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Introduction: Declarations from US Presidents since WWII have championed values as the linchpin for US national security and foreign policy, however, current Secretary of State Tillerson has been a vocal advocate for removing the ‘promotion of democracy’ from State’s mission statement as well as the separation of values and policy. Moreover, the nascent Trump administration has been open in its chagrin toward the State Department, diplomacy and multilateral fora in particular and has prioritised pursuing “constructive, results-oriented bilateral relations.” This line of thinking is a direct reflection of President Trump’s inauguration speech in which he declared that the US would not impose its values on others. The Secretary told a meeting of departmental staff in May 2017, that the “fundamental values of freedom, human dignity, the way people are treated” guide US policy, but they “are not our policies.” Tillerson declared that “sometimes values have to take a back seat to economic interests or national security.” The Secretary concluded that “interests come first, and then if we can advocate and advance our values, we should.” This approach raises several questions such as: will the US’s allies and partners follow suit; what will be the long-term outcome of an ‘overt’ separation of interests and values; and more importantly, can diplomacy, the core of Western-led global stabilization efforts, survive the ‘new’ norm?
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