As American people give mandate to Donald Trump and his running mate Mike Pence, the world waits to see who will end up in his cabinet. If his distant past and campaign speeches can be any guide, the celebrity’s elevation isn’t good news unless you are a racist, misogynist and Putin-adoring anarchist.
Is it another Andrew Jackson moment for the US, whose greatest claim to fame was ethnic cleansing of indigenous Indian people? Trump surrogate Rudy Giuliani has already drawn parallels between the president-elect with the controversial White House occupant from 1829 to 1837. In his victory speech, Trump called the campaign a ‘movement’ which is just beginning.
After winning a bitter nomination contest against Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton failed to convert his supporters into her voters. The FBI Director Comey’s October surprise may have had a minor but decisive impact on the election too, but the desire for change led to rise of Bernie in the Democratic Party and Trump in the Republican camp. While one side preferred the pro-establishment candidate to the one promising change, the other was overwhelmed by the storm called Trumpism.
Not only did the Hillary Clinton campaign flop at mobilising younger and dormant voters, she invariably under-performed in Democratic voter bases when compared to Barack Obama’s 2012 showing.
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After Trump won the party nomination, many respected political scientists read a pattern in rise of nationalistic politics. India gave a clear verdict in favour of Modi in 2014. In almost all elections during 2015, right-wingers emerged stronger in Europe. The British people voted for Brexit. Columbians even rejected a peace deal with FARC rebels. Trump’s victory is seen as consolidation of the fast evolving global trend.
The million-dollar question remains as to how far will the Trump administration realise the manifesto it won the mandate on. His victory speech offers no help; he praised Hillary for a hard fought campaign, and hit a reconciliatory tone for those Republicans who did not support him. Speaking of binding the wounds of division, he claimed to have led a movement, with Americans from all races, religions and cultures. David Duke, the white supremacist wizard of Ku Klux Klan, earlier reminded Trump and the world via Twitter: “This is one of the most exciting nights of my life — make no mistake about it, our people have played a HUGE role in electing Trump!”
Pakistani-Americans, like Turks and Arab Muslims, voted for Hillary Clinton or abstained from the process altogether. Trump instead wooed the Indian-American community on multiple occasions. Once during an endorsement party at a Hindu temple, he chanted, “Aab ki bar Trump sakar.”
Responding to a presumptive question, such as “what if Pakistan became ‘unstable’?” during an interview while on campaign trail, Trump said, “You have to get India involved. India’s the check to Pakistan.” Typically covering up his lack of vision, he said, “I want to be unpredictable with this. I don’t want to be like Obama, where he’s always saying you know, we’re going to do this in two weeks and then we’re going to do that.”
The statement was obviously music to the ears for the Indian government and media. The right-wing Hindus estimated to comprise around 20% of the Indian-American population stepped forward to embrace him by not only voting for the man but also financing the campaign. Pakistan and Pakistanis reluctantly backed Hillary, particularly after Khizer Khan became the face of her non-White American supporters.
The community’s inroads in the Republican Party date back to its creation, but Trump leadership is vivid departure from the past. Islamabad, which has yet to find a suitable statesman for the foreign minister’s office, will have to further perfect its art of fire-fighting diplomacy. Ironically, Pakistan, Turkey and its Arab allies happen to be in the same boat, given that the Republican candidate has never hidden his abhorrence for Muslims in America and across the world.
Like Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh kept a check on Narendra Modi, Donald Trump is less likely to escape the influence of Ku Klux Klan. Thus, wounds of division need a miracle to repair. The incumbent administration will see China as a rival and India as its counterweight in Asia, much to the concern of Pakistan too.
Taking an optimistic view, let’s say Trump did not mean much of the hate-mongering he spewed on the campaign trail and the man will understand vitality of inter-dependence and extract the best through negotiations. But for that, he’ll have to restore confidence of the comity of nation, which has immediately witnessed steep nose-diving of stock exchanges. May they be America’s NATO allies, South Korea and Japan in East Asia or Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey in the larger Middle East, every nation is waiting for the Republication incumbent to announce his cabinet. His choices for the departments of state, defense and the CIA will help get a sense of what the administration’s policy will be for friends and others.
Courtesy : Express Tribune