Amid the screaming and wailing of the anti-Trump activists, it’s easy to lose sight of the possible changes that the United States – and even the world – could see when Donald J Trump officially becomes the President of the United States on Friday. Most people want to see the changes as either black or white, but there are many shades of gray in each of them.
Here are nine changes we could see, presented without judgment.
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Our relationship with NATO
Will Trump’s calls for all NATO members to pay their fair share of the costs fall on deaf ears? Will the US reduce it’s payments? Who knows but for 60 years many of the 28 countries who are members of NATO have benefitted from membership – the “take on one member and you take on all members” ethos has ensured that peace has reigned for decades. It’s a fact, however, that a small number of countries, the US included, has footed the bulk of bill for this security. His comments have caused concern in Europe.
The New York Times states:
His comments left some European officials concerned that the United States under Mr. Trump would edge away from the security guarantees that Washington has provided to the Continent since World War II. But they also stoked the debate over cost sharing after years in which Europe had been slow to meet its commitments on military spending.
Some people feel that Trump may pull out of NATO (and perhaps even the UN) altogether.
A wall along the Mexican border
The next president is taking a tough stance on illegal immigration. An article in Business Insider states that the wall would cost around $25 billion to build and is architecturally almost impossible.
Trump disagrees and has voiced various ways to force Mexico to pay for it. According to the BBC:
Asked by US journalists how he could force Mexico to pay, Mr Trump suggested he could ransom the country by blocking undocumented immigrants from sending money home, using a provision of the US Patriot Act designed to stop funding for terrorism.
Pressed on whether he could really use anti-terror legislation to ransom Mexico into paying for a wall, Mr Trump has variously suggested other options including increasing the fees on visa applications, charging more for border crossing cards and enforcing trade tariffs.
Closer ties with Russia
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he looks forward to dealing with president Trump. President-Elect Trump has described Putin as a strong leader with whom he could do business. So will the mutual appreciation and back slapping continue or will all those people warning Trump not to trust Putin be proven right?
Tensions are rising as President Obama seems intent on causing a conflict during his last days in office. Russia is currently watching the movement of NATO troops edging ever closer to its borders. Yesterday, 300 US marines arrived in Norway on a six-month deployment. This is the first time since the end of WWll that the Norwegian government has allowed the stationing of foreign troops on their soil.
Reuters is reporting:
Some 300 U.S. Marines landed in Norway on Monday for a six-month deployment, the first time since World War Two that foreign troops have been allowed to be stationed there, in a deployment which has irked Norway’s Arctic neighbor Russia.
Officials played down any link between the operation and NATO concerns over Russia, but the deployment coincides with the U.S. sending several thousand troops to Poland to beef up its Eastern European allies worried about Moscow’s assertiveness.
Will Trump recall the troops and try to make peace with Putin? Would that alienate Europe? Time will tell.
The way we trade with the rest of the world
There are strong indications that when it comes to trade, Trump intends playing hard ball. He has already told several car manufacturers that he will raise import taxes to 35% on their vehicles unless they choose to produce them in the US.
He blames the American free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico for causing American job losses.
His goal is to increase the availability of jobs for Americans and close the trade deficit.
The UK, who was told by Obama after the Brexit that they would be at the back of the line when it came to trading with the US, is pleased that Trump has made positive noises about business between the two countries.
Theresa May has welcomed Donald Trump’s promise of a “quick” free trade deal after the UK leaves the EU.
In an interview with MP Michael Gove for The Times newspaper, the President-Elect said his administration would “work very hard” to get a trade deal “done quickly and done properly”.
The billionaire Republican praised the Brexit vote as a demonstration that British people “want their own identity”.
Our relationship with China
China says its One China policy is non-negotiable.
Trump disagrees and feels that everything is open to negotiation.
Taiwan is at the center of the controversy. China regards Taiwan as a part of China that will ultimately be reunited with the rest of the country. The United States has an unofficial relationship with Taiwan that includes supplying them with arms for defense. Taiwan regards itself as an independent nation and has been isolated in the international community. The New York Times has a write-up that explains the problems in detail.
The Iran nuclear deal
Obama lifted sanctions against Iran in return for the guarantee that the country would not pursue their nuclear weapons program. Trump and the Republicans are concerned about this and have been for some time.
Trump’s advisors make clear that revisiting the agreement is a priority for Trump even if the plan ahead is still a work in progress. (source)
Changes to the deal could have major implications in the Middle East, where Iran is a major player. It’s important to note that Iran is also a rival to Saudi Arabia and Israel. In such a volatile region the ramifications could affect the lives of millions. There is also the chance that if the Trump administration alters the terms of the deal Iran will immediately re-start their nuclear weapons program.
The North Korean situation
Will Trump succeed where so many have failed? Will he be able to curb the nuclear ambitions of North Korea’s volatile leader Kim Jong-un?
In response to a recent announcement from Mr Kim that North Korea was close to testing long-range missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads, Mr Trump simply said, “It won’t happen.”
Will he negotiate directly with the tin-pot dictator? Let’s hope he gets this one right because if North Korea are further along with their nuclear program than analysts think they are, we could all be in trouble if he gets it wrong.
Climate change policy
President-Elect Trump has vowed to push the use of coal in the US and has said he will cancel the Paris climate agreement within 100 days of taking office.
During a campaign speech in North Dakota in May, Trump told a cheering crowd, “We’re going to cancel the Paris climate agreement and stop all payments of U.S. tax dollars to U.N. global warming programs.” (source)
Trump is one of a growing number of people who don’t believe that AGW (anthropogenic global warming) is the main cause of climate change. As I said recently:
The thing about climate change is that it happens all the time, it has always happened all the time, and it will continue to happen all the time. It’s just the way it is because the earth isn’t a static lump of rock floating in space. It’s a dynamic, evolving, changing lump of rock floating in space and there are many, many things both on the planet and off-world that can affect the climate.
The end of Obamacare
The Affordable Care Act, which passed into law on March 23, 2010, was supposed to make medical care affordable for all Americans. Instead, it could have been more accurately renamed “The UNaffordable Care Act” because many middle-class Americans were impoverished by the massive hikes in their premiums. There have been problems so numerous that it would require a book-length article to cover them all. Trump has vowed to repeal the ACA and replace it with legislation that guarantees health care for all.
Trump’s website states:
However, it is not enough to simply repeal this terrible legislation. We will work with Congress to make sure we have a series of reforms ready for implementation that follow free market principles and that will restore economic freedom and certainty to everyone in this country. By following free market principles and working together to create sound public policy that will broaden healthcare access, make healthcare more affordable and improve the quality of the care available to all Americans.
Things are bound to be different.
Whether these changes will take place, how they’ll take place, and the effects that they’ll have are anyone’s guess. One thing is sure: the left and the establishment will challenge Trump every step of the way.