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PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP | The Challenges

 

US President-elect, Donald Trump Don­ald Trump will be­come the 45th US president after a stunning victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton as he prepares to take over the White House after Barack Obama.

Defying polls that con­sistently showed him trail­ing Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, and that also suggested he was more strongly disliked than any other major-party nominee before him, the New York businessman and reality-television personality be­came president-elect of the United States after the hard earned victory

During his speech in New York Hilton, after his vic­tory, Trump acknowledged that Hillary Clinton put up a spirited competition against him in the race to White House

“The political surface is nasty and tough, but I thank my family (for standing by me throughout the period of campaigns),” Trump said.

Trump has vowed to unify the United States populace, comprising different rac-es, religion and people of sepa­rate economic classes.

“America will no longer settle for anything less than the best,” Mr. Trump pro-claimed in an uncharacteris­tically restrained concession speech , in which he vowed to “bind the wounds of di­vision” after a deeply bitter campaign, and reas-sured an international community fearful of his aggressive cam­paign posturing that he will seek “common ground, not hostility.”

Mr Trump pledged that he would be “president for all Americans” in his New York victory speech.

He said he was “reaching out” to the people who had not supported him to “uni-fy the country”.

“Now it’s time to bind the wounds of division. I say to Democrats and Republi-cans it is time come together as one united people,” he said.

“I pledge to be president for all Americans,” he said, adding: “The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.”

He said it was not a cam­paign but a movement that had won him the White House, comprised of “all people of different back­grounds and beliefs”.

He said victory had been “tough”. “This political stuff is nasty and it’s tough,” he said, while thanking his fam­ily.

Mr Trump offered gener­ous words for his vanquished opponent, saying she had worked hard for many years and was owed a “deep debt of gratitude”.

The crowd was respectful at the mention of Mrs Clin­ton.

In a conciliatory speech Mr Trump added: “We will get along with all other nations willing to get along with us. We will deal fairly with ev­eryone. We will seek com­mon ground, partnership not conflict.

“America will no longer settle for anything less than the best. We must reclaim our destiny.”

But Mr. Trump carried almost every battleground state in which he was seen to have a chance – includ­ing Ohio, Florida and North Carolina – and some, such as Wisconsin, where he was given almost no chance at all.

Mr. Trump overcame his almost complete lack of support from his country’s rap-idly growing minor­ity populations, as well as strong distaste for his candi­dacy among college-educat­ed white voters, by uniquely tapping into disgruntlement with the political establish­ment among people who feel their country’s changing economy and shifting demo­graphics are leaving them behind.

Despite an unending string of controversies that would have been fatal to most can­didates’ ambitions – includ­ing the release of a videotape in which Mr. Trump seem­ingly boasted about sexu­ally assaulting women – his white, working-class base was joined by enough more traditional Republicans, who set aside their reservations to put him over the top.

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However, Mr. Trump will face very little of the political gridlock that Barack Obama has had to contend with, and an open path to implement his policies, because Repub­licans are poised to keep control of both the Senate and the House of Represen­tatives. And he will be able to turn the Supreme Court in conservatives’ favour by fill­ing the vacancy that current­ly has the Court dead-locked between the two sides of the ideological spectrum.

But as reflected by inter­national markets plunging as his victory unfolded on Wednesday he will face both massive challenges and se­vere doubts about his ability to meet them. And he will enter office with an agenda that is at once load-ed with controversial promises, and less defined than that of any other presi-dent-elect.

He has promised to build a wall along the southern U.S. border, temporarily ban Muslims from entering the country, renegotiate or tear up free-trade deals, intro-duce large across-the-board income-tax cuts while dramatically raising taxes and tariffs on imports and adopt an isolationist “America First” foreign pol­icy. At points of the election campaign, he threatened to pull the U.S. out of NATO, repeatedly hinted at cur­tailing press freedoms and expressed admiration for Rus-sian President Vladimir Putin.

He will also battle to re­store Russian diplomats that Obama sacked from Ameri-ca due to allegations that President Putin interfered during American election to give Trum victory.

Known for a lack of inter­est in policy specifics, how­ever, he has been remarka-bly vague on how he will fix a country he has portrayed as being in a state of disas­ter. While attacking current U.S. strategy for fighting the Islamic State, he has re­fused to divulge his own, claiming he wants to main­tain the element of surprise. Domestically, he has prom­ised to complement his tax cuts with large increases in spending, saying sky-high economic growth will make for balanced budgets. Even his signature policy to build the wall is predicated on the premise that Mexico will somehow be made to pay for it.

Just as ambiguous is how Mr. Trump’s temperament will cause him to handle the unforeseen policy challenges and crises that constantly cross a president’s desk. No­toriously thin-skinned, he consistently showed a ten­

dency during the campaign to escalate confrontations. And despite lacking any ex­perience in public office, the oldest person ever to be elected to a first term in the White House keeps his own counsel more than most pol­iticians, and is said to have extremely limited patience for policy briefings.

But for all the uncertainty around what his presidency will look like, what is clear is that in the 17 months since he launched his candidacy, he has demolished received wisdom about how to win the presidency – and about the United States itself – by ushering in a political revolution that none of the coun­try’s political elites saw com­ing.

When he launched his bid for the Republican nomi­nation on June 16, 2015 by showily descending the es­calator at midtown Manhat­tan’s Trump Tower (and de­livering a speech that tested out themes he would keep hitting on, including an as­sessment that Mexico sent “rapists” across the border), his candidacy was widely dismissed as a vanity project aimed at enhancing his busi­ness interests.

