It’s a stunning upset. Nobody got it – the pollsters didn’t, the journalists didn’t and probably most governments across the world did not expect it either. Except maybe for the Russians.
Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States of America.
As Trump gave his acceptance speech the world geared up to deal with him. As much as Trump’s domestic policies were doubted for, his foreign policies are even more so – due to his own lack of experience and expertise as well as the team of foreign policy advisers that he has surrounded himself with.
As reported in the South China Morning Post, only one familiar name stands out as being relatively experienced in Asian affairs: Peter Navarro
While Navarro, a 67-year-old professor of economics and public policy at the University of California, Irvine, is a member of Trump’s economic team, he is also believed to be the campaign’s most influential figure on Asia policy.
Donald Trump for his part, sent out a mature message in his winner’s acceptance speech – his first as the President-Elect, “We will double our growth and have the strongest economy anywhere in the world. At the same time, we will get along with all other nations willing to get along with us. We will be. We will have great relationships… I want to tell the world community that while we will always put America’s interests first, but we will deal fairly with everyone, with everyone.”
Almost simultaneously as Trump gave his speech, the US Consulate in Mumbai sent out a press release on the results of the election to journalists in the city.
The interesting part was, “The ties that bind our two countries together are built on our shared democratic values, and go beyond the friendship of the American President and the Indian Prime Minister. They go beyond the economic and people-to-people ties. The U.S.-India relationship is vitally important, it is bipartisan, and it is only growing stronger. Here’s to another four years of robust U.S.-India Dosti.” A message that spoke of continuity in the bilateral relationship of India and the U.S.
This message of continuity though seems to be more a message of reassurance that even though the U.S. has an unknown entity occupying the Oval Office, the work that was done before will not be reversed.
This because India too has been on the receiving end of Trump’s flipflops – we have occasionally been exalted by the Republican President-elect especially in relation to much reviled Pakistan. “It is very much against my grain to say that, but a country — and that’s always the country, I think, you know, we give them money and we help them out, but if we don’t, I think that would go on the other side of the ledger and that could really be a disaster,” Trump said, without explaining what that disaster would be.
At the same time, if you look at India and some of the others, maybe they’ll be helping us out, because we’re going to look at it. We have many, many countries that we give a lot of money to and we get absolutely nothing in return and that’s going to stop fast,” Trump had said in April this year.
Though Indian business were recently blamed for stealing the jobs of Americans by Trump during the fag end of his campaign.
But, this message of reassurance from the US State department also addresses the many strong statements that have been made by Donald Trump during his campaign on foreign policy issues that he seemed to stand on the opposite end of argument on the U.S. government’s actions – China, Syria, Iran and Afghanistan to name a few.
Here’s a look at Donald Trump’s foreign policies on the day of his election:
Radical Islam: Trump has pledged to revamp the U.S. strategy against Islamic State. He has given few details of his likely approach, but he said he would ramp up military action against the terror group. He has suggested the U.S. join forces with Russia to confront Islamic State, which isn’t a member of the more than 60-member coalition against the extremist group.
China: Trump has made criticism of China a centerpiece of his message on the campaign trail, particularly as it relates to trade. Trump has accused China of devaluing its currency, stealing American jobs and trying to test the U.S’ patience. But Trump has also questioned the need for a big U.S. military deployment in Asia. The U.S. has 28,500 troops stationed in South Korea and has significant presence in Japan.
Iran: Trump has been one of the loudest critics of the Iran nuclear deal which removed sanctions against the country for halting its nuclear-enrichment process. He promised to “tear up” the U.S.-led nuclear deal with Iran, which took effect earlier this year. That could cause considerable uncertainty if he takes steps to try to unwind U.S. commitments to the accord.
Afghanistan: Donald Trump has used harsh language to describe Barack Obama’s handling of the Afghan operation but this country too has seen him change tracks . “Unfortunately, it may require boots on the ground to fight the Islamic State. I don’t think it’s necessary to broadcast our strategy. (In fact, one of the most ridiculous policy blunders President Obama has committed was to announce our timetable for withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan.)
Trump said the US was right to invade Afghanistan after the September 11 terrorist attacks–a reversal of his position earlier this month when he called the war a “mistake.” Trump said on October 6 that he believed entering Afghanistan was a mistake and worried about U.S. forces getting stuck there. “At some point, are they going to be there for the next 200 years? It’s going to be a long time,” Trump said, when asked about Afghanistan. “We made a terrible mistake getting involved there in the first place. We had real brilliant thinkers that didn’t know what the hell they were doing. And it’s a mess. And at this point, you probably have to stay because that thing will collapse about two seconds after they leave.”
Trump first signaled his backtrack when he said Afghanistan is “where we should have gone,” meaning the US should have focused its attention on Afghanistan over Iraq.