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Victory For Trump: Time To Move To Another Planet

Posted on 9th November 2016

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It seems that Donald Trump has won the US presidential election, according to this BBC news report.

Brits will probably be experiencing a feeling of déjà vu, as it is so very like the Brexit referendum, where everyone was worried at first, and then relaxed as it looked like the result would turn out OK, only to be shocked when the count was finally in.

Unless all Trump's speeches and policy statements turn out to just be posturing, the world is going to change dramatically:

  • Trump is a climate-change-denier, and wants to de-commit from the Paris climate accord. Expect the USA to increase domestic consumption and exports of coal and oil, and to reduce or completely cancel any financial incentives for the development and deployment of renewable energy. Also, any poorer nations that were hoping for aid from the USA to compensate them for the costs of the change to renewable energy are going to be disappointed. It is even conceivable, although unlikely, that the rest of the world may ultimately impose sanctions on the USA for refusal to participate in international action to limit global warming; that would change international politics and trade irreversibly.
  • Trump's famous plan to build a wall to keep out illegal immigrants arriving from Mexico and to get Mexico to pay for it, is not going to improve the relationship with the Mexican government. If the USA wants its southern neighbour to cooperate in limiting illegal immigration, then it needs to maintain friendly relations, otherwise it will be a purely US problem to solve. The fallout from souring relations with Mexico could affect cooperation with all central American nations, and undermine trade deals and the operations of the DEA.
  • Trump's stated admiration for Vladimir Putin is at odds with many nations' positions. The result will be weakening of the sanctions against Russia. Ukraine will no longer have its main supporter in its fight against Russian-backed insurgents, and its attempts (probably doomed anyway) to reclaim the Crimea, or at least get some compensation for its loss. Friendlier relations between the USA and Russia will also remove the brakes (limited though they are) on Russian atrocities in Syria.
  • There are serious concerns about Trump's commitment to NATO. He seems to want to cancel the mutual defence agreement, which is the very basis of NATO. We could be looking at the gradual disintegration of NATO, with the result that European nations will need to spend much more on defence, and Europe will lose the diplomatic muscle that it has traditionally had in dealing with Russia. All of us living in Europe will be more at risk of war or of more Crimea-style annexations of territory.
  • The apparently inevitable souring of relations between the USA and Europe, and between the USA and central America, will have fallout on freedom of travel. Visas will be more difficult to get, for business and vacations, both for Americans visiting elsewhere and for Europeans and central Americans visiting the USA (visa requirements are always handled on a tit-for-tat basis, so a change for travel in one direction will result in a matching change for travel in the other direction).

My guess is that the USA is going to change from being like that supportive big brother, on whom you could count in troubled times, to being that wayward younger sibling whose actions are a constant source of embarrassment, inconvenience and cost.

I think maybe I will get in touch with Elon Musk to see if I can sign up for his Mars colonisation programme.