We’ve all been following the news to some extent. Indeed, we’re pretty much sick and tired of the debates, polls, “expert opinions”, and all that jazz. It was pretty much accepted fact that Hilary Clinton was the favourite in this race and Donald Trump was destined for a bitter defeat. The first black president was to be followed by the first female POTUS. It all seemed scripted. It all seemed too big to fail.
The media hounded Trump at every opportunity, snapping at his heels and laying bare his failing and hypocrisy, fact checking his lies, dispelling the myths. Then came the video tape scandal, timed to cause maximum damage to a campaign already reeling from poor debate performances.
In the end, none of this mattered as he steamed home to a close victory. Nevertheless, winning by a mile or a yard, is winning nonetheless. He got the vaunted “W” and we got grabbed by the crotch. The demagogue with seemingly no grasp whatsoever on various key issues got catapulted into power, carried to victory by millions upon millions of disgrunted voters whom Hilary had insultingly and perhaps decisively labelled as a “basket of deplorables”.
Now we move on to what really matters. How does the reality of a Trump victory affect you and me, and the rest of the world, for affect us it will without a shadow of doubt. When the most powerful country in the world sneezes, we all catch a cold whether it be on economic, military or political issues. Let’s try to analyze how this might affect different countries and regions as well as the planet as a whole.
- The EU & NATO countries
A Trump victory seems like an overall bad thing for Europeans. Not only has he suggested that NATO countries are not doing enough to secure their own borders, he seems to be advocating an isolationist policy that would see America retreat from Europe and turn its back to a security agreement that preserved peace. This will likely only strengthen Russia’s hand.
A Russia reeling with sanctions and the falling rouble might receive a boost from this. Trump has spoken in glowing terms of Vladimir Putin, but the latter will only feel emboldened to carry out his own plans in the sure knowledge that Trump will not exact further punishment on him for this. Where Barack Obama came across as weak, Donald Trump may come across as indifferent or even supportive.
A Trump victory is downright dangerous for Ukraine. In the past, Trump has suggested he might recognize the illegal annexation of Crimea and territories in the Donbass region. It’s fair to say that whereas Putin has a firm grasp of foreign affairs from the Russian perspective, as well as over a decade of experience, Trump is a former TV star with no experience whatsover. It is likely that Putin will be able to play trump like a violin, and the net result is not good for Ukraine.
4. Syria and Iraq
Trump has said he would go after ISIS, but to what extent and in what manner remains unclear. One will say anything to get elected. It remains to be seen whether Trump will have the wisdom to avoid repeating the errors of the past that got us into this mess. With the United States already involved in bombing campaigns in seven countries, one hopes that a Trump presidency will not add fuel to the fire.
5. South East Asia, Japan and South Korea
Suggesting that they fork out more cash to the US in return for security guarantees, Trump has rattled nerves across the region. Longtime allies South Korea and Japan will await nervously to see whether this rhetoric will translate into policy.
During the bitter presidential campaign, Trump ripped into China, accusing it of manipulating the yuan and beating America on trade. We all know that China undervalues the yuan but it will be interesting to see what Donald Trump does about that. In spite of everything, China will continue growing but may have to adapt to a more belligerent approach to its meddling with currency.
7. Mexico and South America
While wall building is unlikely to materialize, Trumps’ comments about Mexicans are unlikely to win him any friends in this region. We’ll have to wait and see how that plays out.
Justin Trudeau’s Canada will clearly be affected by this, probably with record numbers of Americans trying to escape the US. Canada could perhaps use this to its advantage somehow.
No worries mate, toss another snag on the barbie! Actually, if Trump pivots away from Asia and turns a blind eye to Chinese claims to South China Sea territories, this could weaken Australia’s hand.
Tiny Malta lives in a world of its own and yet ripples in the financial markets will find their way here too and could affect certain areas. In reality though, Malta’s economy has weathered past storms and could even benefit in terms of passport sales to Americans fleeing the States. In reality, Malta’s real battle is against land speculators and environmental desecration, which brings us to our last point.
Here’s a man who said that global warming is a Chinese hoax, a man whose sons are proud trophy hunters. With a world creaking and groaning under the feet of almost 7.5 billion people, we are desperately in need of leadership on environmental issues. China seems to be improving in this regard, but the election of Trump may spell bad news for us all in terms of further desecration of the biosphere that sustains us all. This may well be the beginning of the end, as the real fight for survival is not against terrorists, important as that particular challenge may be, but against the greed that threatens to pull the rug from under our very existence. In this regard, the election of Trump may well turn out to be the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.
The people have chosen. Democracy has once again as in Brexit delivered a huge “Fuck You” to the system and our expectations. We’ll just have to pick ourselves up and carry on, doing our best to do our best in a world that may change radically in front of our unbelieving eyes, or that might end up not changing all that much at all, in the hope that the orange tide now enveloping us does not rob us and incredulous future generations of the chance to build a better world.