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He had supported both parties at points in the past, and rarely displayed strong or consistent policy views. He had flirted with run­ning in the previous elec­tion, and instead settled for self-promotion in the form of leading the discredited “birther” movement against Mr. Obama.

Mr. Trump himself seemed surprised as his campaign gained steam, and by any normal standard was woe­fully ill-prepared to run a modern campaign.

Foreign policy challenges are always a complicated and daunting part of the portfo­lio for a new commander-in-chief. But in this 2017 President Donald Trump will have to deal with perhaps the most sensitive array of crises faced by any American presi­dent in decades.

Challenges will include the American response to multiple ongoing conflicts around the world, the fran­chising of terror attacks, an aggressive Russia, nucle-ar weapons stockpiles and a rumbustious North Korea, an emboldened China, han­dling complicated trade and environmental negotiations and keeping a frag-ile piece with Iran – to name but a few.

Russia and Syria

What began in 2011 as a peaceful uprising against a dictatorial regime in Syr­ia has morphed into en­trenched civil war. Five years since it began, more than 400,000 people have been killed and half of the coun­try’s population has been displaced.

The war has given rise to a refugee crises that has reached Europe’s shores. Amid a failing peace pro­cess, foreign countries have moved to secure their in-ter­ests, transforming Syria into the setting of a proxy war.

Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran and Israel have each backed a myriad of different, of-ten warring, militias. And most dangerously, Russia and the United States have found themselves on opposing sides of the frontline. Mos­cow’s unwavering support for Bashar al-Assad, and bombardment of rebel held areas has put it odds with Washington.

The animosity between the two superpowers is wors­ened by the crisis in Ukraine. There the countries clashed over Vladimir Putin’s annexing of Crimea.

In the final months of the US election, the Obama ad­ministration took the un-precedented step of publicly accusing Russia of orches­trating a series of cyberat­tacks “intended to interfere” with the presidential race.

Islamic State

Amid a vacuum of power in Syria, extremist groups have thrived. Even as Al-Qaeda secures a foothold in the country, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil), has spread beyond the countries borders, creating footholds in Iraq and Libya, and promoting terror attacks in the West.

Isil’s propaganda wing has called for all believers to at­tack the “kaffirs” – infidels – by whatever means, whether a homemade bomb, or a kitchen knife. The call has prompted radicalised indi­viduals to launch attacks in countries including France, Germany, Turkey and the United States.

The new president will in­herit Mr Obama’s mission to “degrade and destroy” Isil. They will be forced to make tough military decisions. US airstrikes in Syria and in Iraq have been slowly break­ing down the jihadist group’s power centres in the Middle East, but have done little to weaken the spread of the ideology.

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They will also have to devise ways to tackle Isil’s propagandists and address rad-icalisation of citizens on home soil. The group’s tactic of essentially outsourcing at­tacks to willing volunteers around the world, rather than organising them from Syria or Iraq, has made their efforts harder to stop.

In centralised planning for large scale attacks, security experts say, the perpetra-tors often leave clues that can be used to thwart the plot.

But smaller attacks, such as a one man rampage with a gun, are harder to pre-vent. “The time between when people become radicalised and then execute their at­tack is the best chance law enforcement officers have of detecting the threat,” said Ali Soufan, a former FBI Special Agent heralded as one of the few men in US intelligence agencies who foresaw the threat of al-Qaeda before the September 11 attacks. “But now the time period between these two phases is becoming shorter and short­er.”

Brexit and global trade

The Brexit referendum sent shockwaves through the financial system that were felt as far as the United States.

As Britain begins the com­plicated process of extricat­ing itself from the European Union, the next American president will have to navi­gate the delicate task of es-tablishing new economic arrangements with its his­torical ally, whilst seeking to maintain beneficial trade deals with the EU.

Britain continues to punch above its size in economic terms; In 2014 the country was the single largest for­eign investor in the US. But the EU is America’s big-gest trading partner.

When President Obama visited London before the referendum, he warned that Britain would have to go to “ the back of the queue “for future trade deals if they left the EU.

Now that the leave cam­paign has won, the next president will have to try to find a more accommodat­ing position. The task of navigating Brexit will only be part of a wider struggle to remain connected in a globalised world, whilst re­sponding to fears from citi­zens that power and wealth is draining away.

For generations the pre­vailing doctrine of Western economists was that global trade expands national wealth by lowering the price of goods, increasing wages and promoting growth. The post-World War Two era promoted globalisation as the solution to preventing future conflict.

But these gains from globalization are not dis­tributed equally . Income inequality has soared and blue-collar labours have largely suffered the conse­quences of a more integrated world. They have watched their jobs flee overseas.

Donald Trump based his presidential campaign on denunciations against Chi-na and Mexico, and a prom­ise to revert to a protection­ist economy. He spoke of raising import tariff and pe­nalising American countries that took jobs overseas.

But, experts warn, a retreat from a globalised world, may only lead to greater in-stability. The less intercon­nected nations are, the more the chance for competi-tion, disagreement, and possibly war.

The decision to leave the EU may be a case in point American and Russian ana­lysts predicted immediately after the referendum for example, that Britain’s exit might make it more difficult to maintain a transatlantic agreement on sanc-tions against Russia over Ukraine.

 

 

By John Okeke of Authority Newspapers 

 

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