Super Tuesday happens tomorrow. TSMP takes a tongue-in-cheek look at the world we might be living in under a Trump presidency, where the most famous “Donald” is not a duck.
28 February 2017
World News | The Straight Times
It is barely a month after the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States of America (POTUS), but already the US is grappling with big changes.
One of President Trump’s first acts was to paint the pillars of the White House gold, mirroring the brassy facade of Trump developments. First Lady, Melania Trump, has redecorated the White House in her favourite ornate French style, filling it with more Rococo furniture than the Chateau de Versailles. Pundits, taking a (gold) leaf from Trump’s campaign slogan, are calling this his “Make America Grate Again” initiative.
On the domestic front, the president has started to make good on his threat to deport illegal immigrants. Affecting an estimated 11 million people, or 6.4% of the workforce, their mass deportation would cost an estimated US$114 billion, and shrink the US economy by 6%.
POTUS has also repeated his intention to impose a “total and complete shutdown” of America’s borders to the Muslims, calling for a plan to close mosques and require registration of American Muslims.
He has reiterated his plan, announced during his presidential campaign, to build a 2,000 mile wall between the US and Mexico (where “The Mexican Government is forcing their most unwanted people into the United States. They are, in many cases, criminals, drug dealers, rapists, etc.”), and send Mexico the bill.
The new president has also alienated some of America’s largest corporates. In February 2016, when Apple refused to hack into a shooter’s iPhone at the FBI’s behest, citing government overreach, Trump called for a boycott of Apple products. He has also vowed to make the company “start building their damn computers and things in this country instead of in other countries”.
On the foreign policy front, the new president’s track record is patchy.
US-Russian relations are warmer than they have been for a long time, despite Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2015 and its occupation of Ukrainian territory, which resulted in economic sanctions being imposed. President Trump has very publicly admired Putin’s leadership, while the Russian President has called the Donald a “really brilliant and talented person”.
The US’s foreign relations elsewhere are going less swimmingly. The new president has accused China of being a currency manipulator. He has alienated long-time foreign partners, including Japan and South Korea, by accusing them of “eating our lunch” in trade imbalances. He also wants to pull out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
The upshot of this growing insularity has been to push America’s traditional allies into a closer relationship with that other (rising) world power, China.
China’s One Belt One Road policy, which aims to create an economic land belt that includes countries on the original Silk Road through Central Asia, West Asia, the Middle East and Europe, and a maritime road that links China’s port facilities with the African coast, continues to strengthen the Mainland’s economic ties and political influence. China’s reach extends from North Asia (its traditional stronghold) deep into Africa, where the profusion of Chinese people and the spanking new roads, bridges and buildings, are testament to her economic influence. In Der Es Salaam international airport, flight announcements are now made in three languages: English, Swahili and Mandarin.
WILL CHINA BE THE REAL WINNER OF THE ELECTION?
The United States of America has been the leader of the free world since the last World War. It has maintained this position with a policy of open trade and support for globalisation, an overseas military presence that was supportive of its allies, and by providing a business environment where innovation could flourish, built on the sweat equity of entrepreneurs and workers from diverse cultures and countries. While it remains to be seen if the president’s election rhetoric will result in the drastic changes he has threatened, the force of his antipathy is creating impetus for America’s friends to seek alliances in new corners.
In a world where the leaders of the US and Russia are bound by a common bond of xenophobic machismo, China is increasingly looking like the moderate and reasonable world power. And the US can hardly continue to beat China with the stick of its human rights record, not when it is closing mosques and forcibly ejecting foreigners. For a 5,000 year old empire hungering to take her rightful place on the world’s centre stage, this can only be to China’s advantage.
And so we usher in the post-Obama era: where China presides over the Asian Century, Russia is governed by a despot and the most famous Donald in the world is, alas, no longer a duck.