Wednesday, November 16, 2016
Yuba Nath Lamsal
Against all odds and pre-poll predictions, Republican Donald Trump has won in the presidential election defeating his rival Hillary Clinton of the Democratic Party. Although Hilary Clinton secured more popular votes than Donald Trump did, Trump was declared victorious due to the US electoral system. His election victory has definitely surprised many both in the United States itself and in the world. His victory has proved all pre-election opinion polls wrong as most the exit polls had portrayed Hillary as the most possible winner. American voters chose Trump better than Hilary Clinton to run the country for at least another four years because they were fed up with the eight years of Democrats' administration.
Now Trump will take over the presidency of the United States on January 20, which will mark the end of eight year rule of the Democratic Party and beginning of the Republican era in the world's most powerful country. Now the White House under Trump is expected to be tougher in several international issues and also some domestic matters as the Republican Party, which is also known as the Grand Old Party or GOP, is considered to be a conservative, while the Democratic Party is viewed as a liberal one. The election was neck and neck only to have been slightly gone into the Republican favor as American voters wanted a change, although cosmetic because there cannot be significant change in domestic and international affairs despite the change of person and party in the US administration. There is a thin border between these two parties on policy issues except on tax matters. However, the United States administration under the Republican President is believed to be little more conservative in domestic front and hawkish in the international arena.
With Donald Trump being elected as the new president of the United States, the world seems to be a little anxious and also scary as to what implication and impact the policies and actions of the new American President would have on the global political and economic order. When any new American president takes over the White House, the world always becomes anxious to know policies and position of the new American executive chief as American policies have greater impact globally in various sectors and sections. So far, the American policies, under most of the presidents, have been more of continuity rather than a change in foreign policy and international affairs, except differences on rhetoric. However, the case with President-elect Donald Trump appears to be different as his remarks during the election campaign have definitely made the world more scary than anxious.
Given the economic size, military might and its global presence, the US politics and policies always leave distinct marks in the world. Campaigner Trump and President Trump will be definitely different and he, as president, will be more practical and pragmatic. But the world is still watching closely, seriously, anxiously and cautiously whether he would really meant what he spoke during the election campaign or his remarks were simply political rhetoric never to be put into action.
Some of the controversies Trump has raised during the election campaign include: raising a ten feet wall along the border between the USA and Mexico to check 'illigrants' (illegal immigrants) entering into the United Stated, eviction of all illegal immigrants from the United States, whose number is estimated to be about 11 million, sending his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton to jail for 'email scam', cutting financial contribution to UN, withdrawing from NATO, policy shift on Russia virtually allowing its greater role in the Central Asian republics and eastern Europe, designating China as a currency manipulator and 'punishing' it, and adopting protectionist policy on trade by raising tax on imports. These remarks have definitely raised concerns worldwide. Russia seems to be a little enthusiastic but still remains cautious only waiting to see what exactly Trump would do when he will assume the presidency on January 20, 2017. China is concerned and cautious by his remarks than any other countries. If his remarks put into action, they are likely to seriously hurt US-China trade and overall relations. US economy is closely tied with the Chinese economy and the vice versa and slight imbalance in trade with China will have serious impact not only US economy but also global economic order.
Perhaps realizing this, Trump appears to have toned down his earlier remarks after the election victory. After the election, against his promise to deport all illegal immigrant, he announced to expel only those illegal immigrants who have committed crimes and this will amount to about 3 million, which has given some sigh of relief to almost 11 million illegal immigrants living and working in the United States.
On issue concerning raising a wall along the US-Mexico border, he still seems to be firm and committed, although it will have negative impact on US-Mexico relations as Mexico has criticized these remarks. This will not only antagonize Mexico but will send negative message to the entire Latino community within the United States and Central as well as South Asian countries.
On the foreign policy front too, his views were a little weird which include relations with Russia, China and even other countries. If he really meant what he said during the election, the US relations and role with its allies in Europe and other continent, too, will witness change. Trump during the election campaign had said that the United States 'might not come to the defense of an attacked NATO ally that hadn’t fulfilled its obligation to make payments'. It sent shock waves to NATO countries, which many analysts call it a pro-Russian stance. However, he has remained silent on this issue after the election victory implying that campaigner Trump and President Trump will be and will have to be different.
He seems to have subdued his voice on China, too, as he spoke to Chinese President Xi Jinping recently during which he emphasized the need for cooperation with China on varied international and economic issues. His tune and tenor have been markedly different after the election victory, which indicate that Donald Trump's rhetoric and action will not match as he will continue to carry on the Republican Party foreign and domestic policy and he will not be fundamentally different in global politics and international issues.