FB_IMG_1478675558676

Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential contest could change America’s relationship with the rest of the world in some important ways. Here are five of them.

Free trade

If Donald Trump follows through on his trade policies it will be the single biggest change to the way America does business with the rest of the world in decades. He has threatened to scrap a number of existing free trade agreements, including the North American Free Trade Agreement between the US, Canada and Mexico, which he blames for job losses. He has even suggested withdrawing the US from the World Trade Organization. He is also in favour of taxing imports, and has talked about imposing tariffs of 45% on China and 35% on goods shipped from Mexico, in an effort to prevent companies moving jobs south of the border.

Climate change

Mr Trump has said he would “cancel” the Paris climate change deal signed by more than 195 countries in December 2015. He has also said he will stop all US payments for United Nations global warming programmes. No individual country can scrap the Paris deal but if the US pulled out of it, or abandoned domestic measures launched by President Barack Obama, it would inflict a significant blow to the pact. Trump has called for more drilling for fossil fuels, fewer regulations and the approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada.

Closed borders

For all his tough talk on immigration, Mr Trump has shifted his position a lot so it is hard to work out if he would, or could, follow through on some of his bolder claims. He began his election campaign with a promise to build a wall across the US border with Mexico and to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants. He has since softened that to “millions” of criminals living in the US, and says the rest of the undocumented population will be dealt with at a later date. He has insisted to the very end that Mexico will pay for the wall but refused to mention payment when he visited the country. He also announced “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” but has since said it was a suggestion and not a policy. He has spoken instead about “extreme vetting” of people from certain countries, although he did not say what those countries would be.

Nato

Mr Trump has castigated Nato (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) as obsolete and characterised its members as ungrateful allies who benefit from US largesse. He says America can no longer afford to protect countries in Europe – and in Asia – without adequate compensation, suggesting he would withdraw American forces unless they pay up. In one sense, he is simply voicing longstanding US concerns about most Nato members not meeting their goal of spending at least 2% of GDP on defence, although some have questioned whether he would step away from a military alliance that has been cornerstone of the country’s foreign policy for more than 60 years.

Russia

Mr Trump has said he believes he can ease tensions with President Vladimir Putin, and has praised him as a strong leader with whom he would love to have a good relationship. He’s said little about what this might involve beyond a desire for a joint fight against the Islamic State militants. But he intends to find out if the Russians would be “reasonable”, confident that he could better command Mr Putin’s respect than Hillary Clinton or President Obama.

BBC

Leave a Reply