I have learned that Iran sanctions are not new but was intensified (maybe/maybe not for good) by Prez Trump's administration. Relations with China too was with ups and downs if we see it historically.

Recently, Trump administration has imposed new sanctions on Iran.

Details and clarity: https://sputniknews.com/world/202011101081118836-us-slaps-new-iran-related-sanctions-on-four-individuals-six-entities/

And delisted East Turkestan Islamic movement from Terrorist List. This angered China!

East Turkestan Islamic Movement was listed by President Bush who was republican. This is relevant, please read till the end.

If I see things from a bird's eye view I feel:

  1. US had a gradual improvement in foreign relations with countries with which it didn't have very good relations in the past.
  2. Or, US improved situations where it needed.
  3. Or, destroyed what it needed to destroy. (Take the last sentence in a lighter note)

Media will give opinions. Russian media will have its own opinion. Chinese will have theirs. Others will have others.

Honestly, I wanted to ask "How would new sanctions imposed by a lame duck president hamper the new president in case of the USA?". If I did so, there was a good chance that it would have been deleted, so I am trying to make it appropriate. Tried my best! Change the body appropriately if necessary.

Does US' foreign policy depend upon the party or does it have a special board that recommends it what is best irrespective of the ruling party?

  • Ok. Understood, @Gary 2
    – Gregory
    Nov 10, 2020 at 19:00

2 Answers 2


The US foreign policy is decided by the President (and officials appointed by the President) and by the Congress. Both have certain powers, when they agree they can effectively make policy, and when they disagree the US decisionmaking is less effective.

The two major parties, Republicans and Democrats, have different priorities in foreign policy, but there used to be an understanding that both Democrats and Republicans are Americans first, partisans second. This bipartisan understanding was damaged in recent years.

Bush, Obama, and Trump were all against the current Iranian regime. They all see China as a strategic competitor. The question is only how much, and if they see other threats as more important. Bush and Obama both saw Russia as a strategic threat, with Trump one wonders.


The foreign policy of the United States of America is laid by POTUS and the Legislative Branch (US Congress). US Congress has the power of influencing US foreign policy as granted by the United States Constitution in Article 1, Section 8

...To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water; To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years; To provide and maintain a Navy; To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces; To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

Take for example at the time Woodrow Wilsen wanted to create the League of Nations after World War I which was revoked by Congress shows how powerful Congress is on matters about domestic and foreign policy. The Judicial Branch (SCOTUS) of the United States is rather powerless in dealing with "constitutional disputes" on foreign policy

The judicial branch is limited in how much it can arbitrate constitutional disputes over foreign policy, and it is often reluctant to.

POTUS has also the power granted by the US Constitution to ordain foreign policy as declared in Article 2, Section 2 of US constitutional law such as creating treaties, power of naming reluctant offices important to foreign policy... Take, for example, Mark Esper, United States secretary of Defense chief, who was fired by POTUS... Although the Senate has the power to decide ambassadors

The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices and he shall have the Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment. He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two-thirds of the Senators present concur, and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers, and Consuls, Judges of the Supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments. The President shall have the Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.




  • Thanks, but OM's answer looks more complete. I will tick that one.
    – Gary 2
    Nov 17, 2020 at 14:21

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