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EDITORIAL: Fear of Trump’s presidency


BARBADOS NATION

EDITORIAL: Fear of Trump’s presidency

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INAUGURATION DAY FOR the 45th president of the United States is just two days away.

Rather than an air of excitement and eager anticipation normally associated with this event, the occasion is being overshadowed by great uncertainty and even panic across the world.

Donald Trump is set on becoming the most powerful man in the world, but he remains a very divisive figure. His promise of unifying his country remains a hollow echo.

The crude behaviour he exemplified during the election campaign has become his hallmark even during the transition period. His disdain of those who criticise him and his ideas are evident given his frequent outburst of condemnation. What is more worrisome is that his close aides seem so willing to defend his nonsense.

In a country where citizens cherish the right to varying viewpoints his term as president will be marked by many public confrontations. He will be lampooned by the satirists and his every action reviewed by an unfettered media.

But Trump is an impulsive personality who relishes the spotlight, good or bad, and clearly wants to play by his own rules. So he dismisses the United Nation’s Security Council because it points to the illegality of Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories; he denigrates the US intelligent agencies and denounces NATO as being irrelevant while he wants to roll back the long-standing one-China policy. Yet, astonishingly he holds the implacable Russian president Vladimir Putin in high esteem.

Not only America’s allies in Europe but leaders worldwide, whether in politics, commerce or the environment, will be watching and hoping that when Trump moves from his towers in New York to the White House in Washington DC he becomes a more pragmatic individual. After all, he will be leading the most powerful nation and not running his private business empire.

His comments can create tensions in the Middle East, South East Asia or any other part of the world as they can also disrupt the financial markets beyond New York. His actions can put the world back into those terrible tension-filled days of the Cold War and give hope to far right fringe groups.

The only reassurance nervous Americans and anxious people elsewhere will have is that what Trump says and tweets may not be what will emerge. The contradictions emerging during the confirmation hearings of some of his key national security appointees have highlighted vast differences of opinion.

But Trump is a man with a clear agenda. Along with his Republican-controlled Congress, there seems to be a clear determination to unravel as many of outgoing president Barack Obama’s initiatives as possible. The coming years may be particularly testing forminorities in the United States, from the LBGT community to pro-parenthood, from African-Americans to Muslims.

The outlook under a Trump presidency does not look rosy. There is already anxiety worldwide.

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