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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Forest - The Week After The Election and The Future

There are numerous impacts and implications of the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States as of right now, the last few weeks of the Obama administration, in the intermediate term, the beginning of the Trump administration, and in the longer term. As this is a Foreign Policy related blog, I will not address impacts that are solely domestic in nature, including on a number of social issues, many of which are primarily because a Republican and not a Democrat was elected. Also of importance is understanding Nationalism and Nativism as well as Internationalism.

A political principle which advocates a greater political or economic cooperation among nations and peoples, and whose ideological roots can be traced to both socialism and liberalism.

The Cold War was fought between Internationalist regimes, The West, led by America, and the USSR. The West was/is a Liberal Internationalist regime. The USSR was a Communist Socialist Internationalist regime. The Cold War was a battle for influence on other nations between the two.

Internationalism led to the creation of the League of Nations, the United Nations, and to other international organizations promoting cooperation, including defense organizations such as NATO and the Warsaw Pact.

American politics were primarily disputes between Liberal Internationalists.

The left stressed social issues and advocated for economic policies influenced by socialism. The right stressed capitalism based economic issues and advocated for more religiously conservative social policies. Both stressed the need to uphold liberty and to engage with the broader world to influence it.

Nationalists and Nativists, who oppose the general direction of Liberal Internationalists, periodically came on the scene to influence policies, usually working to limit immigration, but have never held the Presidency, until now.

A Nationalist is a person who advocates for the political independence of a country from other nations and for it to promote its interests. There are many subcategories. This is the umbrella definition.

White Nationalists and other Ethnic-Nationalists are Nationalists, but not all Nationalists are White Nationalists or other Ethnic-Nationalists. Those are more extreme versions of Nationalism.

A Nativist is a person who advocates protecting the interests of "native born" or "established" residents of a country against those of immigrants.

White Supremacists and other Ethnic-Supremacists are Nativists, but not all Nativists are White Supremacists or Ethnic-Supremacists. Those are extreme versions of Nativism.

There are some significant policy implications that come from the change from Internationalism to Nationalism. Consider these differences:

From an Internationalist perspective, NATO was essential to create because it helped to unite a group of allies against a group of enemies. The alliance was/is more important than any of its parts.
From a Nationalist perspective NATO is only essential if it benefits the United States against its enemies. The alliance is not more important than the interests of the United States.

It is notable that while the USSR was an Internationalist regime, Russia, led by Vladimir Putin, is a Nationalist and Nativist regime. Where the USSR cared about Socialist and Communist countries, Russia cares for ethnic Russians and Russian interests. Putin has stated this quite clearly in regard to Crimea and the situation in Syria.

Back to the American election results and their implications.

Impact of the 2016 US Elections

As of right now, the following is true for the last few weeks of the Obama administration:
  • There will be no expectation of the continuity of American foreign policy from this administration into the next as there was not between the Bush and Obama administrations. Previously, policy would be expected to shift somewhat when there is a change in administration within the same party and somewhat more when it is between parties. Now, there is an expectation of potentially significant policies changes even in regard to long established policy positions.
  • It is now highly unlikely that President Obama would now consider allowing the United Nations Security Council to pass any proposals critical of Israel because the Trump administration is likely to be much less considerate of working within the United Nations framework going forward and providing an excuse for the new administration to disregard UNSC decisions or to act directly against them would harm the UN significantly, undermining its credibility and authority. In other words, while a UNSC resolution critical of Israel would be harmful to Israel, allowing such a resolution to pass could end up in serious long term damage being done to the United Nations as well.
  • The US will not be able to engage more significantly in the conflicts in Syria or Iraq.
  • Turkey, Russia, the Assad regime, the Sunni Rebels, the Kurds, the Iraqi government and Iran will all be lobbying the Trump administration hoping for continued support for their position, increased support, or a major shift in policy. None are certain of what will happen.

In the Intermediate Term:
  • The perspective has shifted from Internationalism to Nationalism and Nativism.
  • US Policy will shift in strong opposition to the Muslim Brotherhood, including against its affiliates in the United States. The biggest losers here will be the Council of American-Islamic Relations CAIR and potentially the Islamic Society of North America ISNA.
  • The US will more strongly enforce the nuclear agreement with Iran.
  • Egypt, as a nationalist anti-Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic State regime, will become a closer ally of the US.
  • Saudi Arabia will be happy with US positions in regard to its enemies, Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood, but will find itself under more criticism for financial support of Sunni based terrorism.
  • Israel will see US pressure toward peace removed, but EU pressure increased, especially if internal coalition politics move policy toward the right.
  • The US-Russia relationship will improve in relation to fighting the Islamic State and Sunni terrorists.
  • America will likely more strongly enforce, rather than end, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action JCPOA; a.k.a. The Iran Nuclear Deal.
  • US relations with China will become more confrontational in the Pacific and over trade as the United States reasserts its interests.
  • American relations with Mexico as well as other Central and South American nations will be strained over immigration and trade.
  • US relations with Turkey will be strained over the administration's stance on the Muslim Brotherhood and may be worsened by stronger support of the Kurds.
  • US policy in regard to climate change will become fully skeptical. That said, the bigger impact on climate change will come from the shift from Internationalism to Nationalism. Concerns that primarily impact other nations or which have solutions that significantly harm Americans will no longer receive priority. The primary concern will be jobs in West Virginia, not sea level rise in Pacific Island nations.
  • Conservation and local environmental issues will get a boost. Nationalists may not be concerned with sea level rise across the world, but they are relatively more concerned about the preservation of and quality of their local environment. So local water quality advocates for example may not only maintain importance but even find new allies and increased attention.
  • Stronger border security will be developed between the US and Mexico. This may not be a "wall" but include fencing and other security measures to both deter illegal immigration and smuggling. Longer term solutions will include increased immigration enforcement and likely substantial growth of the Immigration and Naturalization Service INS.

The Longer Term:
  • We can expect to have challenges to Liberal Internationalism on both sides of the political spectrum in elections in over the next decade. On the left, Liberal Internationalism will face increasing challenge from Socialist Internationalists led by Bernie Sanders and his followers. On the right, Liberal Internationalism will face continued challenges from Nationalists and Nativists in future elections just as in this one.
  • Military alliances will become less stable because governments involved in Europe or the United States may not share the common values that underpinned Liberal Internationalism, whether progressive or conservative.
  • The nature of the Republican and Democratic parties could change substantially and challenges within either party could now come from the political center as each moves further away from it. Either party moving toward the center in the next election could potentially capture a significant majority of the vote.
  • The United States must now be considered a potentially short term ally, only able to make strategic alliance commitments for the remaining term of any sitting President due to the extent of foreign policy swings between administrations.
  • Should a combination of fiscal conservatism and support for the military continue, the US military will be better prepared for operations.
  • The United Nations will be weakened with neither Russia, nor the United States led by internationalists.
  • The overall political sphere will become more chaotic as pressure from internationalist superpowers continues to lessen and individual nations and ethnic groups take up their own causes.