US: On the way to transition

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Saman Zulfqar

DONALD J Trump’s victory in the US elections has further enhanced the uncertainty and fears of the religious and ethnic minorities of the US. Mr Trump’s statements, speeches and interviews regarding domestic and international affairs created controversy at home and uncertainty regarding US’ relations with the rest of the world. It has also raised the concerns about racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia. The question that haunts people across the world is how global politics would be evolved and transformed in the coming years.
Mr Trump, a republican President-elect does not value US longstanding alliances and economic system. To him treaty obligations are always subject to renegotiations, in this regard, while renouncing free trade presented a seven point plan to rebuild US economy. He proposed to appoint smart and tough negotiators who could fight on behalf of American workers.
As for United States’ European allies are concerned, after Brexit they are passing through a difficult time. How EU is going to sustain its unity is the most daunting question faced by EU policy makers. Post 2017, French and German elections would be the defining factors in determining the future of EU, whether it would further split or maintain its unity. In case of fragmentation of EU, we may expect a replay of twentieth century balance of power struggle at the European continent with the resurging Russia and a detached United States under Trump presidency who questions the relevance of US foreign policy – alliance commitments. Along with EU, the future of NATO would also hinge upon US future course of action.
Mr Trump would inherit Obama’s legacy in chaotic Middle East, a Middle East worse than what was left by Bush and inherited by Obama, though both presidential candidate Republican as well as Democrat had assured to fight against ISIS. Though Mr. Trump earlier released his hundred days programme in which he pledged to cancel all unconstitutional executive orders issued by Obama including Syrian refugees programme. The president-elect Donald Trump’s rhetoric about the future of nuclear deal with Iran, situation in Iraq and Syria and relations with Arab allies of US needs to be given due consideration by Republican advisors. As his position was clarified by a high ranked republican after his first television interview since winning elections in which he talked about following a hardline immigration policy while building a wall between US and Mexico.
A Republican further clarified this stance to allay the concerns of immigrants by saying that US is not planning to form a deportation force but it is border that needs to be secured. Likewise, during his election campaign, Mr Trump has been critical to Affordable Care Act known as Obama Care, and had been pronouncing to amend, repeal or replace the act but after Trump’s meeting with President Obama, a republican Paul Ryan indicated a modified policy proposal that Mr. Trump would more likely keep some parts of the act rather than completely repealing it. Similarly Republicans need to clarify the Administration’s policies in future.
As regards, US policy towards South Asia, like previous administration, it would maintain strategic partnership with India, Indian right has been supporting the republican candidate who while addressing the event organized by Hindus praised Mr. Modi and showed his tilt towards India while Donald Trump has been critical of Pakistan and has referred to terrorist heavens in Pakistan many times and has questioned the Pak-US alliance and the aid that US has provided to Pakistan. Though President Obama’s presidency has been the most troubled era in Pak-US relations, the most challenging task for policy makers in Pakistan is to figure out what the Trump presidency would bring for Pakistan.
— The writer is a Researcher at Islamabad Policy Research Institute, a think-tank based in Islamabad