The surprise victory of the 70-year-old Republican candidate, Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States, was shocking for everyone in the country and abroad. Against all odds, predictions and media projections, the victory was a stunning blow to the popularity of Hillary Clinton.
The election rhetoric of Trump was alarming and scary while his election victory brings more concerns to the Americans and world at large. Trump brings with him the Republican majority in both houses of the Congress, House of Representatives and Senate, to carry out his reform agenda through legislative power.
Many observers equate Donald Trump with Narendra Modi of India in his radical ideas towards minorities and Michael Gorbachev in his process of decline of the Soviet Union. But Donald Trump is placed between his election rhetoric and reality of governance. His reform agenda is focused on migrants, minorities and economic adjustment and his 100-days reform program also include these issues. More alarming is the possible appointment of a special prosecutor for Hillary Clinton to probe against her emails. Unprecedentedly, the fearful Americans are on the streets against the victory of Donald Trump, who is seen as a revolutionary in the US social and political setup.
The world reaction to the victory of Donald Trump is equally worrisome. His closeness to Russia and isolationist approach towards Europe has created serious concerns for France, Germany and the EU, who have shown their concerns and uncertainties of his policies. His anti-China approach may trigger an economic war between the two and his opposition to the Iran Nuclear Deal may bring more chaos and anarchy in the already turbulent Middle East. Importantly, for South Asia, Donald Trump’s bias towards India and his rhetoric against Pakistan are being seen as difficulties ahead for Pakistan.
Though between now and his taking over the White House in January 2017, there are a lot of serious doubts and uncertainties, but based on the expert opinions and policy statements, an endeavor is made to benchmark Donald Trump’s future policy preferences and likely impacts in three areas; domestic, global and South Asia/Pakistan.
At the domestic front, the election campaign was unprecedentedly fierce and nasty; even the personal accusations and remarks were passed. The great American values of equality, freedom and liberty were greatly compromised, which exposed deep fault-lines in the US political landscape. Donald Trump’s appeal of ‘Make America Great Again’ studded with toughness against the immigrants, Muslims and minorities struck the right cord of ‘White American Supremacy.’ His victory was the win of ‘Americanism over Globalism’ majority of the white Americans voted for him and snatching a victory over Clinton by winning 276 electoral votes.
However, despite his victory speech of giving a healing hand by announcing that he ‘will be the President of all Americans’ people did not hide their frustration and came out on the streets in major cities chanting slogan against Donald Trump. So the first serious task is to unite the severely divided American nation. According to the New York Times, he has ‘to repudiate the outpouring of racist, sexist, xenophobic, anti-Semitic and homophobic insults and threats…’ Moreover, his plans for ‘economic nationalism’ through tariffs, tax breaks and immigration may push up the inflation, shift more money to the rich, and increase deficits and cost blue-collar jobs.
Lastly, his pledge to prosecute Hillary Clinton over e-mails issue by appointing a special prosecutor may divide the Republicans and Democrats further to the determent of American nationalism. Therefore, Donald Trump has to unite the divided America and take along all the Americans, if the ideals of American liberalism, equality and freedom are to be preserved in the country and promoted in the world.
At the global level, there are mixed reactions of jubilation and concerns. The Russians are upbeat and described Trump’s victory as ‘Great American Revolution.’ It is for first time after the Cold War that the Russian factor became prominent in the US election campaign. Remarks of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin during the campaign resonated in the massage of facilitation from Russia. Putin expressed the hope that their relations would come out of crisis and could address the pressing international issues for effective response.
However, the US European allies are worried and concerned over Russian factor in the US foreign policy, both in terms of current Russian inroads in Europe and Middle East, and the US ‘isolationist’ approach in the global affairs. Though German Chancellor, Angela Merkel ‘offered to work closely on the basis of common values’ but her cabinet colleagues have shown serious reservations. More serious concerns are raised by the French President Francios Hollande who stated that the American election opens a period of uncertainty and urges for European unity.
President of the EU Council, Donald Tusk and the EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker have expressed their concerns over migration, climate change and Russia. They stated that Trump’s victory has heightened uncertainty about Trans-Atlantic relations and called for greater unity among the EU. They also stated that no country could be great in isolation and asked the US to work together. Therefore, Donald Trump has to revisit his election campaign rhetoric and work with his European allies for global peace and security.
Regarding China, being himself a capitalist businessman, Trump knows the economic, financial and trade competition of China and its outreach to the world. Also, militarily China was being contained through the US allies during the Obama era, dwindled in the recent months after the Philippine and Malaysia sided with China. Though the Chinese leadership has welcomed the president-elect but it would be seen how the new president respond to the assertive China within the American continent and abroad; especially it would be a test case in the light of US isolating itself from its European allies and siding with the Russian leadership.
In Middle East, many leaders from Israel, Egypt, Turkey and Saudi Arabia have shown their desire to work closely with the new American leadership. However, the worrisome issue is Donald Trump’s pledge to scrap the Iran Nuclear Deal that had been questioned by many Congressmen. Though the Iranians are downplaying the issue by stating that they have many options available but it has given credence to the views of conservatives Iranians, who were opposed to the deal. Already the US Congress is rushing to block the Boeing aircraft sale to Iran after the election results. The Iranian support is important for the US security interests in Iraq, Afghanistan and against the ISIS. How the policy approach of Donald Trump unfolds for the region could jeopardize the US national security objectives along with the regional security environment.
For South Asia, there are three inter-related issues highlighted by Donald Trump during his election campaign; countering China, courting India and pressurizing Pakistan. If China is to be check-mated, India has to be courted and Trump has shown his clear indications towards working with India. This has put Pakistan in double trouble having anti-India and pro-China approach. Trump’s election slogans against Pakistan’s nuclear program, terrorism and role in Afghanistan are indicators of his policy approach towards Pakistan. Nonetheless, for Pakistan the very same factors are point of optimism that the US cannot ignore.
In the final analysis between now and January 2017 and between election rhetoric and realities of governance, a lot can change and happen. Analysts are hopeful that Donald Trump would be a changed man in the White House but apprehensions and concerns would continue to be heightened till the time he actually implements his reform agenda. Till then the Americans and the world at large are waiting with crossed fingers and fearful minds. Therefore, Donald Trump as the President of United States of America has to rebuild his image, rebuild American nation and rebuild his present and future allies for a peaceful and stable world order.