10 November 2016
AFTER a deeply divisive campaign that pitted two of the least popular presidential candidates in United States history against each other, the American people have finally voted. Barring divine intervention, come January next year, Donald Trump would have defied polls and punditry, pulled the proverbial rabbit out of the hat, and be sworn in as the 45th president of the United States.
For many Americans, Donald Trump‘s victory at the polls yesterday will doubtless prompt a period of introspection. Foremost on their minds will be the question: how did he do it? Or perhaps, how did the system allow him to do it? Yet, even as these Americans dissect Trumpmania in desperate attempts to understand the events of 11/8, Asians themselves are pondering the portents of a Trump administration for the region. What can we expect from the Asia policy of Donald Trump?
Of course, these are still early days. Much will hinge on the composition of his foreign policy team, which is yet unknown. Nevertheless, several names have emerged, the more prominent of which are former House speaker and Republican Party stalwart, Newt Gingrich, for secretary of state, and former army general and Democrat-turned-Republican, Michael Flynn, for either the defence or national security portfolios. Previously also an adviser to former neo-conservative secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld and a faculty member at the US National Defense University, Mr Gingrich is not a believer in multilateralism, while Mr Flynn is known to be an advocate of closer relations with Russia. Should they assume Cabinet positions and pursue agendas they have come to be associated with, American foreign policy under Donald Trump will follow a trajectory very different from the last eight years. All the more so, given that the Republicans would be in control of all levers of power, not only of the White House, but also the Senate and the House of Representatives (and probably the Supreme Court as well once Mr Trump appoints the replacement for the late justice Antonin Scalia).
… The writer is dean and professor of comparative and international politics, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University. He was the inaugural Lee Kuan Yew chair in Southeast Asia Studies at the Brookings Institution in Washington DC.
RSIS / Online / Print
Last updated on 10/11/2016