After the ugliest andmost divisive election,what comes next with Trump

22Nov 2016
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Commentary
After the ugliest andmost divisive election,what comes next with Trump

I was in England for the past few weeks where I was following the American election and the debates.

My friends and I were dismayed that there was a strong electorate who were lapping up Donald Trump’s rhetoric and it would appear that to a large extent it was his demeanor that won him the presidency.

To some extent, the victory was helped by weaknesses of his opponent. His margin in the Electoral College was bigger than that of Obama eight years ago.

And, for the first time since 2005, the Republicans control the White House and both Houses of Congress – which means that, potentially at least, the new President has a far better chance of getting his programme enacted than did Obama in his second term.

Except, of course, that the mainstream Republican leadership in Congress spent most of the election campaign disparaging Trump as racist, sexist, homophobic and unfit to be President – prompting him to respond in kind.

The main casualty in this election is the idea of America as the leader of the democratic world by “soft power”.

His victory has created uncertainties about America’s role in the world and with the promises he made during the campaign there is cause for concern in many areas including security and trade.

Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe recovered from the shock of Trump’s victory in two days and on the third day he telephoned Donald Trump requesting for a meeting.

Understandably for Japan, much is riding on the bond between the two countries. It counts on American forces – which have been based there since the occupation after World War II.

This arrangement was made through a bilateral treaty. A political blue blood like Abe is hurrying to establish a good rapport with Trump because for Japan like South Korea it is a matter of huge strategic importance to ensure continued American military support.

Indeed, the election result has placed many nations, the European Union and NATO in an untenable situation which will impact the entire world order. There is a strong possibility that globalization and trade packs may have to be compromised. The world today is brimming with economic nationalism.

Traditionally, an open trade and investment regime has depended on the hegemonic power of the US to remain afloat. If the US begins acting unilaterally to change the terms of contract, there are many powerful players around the world who would be happy to retaliate, and set off a downward economic spiral reminiscent of the 1930s.

A Trump Presidency may bring the end of an era in which America symbolized democracy to the people around the world. It is no accident that Trump was strongly supported by Ukip’s Nigel Farage and that one of the first people to congratulate Trump was France’s National Front’s Marine Le Pen.

On Monday I was discussing in London with a friend when I mentioned that one way or the other we are going to be in a rough ride over the next few years.

The friend who had followed the election with close interest said that in her view it will not be long before Trump, despite the Republican dominated Congress and Senate realizes that campaign rhetoric must be replaced by reality of the situation where economic logic must prevail.

As President Obama said after his first meeting in the Oval Office with President-elect Trump the responsibility of the High Office will require him to rethink on campaign promises.

If Trump follows through on his ideas of tariffs on imports and on removal of Mexican workers he will soon face higher prices on imported goods, rising interest rates and huge inflation.

It will also not be too long before Trump’s Managers complain about shortage of skilled manpower. My friend hoped that Trump’s Vice President and his cabinet colleagues will galvanize his thinking towards the best interest of the nation.

As far as his bigotry and sexist behaviour is concerned, the White House system will control the situation. Incidentally he has dozens of lawsuits pending where he may face humiliation in court.

I am reminded that Trump ended his campaign rallies with the song “You Can't Always Get What You Want” by the Rolling Stones.

The song seems to be a peculiar choice, but perhaps it will be a source of comfort for him as he contemplates the early goals of his Presidency.

• Sir Andy Chande, who has 66 years of experience in public and private business, is now a retired international business consultant based in Tanzania.