Donald Trump and the World – IR Today Editorial

Following on from our previous posts showing you KCL reactions to Trump’s victory, here are our respective editors’ reactions and thoughts of what the Trump presidency may mean for the rest of the world.. 

Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump Holds Election Night Event In New York City


East Asia and the Pacific – Kaeshini Sivananthan


“The natural response for Asia will be to integrate more internally. If there is to be no TPP then regional trade liberalization agreements will need to be pursued. This will encourage and be encouraged by a strategic retreat by the US from Asia, which has been perhaps the most worrying signal from Trump the campaigner. In Asia, Trump’s victory may be an important geopolitical win for China; as for Russia in the European sphere. Large economies like China, India, Indonesia, Japan, and the Philippines with sufficient domestic demand and resources could be less negatively affected by rising trade barriers. China would, however, have to hasten its ongoing economic recalibration, which may not be a smooth process. And all economies’ potential growth rates would be to some extent reduced by a weakening of the trade-based impetus to improved efficiency.”


South Central Asia – Ruk Sarda

“For South/Central Asia Trump presidency could mean several things, (there’s no official Trump policy on the region yet)! It’s not a good sign for Pakistan, Afghanistan and Muslim countries in the region. Trump has called Pakistan ‘the most dangerous country in the world’ and there’s strong feeling that Pakistan will suffer under Trump, especially with Muslim immigration bans to the US. India on the other hand will likely have good relations with the US. PM Modi has welcomed Trump and would actively encourage a firm stance against Pakistan. Trump has also stated his desire to review the visa system, stating he wants to keep those Indian students that go to the US to study.”


Europe – Adam Holub
“It is difficult to speculate on the implications of the rule of Donald Trump for Europe as he has never coherently articulated his foreign policy. At the moment, the important thing is to watch out for who will head the offices in Trump’s cabinet that have influence on the formation and execution of FP. We can at least speculate on what’s at stake, though. NATO and the EU: among the scares is the suggestion that Trump’s presidency could cast doubt on the fundamental assumption of this collective security organisation which is the undisputed commitment of the USA to the protection of its members. Newt Gingrich, a man who might become the Secretary of State, has famously declared that he’s not sure he’d “risk a nuclear war over some place which is the suburbs of St. Petersburg” when referring to the sovereign baltic country and a NATO member Estonia. This would mean that the leaders of European countries would have to start thinking about the enhancement of their own defence capacities and perhaps even more autonomous and more exclusively continental collective defence coordination, perhaps within the existing European institutions. Russia: The Russian president has welcome Trump’s election with hopes for improvement in the relations between the two countries. It is yet to see to what extent is this alleged change in the direction of US-Russian relations wishful thinking or political PR on the side of both men. However, in the context of the above suggested loosening of the NATO umbrella, the Russians could face significantly less opposition regarding their activities in Eastern Europe and in some cases even support: the recognition of the Russian annexation of Crimea could be on the agenda, we will have to watch out for the lifting of the sanctions among other things as well. UK: Finally, much attention should be paid to the relations between the UK and the US. The UK has put itself in a special position by deciding to depart from the EU and the US will have to play a necessary role in its adaptation to the post-EU situation. Far from being securely settled in her office and while being under the threat of an imminent general election, Theresa May has already tried to set her own premiership in a tune resembling Trump’s alleged emancipatory mission for the forgotten and those left behind. It’s too early to say but “ceteris paribus” I do see a potential for a interesting partnership there. Anyway, now is time to wait and pay attention to details, the situation is far from clear.”


Middle East and North Africa – Tabby Urban

“For the MENA region, the Trump presidency can mean a number of different things. For one, it could mean less interference due to Trump’s focus on domestic policies, although he has also vowed to destroy ISIS through military means in the region. If he heads down the more isolationist route regarding foreign policy and intervention, this could leave a vacuum of foreign influence, one which Russia seems more than happy to fill. On the issue of Iran, Trump has openly condemned JCPOA, which could threaten the US relationship with Iran, but it could also open the door to prosperous “back room” diplomacy, outside of the international spotlight. At present, it is not clear which route Trump will take, but his presidency has the potential to prove advantageous for MENA leaders such as Assad.”


