The world is in collective shock as Donald Trump has just been announced, president elect of the most powerful country in the world.
The shock is warranted, given the many indications that Trump was expected to lose based on almost all of the polls. Clinton won 17 out of 19 major polls going in to Tuesday's election. This expectation has resulted in major market fluctuations and concerns from many world leaders, given Trump's "America first" rhetoric.
However unfavorable Trump is to many, His vision is still the vision that the American people want. Hence his victory.
Trump's isolationist or nationalist approach to the presidency along with his campaign slogan of, "Make America Great Again", harkens back to a tumultuous time in world history. A time of extreme nationalism, poverty, and World War. It was also a time of great change and growth. It was in that time that the islands of Micronesia entered the chapters of world history.
What should we expect with Trump as president? Less funding for foreign affairs? Unfavorable policies? No healthcare reform? Worst case scenario is a less than favorable compact renegotiation. For the most part, Trump has said little to nothing about our region. Until he appoints his cabinet we can't know for sure. So, with the world yet again facing a nationalist superpower under a president Trump, what does Micronesia have to look forward to?
- Paris climate deal?
The Paris climate deal brought together nearly 200 world countries to agree on fighting climate change. Donald Trump has vowed to rescind all of president Obama's executive actions, which includes the USA's participation in the Paris climate deal. Trump has repeatedly rejected the very existence of climate change, calling it a hoax fabricated by the Chinese to manipulate economies.
It is worth noting that Trump has called for eliminating the EPA. It is more recently believed that he may appoint a climate change skeptic as director. He has also called for more fracking and drilling, A policy shift from Obama's renewable energy goals.
(Minister Zackhras tweets president Heine's hope for a Trump presidency)
- Nuclear disarmament?
Trump has repeatedly stated that he is for nuclear proliferation, or having a nuclear arsenal for America's allies, even the possibility of using nuclear weapons. This would set back the important strides in nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation that minister DeBrum of the RMI has made.
Trump vows to end the Iran Nuclear deal. The Iran deal was another major accomplishment by the Obama administration and Secretary of State John Kerry. In principle, the deal allows the US to monitor and halt Iran's nuclear weapons capability in exchange for lifting sanctions. The deal, once thought to be impossible has cooled fiery relations between the USA and Iran. Trump has called the deal, "the worst deal ever negotiated".
- Compact negotiations?
With much talk of terminating the FSM-USA compact by 2018, new compact negotiations will most certainly be scheduled between now and then. Will a Trump administration still see the relevance of a compact treaty?
In addition to this, let's not forget about the other super power across the ocean - China. If the US shrinks its presence in the Pacific it may open the waters for Chinese mediation. Even a slight lax in compact negotiations could play heavily in China's favor.
- Military in the Asia-Pacific?
Trump has proposed a massive buildup in military which could translate to a growth in military recruitment efforts. But he seems to be directing the buildup to the middle east and decreasing military presence in the Asia-Pacific.
Under a Trump administration allies may have to pay for US protection. Failure to pay may lead to the closure of military bases in allied countries. He has also proposed that Japan and S. Korea have nuclear weapons so they could better protect themselves. This will elevate already precarious relations with North Korea.
A Trump presidency will look to bulk up domestically. Trump wants to better prepare for what he thinks is America's greatest threat: nuclear weapons. Properly going after that threat will require arming your allies, disarming your enemies, and taking assertive measures rather than reactive.
- Department of Interior?
Within the DOI is the Office of Insular Affairs. That office oversees federal policies with its territories and Compact nations. The Secretary of the Interior and the Assistant Secretary of Insular Affairs is appointed by the president. Some names have surfaced for the position of Insular Secretary, including former republican VP candidate and climate change denier, Sarah Palin.
Trump has called Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act a "disaster" and has said that he would repeal it once he is president. This may leave over 20 million people who are now on Obamacare without health insurance. That includes the many COFA citizens who have already joined Obamacare. Many through the hard work of WAO and other centers.
Trump has promised to end the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a trade agreement between the USA, Canada, and Mexico. He has also said he will not pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) a trade deal between 12 Asia-Pacific countries. The free trade deal assures many things, including an opportunity for the USA to compete with a booming Chinese economy. Without the TPP and NAFTA it is possible that China will continue to grow as an economic giant.
In fairness, Trump has proposed a 45% tariff on Chinese imports and other tactics to start what some are calling a "trade war". He vows to compete with global markets and to bring jobs back to America. How this might impact the islands is still unclear until we see the specifics of his economic plan.
- Immigrants and Immigration?
Probably the most worrisome possibility of a Trump presidency is the empowerment of anti-immigrant sentiments. For many, Donald Trump has normalized racism. He has given a voice to racist groups that have diminished over the decades. For example, the KKK endorsed Trump.
With Trump's history of racism and bigotry, and now his ascension to the White house, it can be seen as an endorsement of an anti-immigrant mentality. Certainly his, "America First" and, "Make America Great Again" talking points already suggest it. We can also look at his policy proposals as a list of evidence to back up this claim.
He has proposed building a wall to keep Mexican immigrants out; mass deportations; banning Muslims; additional vetting of migrants. And although these policy ideas do not affect Micronesians directly, the ideology of American exclusivism has the potential to be harmful.
As a super power, and a champion of democracy, the United States influences the world. We do not need to look any further than in our own region to see examples of Trump's influence. Governor Calvo of Guam, a republican and a Trump supporter, has made it his mission to repatriate immigrant criminals. Most of those deported are from the FSM.
What will this do to COFA migrants living in the United States who are already feeling discriminated? And will the media see Trump's appointment as a green light to report biased news coverage that will harm us?