Uncertainty Surrounds Trump Presidency

Washington, Uncertainty surrounds any incoming president of the United States. But what to expect from a Donald Trump presidency after he is sworn in on Friday is especially unclear as Trump has no record as a public official and he is at odds on crucial issues with several of his cabinet picks.

“We have no freakin’ idea what he’s gonna do,” outgoing Vice President Joe Biden told the New York Times this week.

President Barack Obama came into office in 2009 on a wave of optimism promising “hope and change” for the country. His greatest achievements in his eight years in office were the killing of Osama bin Laden and expanded health insurance for Americans.

But his critics say the “hope and change” he promised never materialized. Those two achievements have not lasted. The Republican-controlled Congress has already taken steps to scrap Obama’s health plan, and international terrorism has only grown to disastrous proportions after bin Laden’s elimination.

At this point what Trump may do can only be gleaned from his campaign rhetoric and his actions and words during a tumultuous transition period, during which he has gained the confidence of only 40% of American voters, according to a poll this week.

Based on his statements and the outlooks of his chief foreign policy cabinet officers, the Middle East can expect a Trump administration to increase America’s already staunch support for Israel to the detriment of Palestinians; increase tensions with Iran and abandon the effort to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and concentrate on fighting Daesh instead.

Trump says he will reverse nearly seven decades of U.S. policy by moving the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Al Kuds/Jerusalem. That would set back Palestinian hopes that Al Kuds may someday be the capital of an independent Palestine. Trump can be expected to maintain and increase U.S. military aid to Israel and to back it fully if conflict in Gaza or the West Bank erupts again.

Trump has trashed the nuclear deal between Iran and the U.S., Britain, France, Russia and China and Germany, which lifted sanctions against Iran in exchange for strict controls on its nuclear program. Iran has already said that it would refuse to scrap or renegotiate the deal.

On the campaign trail Trump has made it clear that he does not see Assad as enemy number one in Syria, as the Obama administration did. Instead he says he’s willing to enter a military alliance with Russia, and oddly by extension with Iran, to defeat Daesh first, before the question of Syrian leadership can be answered.

Trump’s desire for better relations with Russia has been his most prominent and controversial stated foreign policy objective. Trump wants to normalize ties with Moscow, which might reverse a NATO military build-up on Russia’s Western borders and drop sanctions on Moscow. Trump said he might end the sanctions in exchange for deep cuts in nuclear weapons.

Last weekend he called NATO “obsolete” and appears to favor the European Union’s dissolution. In deference to Russia, Trump may lessen aid to Ukraine. Trump has said he would be ready to recognize Crimea as part of Russia.

Trump’s nominees for secretary of defense and secretary of state both made disparaging remarks about Russia in their confirmation hearings last week, so it remains to be seen how much of his own man Trump will be on this, and other issues.

He has already increased tensions with China, taking a call from Taiwan’s president (something no U.S. president has done in four decades) and has talked tough about new trade arrangements with Beijing. Trump has also blasted China for its moves in the South China Sea. It could just be bluster for trade negotiations or portend greater and more dangerous tensions.

Latin America, America’s traditional backyard, has not gotten a lot of attention from Trump, except for Mexico, which has gotten an abundance. Trump appears serious about building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. And while he still vows that Mexico will pay for it, but he now wants Mexico to reimburse the U.S. after Congress appropriates the money to build it.

The wall is the centerpiece of Trump’s aggressive immigration policy. His anti-Muslim rhetoric could also be realized in the creation of a registry into which all American Muslims, even those who are citizens, must be entered. These and other extreme proposals will almost certainly wind up being decided in the U.S. court system.

Trump’s biggest domestic issue has been re-industrializing America, namely bringing back jobs shipped overseas to cheap labor markets to new factories built inside the U.S. Several companies have already made such moves, which Trump has trumpeted as a great success during the transition.

Source: Qatar News Agency