil Mel Levitsky for his analysis.

As reported by Estadão, Levitsky emphasized his belief that Trump sees his controversial statements as a strategy to force American allies to contribute more towards international security and that the Trump presidency will likely be more focused on domestic policy issues, trade agreements, immigration, and his promise to reinvigorate American manufacturing and industry. "I do not think changing the world is one of their priorities," Levitsky said

Levitsky also told Estadão that he does not see Trump's vision for U.S. strategy in the Middle East as being too far off from that of the Obama administration—focused on fighting the Islamic State, strengthening relationships with Turkey and the Kurds, and pushing for Bashar Assad's removal from power in Syria.

One area that Levitsky did note great difference from previous administrations—as well as from most members of Congress and the U.S. national security community—was his views on the U.S. relationship with Russia. "Two-thirds of the Congress has a very negative view of Putin and of Russia's actions in the world," Levitsky said.

Quoting Bette Davis from “All About Eve," Levitsky offered, "Fasten your seatbelts. It’s going to be a bumpy night."

Melvyn Levitsky is a professor of international policy and practice at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and a retired career minister in the U.S. Foreign Service. He spent 35 years as a U.S. diplomat, including as ambassador to Brazil, executive secretary of the State Department, ambassador to Bulgaria, and deputy assistant secretary of state for human rights.