Latin America – Paula Aghon

“Trump’s victory has already started to have an impact in the Latin American region, so the 4 years to come could bring about many changes. The Mexican peso suffered a historical drop, and with Trump’s constant attacks against NAFTA, the future of relations between the US and Mexico is unclear. As part of his campaign, Trump vowed to place high tariffs on imported goods from the country, and to block remittances until Mexico pays for the wall, as well as vilifying Mexicans by calling them “rapists” and “bad hombre(s)”. So, its safe to say relations are tense, but President Peña Nieto hopes they can work together in this “challenge”. For the rest of the region, Trump’s presidency comes at an important time of political change. Argentina, Brazil, and Cuba amongst others, have shifted towards more friendly and open relations towards Washington, pushed by President Obama. Trump has previously threatened to reverse Obama’s deal and advances with Cuba, but has also claimed he is in favor of normalizing relations between the two. Once again, his policies haven’t been very clear, so this is also unclear. Overall, putting asides the economics and politics, Trump’s rhetoric has already had and will continue to have a great impact on the perceptions of Latinos in the US. Throughout his campaign, there have been numerous incidents of attacks and intimidation directed towards Latinos. Hard working immigrants and even natural born citizens of the US with Latino heritage will face even more discrimination and hatred because of false and careless accusations made throughout the elections.”




Africa – Juline Wiernasz

“Africa is a continent that the new occupant of the White House seems to know poorly. One of the few similarities between Hillary Clinton’s program and Donald Trump’s program was the little space they gave to Africa. But on the Republican side, to the lack of interest can be added a great ignorance of the continent. Africa has therefore not been a priority of Trump’s campaign, which focused mainly on the American economy and the relocation of its industries in South America and Asia. Nevertheless, a few points can be noted. An isolationist president could arrange the affairs of some African leaders, especially those looking to play extra time in power and who could not stand the moral lessons of Barack Obama. Several have already expressed their satisfaction about Trump’s victory. As for the economy, the new president might be less burlesque in business than in front of the American people. Walid Phares, one of Trump’s advisors on international policy issues, told Voice of America in August that the United States would show solidarity with African countries. Moreover, the political platform of the Republican Party notes the “extraordinary potential of Africa”, advocating for closer ties with “African allies” by “investment, trade and the promotion of a democratic and free market “. A program which also calls for strengthening economic and military cooperation with countries “under the assault of terrorism”, quoting Boko Haram or Al Shabaab. However, not a word of Power Africa, the vast plan of electrification of sub-Saharan Africa that was encouraged by Barack Obama. As for Muslim Africans, if Trump keeps his promise of a complete halt to the entry of Muslims into the United States, millions of Africans will have to be banned from the US. It is thus difficult to predict the African policy of the future president. In this matter as in others, uncertainty hovers.”


North America – Nico Seidman

“The U.S. president elect definitely holds most power at home. With both the House of Congress and Senate controlled by the Republicans, passing laws will be easier than for Obama, as will undoubtedly appointing Supreme Court Justices. First on the agenda for President Trump will be repealing Obamacare, taking away affordable healthcare from over 15 million people. Next we expect late Antonin Scalia’s spot on the Supreme Court to finally get filled, and quickly enough at that. Sarah Palin is currently being considered for Secretary for Education, so don’t hold your breath for the U.S. school system to improve any time soon. Meanwhile, Trump has exclaimed that “we need more fighter jets, ships, and soldiers.” Because spending more than the next 7 countries combined to fund your military is not enough, Mr Trump plans to increase this. Finally, the Canadian immigration website crashed around the time it became clear who the winner was on Tuesday night. Indeed, many Americans will be looking over the border wishing Justin Trudeau led their country. The Canadian prime minister did graciously congratulate Trump on his victory, yet predictions on U.S.-Canada relations don’t look much better than others, as Trump has been advocating scrapping NAFTA, the free trade deal between the two countries that facilitates $1.8 billion on a daily basis.”


Mass Media and the Press – Andrei Popoviciu and Millie Radovic

“Yet again the pollsters have failed to predict the outcome of the voting. This brings the question of whether they need to reconsider their techniques or whether this wave of populism is simply one that the mainstream media cannot quite adapt to yet, and that they instead need to reconsider their outlook on the Western political landscape. Sensationalism certainly peaked during the presidential race, bringing into question of whether our media is deteriorating or whether it is changing to represent a larger portion of society. As for the future of the press, Mr Trump is accustomed to removing journalists from his press conferences, so needless to add President Obama may have been right when he joked that this year’s White House Correspondents Dinner was the last. His press secretary will certainly have an interesting and difficult job, yet we wonder whether his aides will give him back his Twitter account.”



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