US President Donald Trump in his first Presidential address has put “America First”, setting the tone for an inward-looking diplomacy that might radically change the course of world events since the Pearl Harbor attack seven decades ago.
“We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital, and in every hall of power. From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first, America first,” he said in his first Presidential speech.
In domestic politics, what President Trump proclaimed was feasible but in international politics, diplomacy varies from capital to capital and region to region. Depending on where he stands, it changes.
To begin with, going westward, America of Trump may seek more from Japan where it has stationed its war fleet round the clock for a sum. Now this has to be a ransom to sustain what Trump wanted. Will Tokyo, stuck in a stagnated economy, tax its citizens more to pay Uncle Sam?
Australia and New Zealand, who fall in line every time an emergency struck the US in the past, may not benefit from America First policy directly but certainly they can look inward for a domestically centred economic push, instead of looking at Washington DC for succour.
Asia is as divided as ever. China may tremble under the pressure of a constant panic button by an erstwhile businessman who may want more concessions or threaten to replete the markets for ever. China may retaliate in many ways including selling its US dollar reserves which are in plenty. This may be an uphill task but once mooted, even the US economy will shake.
India, being a late entrant into the US-dominated international politics after the Cold War, will have to safeguard its Information Technology companies and contracts whether H1B visa is there or not. The time is for Indian honchos to give room to their US counterparts in office space to thwart any direct attack from Trump. It is going to be a roller-coaster ride for Indian IT companies for the next four years.
Pakistan, whose Prime Minister woke up to a sudden phone call from President-elect Trump, may cosy up to the fact that they have to rein in on Islamic leaders either willingly or unwillingly for the next four years. US troops in Afghan border will remain a direct answer to every word that Trump speaks from now onwards. How Taliban in Kabul outskirts reacts to Trump will shape the drone war in the vicinity of Hindukush mountains.
Middle East will remain the major beneficiary from the Trump Administration as long as the Arabs keep their oil wells in tact and hand over the IS agents in return for business considerations. One pointer is that oil prices will be given a push to touch $100 if diplomacy by business is what Trump means.
More of Israel than Iran in Middle East policy will gain currency again. To achieve this, United Kingdom will have to be roped in and NATO alliance has to remain in its place to keep Russia’s Putin in place. US future with Europe is so intertwined that no President can just distance the siblings here.
Africa in the backyard, as usual, with focus on warlords and military mafia who will resurrect terror and attract Trump’s attention eventually tasting his iron-handed approach. Unlike the previous Bush administration, Trump may be forced to involve more in African affairs, for a change now.
Back to borders with other American nations like Mexico, he may build a wall but how much of the cost will be footed by the Mexican drug mafia, if not the Mexican government, will be the major question. Other Latin Americans may wait in the wings for the next administration to take over in 2021.
All said and done, Trump’s slogan remains the same – “Yes, together, we will make America great again.”