Donald Trump's international policies, if he has any or if they can be called policies, are diametrically opposed to Theodore Roosevelt's, who was famous for "speaking softly and carrying a big stick."
Trump himself is a threat because of the chaos of his presidency, his unpredictability, his narcissism, his reactionary policies, his corruption and his copious lies. But his threats, especially regarding the military, are not dangerous because in the end they are empty. He talks but never acts. The United States' enemies know it, and its friends and allies suffer as a result of it.
The White House's careful reaction to the attack against Saudi Arabia, which halved its oil production capacity, is the latest episode of the United States' increasing disengagement from global security. The president shouts, insults and intimidates his enemies, but then he has no problem sitting with them and trying to reach a deal, if possible about trade.
The ongoing crisis between Iran and Saudi Arabia ends a 75-year period of history in which Washington guaranteed Saudi Arabia's security, and [Saudi Arabia] provided Washington with the oil it needed for its economy to function. Now, the United States is closing the umbrellas of protection it opened during this long phase so its allies around the world would be protected − the Korean Peninsula, Afghanistan, Europe or the Middle East − and instead, the country is determined to reach agreements that benefit its trade and its industry.
Trump boasts, but he does not want war. Should he have to use his troops outside of his territory, his ideal is that it is for payment. Trump's international mercantilism has led him to filter out of his ranks practical diplomats, military men worried about deterrence and hawks like John Bolton, willing to declare war every day. Only his secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, [remains], Mike "yes sir."
Trump dreams of a meeting at the summit with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, where he can demonstrate his talent for making deals after doing everything to reach the current level of escalation of the drone war. Benjamin Netanyahu's electoral weakness and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's decline allow it.
Always strong with the weak and weak with the strong. He barks, but he does not bite.