S Qamar Afzal Rizvi
GIVEN the incredible result of US-election 2016, one of the thesis holds much conviction that this man, Trump US president-elect, emerging out of US political leadership crisis, seems to have masterly exploited the hidden frustration preserved in psyche of American public about Washington’s six decades old status quo. Despite losing a popular vote, irrefutable truth is: Trump would now captain the ship of American destiny for a period of next four years. To rebalance his rhetoric with pragmatism, remains Trump’s real challenge.
Although Trump’s agenda of change—reflects a strong remonstrance against globalization, immigration and the western establishment—seems to have gained favour of the white Americans; yet it has also sparked certain apprehensions. Amid this atmosphere of worries and anxieties for both Europeans and Muslims, the fact is that under Trump US external policy would –not be based on Republicans’ professed realism nor Democrats’ fostered idealism—variably reflect an unpredictable mixture of opposites, endorsed by following cited reflections on his foreign policy agenda.
Donald Trump has made clear that his policy would be America First. The US would no more be engaged in nation building of Iraq and Afghanistan- pleasing many allies. But those countries may be worrisome who rely on the US military assistance. In some foreign policy circles, this has been a long-felt need to reopen this debate about America first doctrine, even if it tends to distress U.S. allies around the world. He is fundamentally opposed of the international alliance-and-trading system that was created to win the Cold War and preserve American dominance in the post World War II period.” We will no longer surrender this country or its people to the false song of globalism,” Trump said. “The nation-state remains the true foundation for happiness and harmony. I am skeptical of international unions that tie us up and bring America down.” He is of the view to renegotiate or rip up NAFTA if it is necessary-a serious concern for Europe.
Trump has struck a synergy with many voters by pleading that America’s free trade agreements have given foreign exporters an unfair advantage at the cost of US businesses and workers. Social inequality that builds a marginalized majority of native citizens consequently boosts the power of anti-immigration narratives-this has been the crunch that Trump used in his immigration agenda. The American critics view that Trump fosters an incongruent policy at a time when concerns about a nuclear-armed Iran, the rise of Islamic militants in the Middle East and Russia’s meddling in Eastern Europe and Syria are unifying broad swaths of the Republican party base. “If Russia wants to go in and bomb the hell out of ISIS, I am OK with it. I can live with it,” Trump said.
“So I’d like to know what the alternative is, because the alternative could be very much worse, and in the meantime we have to build our own country.” He advocates for reforming NATO’s outdated mission and structure established and grown out of the Cold War. “Since the end of the Cold War and the breakup of the Soviet Union, we’ve lacked a coherent foreign policy,” Trump said in his speech. This seems positively true keeping in view the American history of the post Cold War system of interventionism— from Bosnia to Kosovo to Iraq, America has played around from idea to idea and intervention to intervention—proved from the idea of humanitarian war to the idea of preventive war. Trump seems committed to ramping up the US military presence in the Asia-Pacific region, in order to enable Washington’s bargaining position with respect to Beijing.
The Republican president-elect thinks the world needs America far more than the other way around— and he effectively cautioned U.S. allies that without a new global deal it appreciates to be impractical for Washington to swing towards its former policies of providing defence or security umbrella to other nations particularly, the European states—he wants them to demonstrate their responsibilities and pay their due shares.The European diplomats worry that the Trump election will not only orchestrate a vacuum in which other countries can expand their global influence , but at the same time strengthen other populist, anti-establishment politicians across Europe and the world. They are also concerned about Trump’s indifference to green values.
As for Afghanistan,it seems that Trump may attach more stipulations to U.S. assistance to Afghanistan than either Bush or Obama did. But unjustifiably, he seems to give a lease to Israeli policy on Jewish settlements. Yet Muslims’ concerns are not unjustified. “Trump’s continued anti-Muslim rhetoric will definitely feed into the already deep-seated distrust of the West by the Muslim conservatives in region. Depending on his policies in Middle-East, it will drive even more radicalization and terrorism activities,” Asrul Hadi Abdullah Sani, a Malaysia-focused analyst at Bower Group Asia, warned.
However, the fate of Trump’s policy figment will largely depend on whom Donald Trump appoints as his secretary of state. The most circulated names in this regard include: senator Jeff Sessions, of Alabama, who is heading up the Trump national security transition team; John Bolton, the former US ambassador to the UN; Richard Haas, head of an influential foreign policy think tank in Washington; and Stephen Hadley, a former national security advisor to the first President Bush. Given Republicans’ realization— of Pakistan’s armed forces exemplary role in the war on terror—gleaned by Senator MC Cain’s visit to Pakistan this year, it is positively hoped that Trump’s advisory team would benefit from Pakistan’s counterterrorism strategy in region.
The victory speech that Trump delivered on November 9 nonetheless gives a candid impression of his foreign policy narrative as he offers friendship, not hostility, partnership not conflict. Pakistan welcomes Trump’s mediatory role on the Kashmir issue. Trump said he’d be willing to play a mediating role in addressing the “very, very hot tinderbox” of Kashmir between India and Pakistan. ‘’If it was necessary … I would be honored to do that. … I think if they wanted me to, I would love to be mediator or arbitrator”.
— The writer is an independent ‘IR’ researcher based in Karachi.