Friday, January 20, 2017

Donald Trump - 45th President of USA

Source - Wikipedia
Trump victory in November 2016 election is accidental. But he is not an illegitimate president [1] just because he did not get the popular vote. Rules of American Presidential Elections are centuries old. This is not the first time a president is elected with lesser votes. American System places a premium on the distribution of votes which is critical to retain a federal union. Trump got elected by those rules.[2]

It is an accident because more Americans either hated or showed apathy towards Hillary than a number of Americans who came to support Trump. As a candidate, lion's share of fault goes to Hillary; but one cannot say a larger number of Americans exercised their choice of voting carefully as well. I know personally so many young voters, many Bernie backers, who did not bother to vote against Trump. This is the context of one of the lowest approval ratings for an incoming president.

All that unpopularity will vanish if Trump turns out to be good for America. On the campaign trail, Trump has talked so many incorrect policy prescriptions that if any of those he attempts to fulfill; it is unlikely to be good for America. If he exasperates 'racial tones', America is likely to see social unrest. If he follows on his excessive anti-Muslim agenda, not just American Democracy and Rule of Law will be fractured; globally Trump Administration is going to face needless, avoidable headwinds while dealing with so many Muslim nations as well as a country like India where the Muslim population is large. Trump may start erecting Wall on Mexico border on day one and may start cracking the whip on Hispanic migrants as well as other immigration. But then again all that is going to result in disturbed families, disturbed businesses, continued global disapproval and in general non-conducive environment for American Business. If Trump continues his antagonistic attitude against American and Global Media, then again it will not be too long before swords from Media will start coming out.

The dangers arising from his foreign policy prescriptions are equally or even more severe than his domestic prescriptions. The European Union is not on a solid footing and Conservatives in Germany are indeed going to drive extinction of EU[3], at least in the form it is at present. After Brexit, there is a danger of France shaking up EU followed by Italy. On this background, Trump is likely to 'hasten' the process of the demise of EU rather than nurturing one of the strongest alliances in human history - NATO and EU countries. By sleeping with Putin, Trump is going to bring legitimacy to autocratic and non-democratic regimes of the world. That coupled with weakened and broken NATO / EU; he is setting the context of global disorder and loss of stable security environment.

But the greater damage Trump is likely to do to USA Economy, to the Global Economy and to the Global Security Order is by locking horns with Xi's China. Trump is eager to start a fight with China. He wants to exploit every aspect of USA-China relationship as a bargaining chip in a zero-sum game. Trump is going to fail in that because he is going to discover that no amount of threatening and trade shenanigans are going to cow China. Xi's China will respond positively, only if Trump engages with China in the spirit of co-operation and never questioning certain principles of PRC - likes of Taiwan part of PRC, the total legitimacy of Communist Party Rule, the supremacy of PLA and no interference in China's internal affairs or unwarranted criticism. The reason Xi's China will be 'unbending' for these principles is there is no other way Xi can keep Communist Rule in PRC and by their thinking very existence of PRC. Unless and until Tillerson and Trump Administration learn that the only way to co-exist in this century is to work 'along with China'; Trump's America is going to face all sorts of avoidable hurdles.

All this means the path of success for Trump Administration goes by not enacting many of Trump utterances of the campaign trail. Sure, Trump and Republican Congress can get away with repealing ObamaCare without replacement, they will be able to give Trillions of Dollars Tax Cuts to rich by creating holes in Federal Budget and will be able to get away with a paltry Public Infrastructure Spending. This is because Trump and Republicans are smart enough to talk away a good number of Americans. Trump will blatantly lie in the office saying 'access to health insurance' as the 'beautiful availability of health insurance to all'. Tax cuts for rich will be justified as usual as kick starting 4% economic growth. Already committed ongoing infrastructure projects will be touted as the success of Trump plan. There are enough Americans, who get fooled by this talk else not that many Americans would have sat the election of 2016. There are no effective Democratic Leaders who can aggressively combat these lies of Trump Administration. What all that means is, there will be regressive policies with which Trump Administration will get away so long as Economy does not derail much. But lackluster economic growth, or policy overreach, or poor employment generation in mid-west states combined with anyone of the above mentioned Trump hubris; we are looking at the failed term of Trump Administration. These chances are not low and we are not even considering myriad possibilities of corruption and foreign policy blunders.

If not due to the majority, but at least due to a substantial number of Americans who did not vote against Trump; America has landed up taking enormous risks with the Trump presidency. Everything may indeed work out OK in the end, but watching ill prepared Donald Trump taking the oath as 45th President on the background of a deeply polarized American Society does not cut a reassuring picture. Unfortunately, it will not be only Americans who may have to pay the price, but Trump Era could cost the entire world too

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[1] - Donald Trump called possible Hillary victory as illegitimate, that he will not accept her win; that is all besides a point in the room with grown ups. Donald is Donald, you are never going to do anything good for this country if you follow his words literally. Let us focus on what he does, rather than what he says

It is also true that Donald Trump used corrupt and illegitimate practices on the campaign trail to win the election. His campaign staffers had lingering connections with Putin, he actively engaged espionage on his Democratic opponent, he never revealed his tax returns and in general lied throughout the campaign. But politics is not 'bean bags'. His political opponents failed to capitalize on all this. The way Democratic party is and lack of obvious leadership; it is unlikely that Democrats will be able to put a good political opposition to Trump. Trump era will end by his own mistakes rather than a better opponent.

[2] - Putin's Russia intervened in 2016 campaign to make Trump victory possible - yes, that is the case. But remember, in the end again it is Americans who get to votes. If a good number of those did not exercise their right/privilege correctly - that is not the problem of Putin or rest of the world. Unless there is a compelling evidence that Russia actually 'hacked' votes for Trump; there is no reason to doubt the legitimacy of Trump election. 

[3] - Donald Trump for once was right to say 'EU is a vehicle for Germany'. The reluctance of likes of German Finance Minister Schauble for any transfer of German Tax Euros to other EU countries is at the root of deterioration of EU project. These conservatives understand that perennially underachieving economies of Greece, Italy and Portuguese - all these southern EU states - keep the Euro cheap making German Export possible all over the world. What is not to like in that, as long as the party - meaning EU - lasts? That is the thinking of these conservative German politicians and Trump is calling that bluff.

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