It’s time to see the strong possibility of a second term of Donald Trump as United States President. There are no other Republican or Democrat competitors who currently have a remote chance.
What Would The World Look Like?
There may be nothing New Zealand can do about it, but Donald Trump is degrading so many norms so fast it’s important to track them six years into the future. A second term under President Trump will mean quite a lot to us.
We should expect to see disruptive and extensive trade wars from the United States against the European Union and China. I’m not even daring to think about the vulnerability of a small trading nation such as ourselves at this prospect – it’s hard to imagine because we’ve never been anything except pro-trade and this degree of belligerent protectionism from the U.S. hasn’t been seen in living memory. Suffice to say that this is the highest rising sea we have seen on the horizon since the U.K. cut us adrift in the 1960s.
We may yet see the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation dissolved. Who knows maybe a specific European defence force will arise from the pieces, but that is no certainty in such a mood of E.U. distrust of cooperation. The Balkan nations, Ukraine, Finland, and Georgia would again be vulnerable to greater Russian predation. The British Defence Forces view Russia as their most serious threat.
The head of NATO views the United States belligerence as the most pressing threat to the existence of NATO.
The European Union
President Trump’s hostility to the E.U. is hardly a secret. We know he has no idea what the European project is fundamentally about. His policies leave little doubt that he wouldn’t care if it disintegrated altogether. After Britain leaves the E.U. in expected total disarray, we should expect to see a full-throated attack from the U.S. on the unity of the European Union as a whole including weaponising the U.S. dollar against the Euro. Although the United States should be careful how it operates with respect to China.
President Trump declared in his 2017 Warsaw speech that the fundamental question of our time is “whether the West has the will to survive.” He declared that question the “most important of his presidency.” That speech contained nothing less than a redefinition of the west as a nationalist, Christian entity pitted against the barbarians.
He doesn’t often do big set-piece speeches, so it’s worth reminding ourselves of his view of western civilisation broadly through the full text.
In particular, the policy area President Trump and most European nations agree on is stopping illegal immigration. In a few years of repetition most will be inured to footage of children in cages.
President Trump and so many European leaders have for nearly a decade hit the voter-cornucopia of immigration, and no political figure on the left has yet generated any popular response.
The only leaders who will engage or really care about climate change will be corporations and a few NGOs. The issue is of no consequence to Trump, and he has successfully eradicated it from U.S. politics and hence from the discourse of most of the global mainstream media.
We should expect to see the United States mutate. It will aim to defeat tolerant and univeralist values such as those within the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights. We should expect the U.S. to withdraw quickly from membership of the U.N. Human Right Council. [MS – and it has] Many other countries openly flaunt these values, and some of them are sitting members of this council, but the United States used to be more reliable. Some may say good riddance, until they remember that the U.S. was the primary country that formed the United Nations itself together with those universal declarations of human rights.
President Trump will try all he can to check the rise of China, and he will fail. Prime Ministers Helen Clark and John Key have situated New Zealand particularly smartly there. It is the rise of China and all who support China, that may enable New Zealand survive and prosper away from the United States era of Trump.
This is a leader generating the most powerful global disruptions to politics since Gorbachev.
The remains of the left in politics – until they can form a leader or set of leaders who successfully challenge Trump – need to support the international cooperation, the institutions built on that cooperation, and the good that they have on balance achieved, against Donald Trump and all those who support him.
Because right now Donald Trump is going to be politically effective as far as the eye can see.