Will Trump Really Pursue Peace After Vatican Visit?

Written by Jon Rowe 24/5/2017

After visiting the Vatican yesterday, Donald Trump posted on Twitter that he was ‘more determined than ever’ to pursue peace. Trump was authorized a private meeting with Pope Francis, who is someone that he has clashed with in the past, during his current travels overseas. Donald Trump seemed overjoyed by the experience while Pope Francis seemed less enthusiastic about the meeting. Trump and Pope Francis have clashed over migration, climate change as well as the proposed wall on the border between America and Mexico.

Since becoming President, Trump has heightened tensions internationally, with both North Korea and Syria in particular. To some, Trump is on the verge of starting World War 3 so after having such an ‘inspirational’ meeting with Pope Francis, will Trump really pursue peace?

It’s probably important to consider what Trump means by pursuing peace first of all. To Trump, maintaining peace essentially means maintaining control and in maintaining control, Trump is prepared to initiate conflict and warfare, which are not directly ‘peaceful’.

North Korea

As everyone should be aware by now, North Korea have pursued a nuclear weapons programme for some years, under the leadership of dictator, Kim Jong-un. Since taking office, Trump has made it his mission to take action in response to Kim Jong-un, which has increasingly heightened tensions within the Korean Peninsula. Recently, it was uncovered that Trump had sent two nuclear submarines to the region and according to the New York Times, Trump told Rodrigo Duterte (the president of the Philippines) that the US had ‘a lot of firepower over there’.    

It is certain that North Korea is a key threat internationally but it could be argued that Trump has only acted to add fuel to the fire. Trump has previously said that a ‘major, major conflict’ is possible but that he would prefer to solve the conflict diplomatically. The fact that Trump would prefer to solve the situation diplomatically is encouraging and it is certainly more peaceful. However, I feel like Trump has acted only to heighten tensions so far, which is tremendously risky when we’re talking about the use of nuclear weapons. Millions of Innocent people will die and the effects of any conflict may be felt for many decades to come.  
I agree that the situation of North Korea is particularly difficult. The need to protect ourselves from any potential nuclear risk is important but I don’t believe it’s wise to confront the situation so aggressively. I believe that there are still other diplomatic options to explore and that the use of nuclear weapons should only be used as a last resort. It’s fair to say that Trump’s approach to North Korea so far, hasn’t been overly peaceful.


The conflict with Syria is more so directed at the Islamic terrorist group, ISIS, who have been responsible for some of the world’s most horrific terrorist attacks. Air strikes have been led by the US in Syria since September 2014, but the airstrikes of the past month have lead to the highest number of civilian deaths on record. Between April 23rd and May 23rd, 2017, 225 civilians were killed by the airstrikes, which included 44 children and 36 women. The strikes have taken place without the authorization of the Syrian government, who currently don’t have diplomatic ties with America.

The threat that ISIS presents to the world is undeniable. In recent times, we have seen horrific events in Manchester, Paris and Stockholm to name only a few. Putting an end to ISIS is necessary but difficult because they use guerrilla tactics and are often difficult to identify. The loss of innocent life as a result of the ISIS terror attacks is truly shocking and deeply saddening but the fact that US led airstrikes have also killed so many innocent Syrian civilians, is equally as shocking and saddening. Despite the fact that the strikes have successfully killed 122 ISIS fighters, killing innocent people is reckless.

Some would argue that peace excludes warfare but to Trump, maintaining peace is taking control in a military capacity and I can’t see that changing anytime soon. Sorry Pope Francis.

What are your thoughts? I welcome you to join the discussion in the comment section below.

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