Now that the world has figured out they are not going to wake up from the nightmare and that Donald Trump is actually President-elect of the US let’s get a few of the more important ducks in a row.
Many of us(myself included) have been dishing out scenarios these past three days where the crass, coarse clown suddenly enters the office and is imbued with a choirboy halo, soaked in good sense and turning into an overnight statesman.
Which is all very fine but what stops him from doing exactly what he said he would do?
There is no doubt he will dismantle Obamacare and bring it to a screeching halt. That it might make him unpopular loses out to toppling the Obama legacy, something he will do with determination and a certain rage which perhaps began when he was made the butt of biting satire at the White House Press Corps dinner not once but on three different occasions.
He may well order the building of a wall between the US and Mexico and send the bill to President Enrique Peña Nieto and also begin proceedings against 11 million Mexican illegals whom he believes are the fundamental cause of drugs and crime in the country, this being integral to a $166 billion 'America for Americans' package.
By the same token, he can up the ante against the Daesh and generate a miasma of fear and distrust against the Muslim community. What makes us think he will grasp sanity and differentiate between terrorists and a whole global entity.
The fact that his official website uploaded the call for a ban on the community from entering the US after it had been taken off for the better part of a day is an ominous sign.
We can hope he will not do it but hope is a weak and fragile defence and one should be ready to face the fact that he won on a platform of polarisation and divisiveness and he is not likely to see any further into the future than keeping his ‘so called’ election promises.
Yes, Indians and other Asians will be paying the price of their call centres being padlocked and if he takes the sledgehammer of immigration and locks the doors despite the long-term price he might have to pay in terms of intellectual loss and isolation there is no guarantee he will not bring maximum jobs back to America any which way.
Failure to deliver on the job front is something he cannot afford and he will make that the most important arrow in his quiver.
Getting into a university for Asians will be more difficult. Indians can keep kidding themselves that they are exempt from new rules but don’t put your money on it.
The one major advantage Indians have is they are not dependent on the US…not in deals where they have offered military bases, not in the purchase of arms that make them hostage to repairs and spare parts, not even in allowing US corporations over-leverage on Indian soil. As the two largest democracies in the world the possibility of Stand Up India and Start Up India have huge merit but will Trump see that…cannot be sure.
Indeed, locking horns with China in business and trade terms is very much on the cards. Beijing will be his first target. With him and Vladimir Putin best buds, there is a huge vacuum in the cold war sector and China is best suited for being the proxy.
You watch as he links up with Putin to create that ‘safety zone’ in Syria to stop the flow of refugees. There might even be boots on the ground and a pro-Assad agreement to which he will give a nod.
With Moscow, the first test of a newly reworked US policy will be reflected in Trump lifting sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine crisis. If he does that you can safely conclude the Big two are one.
He will definitely put the screws on the US companies that stash away $2.1 trillion to avoid taxes and tax those who manufacture through cheap labour abroad and sell their goods in America. Over 3,000 major companies are listed to be farming jobs abroad or getting work done in third world countries and saving on overheads.
Nafta is also on the ‘crushing’ list and cheap American grain moving to Mexico might just be the first commodity halted. We could also safely say that Nato may not retain its present shape for long and the Washington-Russian nexus would be sufficient military safeguard. If the other members don’t step up and cough up then the US won’t either.
The Trump administration will be inward looking and for a while, domestic policies will eclipse the role of global policeman. While that might be a relief since the expedient foundation of American foreign policy has ensured it has never been much of a success for nations who have unreservedly expected Washington to ride to their rescue when in peril may find themselves stranded and isolated.
Revenge is a dish that tastes best when served cold and Trump is likely dole out lashings of it.
There is also concern about his personal stands on social issues like the LGBT community, on abortion and racism including his now legendary status as a President whose ‘respect’ for women is suspect.
On all these issues he has dithered and swung more widely than a pendulum. He has been pro-choice (1999) anti-abortion (2016) anti-gay marriages (2011) then more conciliatory but still prejudiced (2016), pro-gun control (2000) and against further ‘check’ codicils (2015) so it is not easy to know what exactly he believes in at a specific moment.
Which is the scariest part of all? How do you make the meal if you don’t know which persona is coming to dinner?
First Published On : Nov 12, 2016 16:33 IST