Way forward as Trump turns America inward

India must prepare for his buy-American-hire-American protectionism

Written by C. Raja Mohan | New Delhi | Published:January 21, 2017 4:44 am
Trump. Trump news, Donald Trump news, Trump India, Trump inauguration, Trump inauguration day, US India, India US, Washington, Washington news, US news, World news Donald Trump arrives for his inauguration as the 45th President of the United States at the Capitol in Washington Friday. (Source: Reuters)

In a powerful appeal to American nationalism and a clarion call to put “America First,” the new President of the United States Donald J Trump has promised to upend America’s long standing commitments to economic globalisation, open borders and expansive internationalism.

As Trump’s America turns inward and redefines its role in the world, India must limit the many negative consequences to its current economic engagement with the United States. At the same time, it must seize the new opportunities for strategic cooperation with Washington by shedding past inhibitions.

Trump. Trump news, Donald Trump news, Trump India, Trump inauguration, Trump inauguration day, US India, India US, Washington, Washington news, US news, World news Donald Trump takes the oath of office as his wife Melania and his children Barron, Ivanka, Eric and Tiffany watch at the US Capitol on Friday. (Source: Reuters)

Affirming America’s protectionist turn, Trump said: “We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders.”

In a dramatic twist to the prolonged war on terror, Trump has reaffirmed the commitment to work with Russia and other civilised nations to wipe “radical Islamic terror” from the face of earth.”

None of these themes was a surprise from Trump. Through his presidential campaign during 2016, Trump had pounded away on these issues. Given the profound and entrenched opposition in Washington to Trump’s unorthodox views, many had hoped that Trump will moderate and finesse his positions. In choosing not to walk back, Trump has set himself on the ambitious course to change America’s economic and political trajectory after the Second World War.

Trump. Trump news, Donald Trump news, Trump India, Trump inauguration, Trump inauguration day, US India, India US, Washington, Washington news, US news, World news George W Bush, Hillary and Bill Clinton wait for the ceremony to start. (AP Photo)

Trump’s new vision for America would demand some serious rethinking of the approach to the US in India at the political as well as policy level. For long, the Indian elites have either criticised the US for forcing globalisation down the throat of other peoples and of intervening in the name of promoting political values like democracy. They will now have to deal with Trump who will have none of this.

Trump has delivered a stinging criticism of globalisation and the much cherished American leadership of the global order. Trump declared, “we’ve enriched foreign industry, subsidised the armies of other countries, while allowing for the sad depletion of our military. We’ve defended other nation’s borders while refusing to defend our own.”

Unveiling a new vision that is bound to send a chill down the spine of many chancelleries around the world, Trump said from now on, “every decision on trade, taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers.We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs.”

Trump identified two simple rules for the new America: “buy American, hire American.”

Trump. Trump news, Donald Trump news, Trump India, Trump inauguration, Trump inauguration day, US India, India US, Washington, Washington news, US news, World news Trump and Obama meet before the inauguration ceremony. (Source: Reuters)

India must not only prepare for a more protectionist America, but also prepare for a United States that does not plan to mess around with other people’s affairs or squander blood and treasure in the name of promoting democratic values. “We do not seek to impose our way of life on any one, but rather to let it shine as an example.”

During the campaign and since, Trump had trashed America’s old alliances like the NATO. Tonight he said, “we will reinforce old alliances and form new ones and unite the civilised world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate from the face of the Earth.” This is an extraordinary formulation that promises to transform US approach to friends and partners around the world.

Trump is not defining himself here as the leader of the “free world” or the “West.” Instead he is talking of uniting “the civilised world” and it quite clearly includes Russia. Trump has always insisted that Russia can be a partner in the fight against against ISIS and other extremist groups.

For eight years, Obama did not use the term “international terrorism.” His preference was for “violent extremism.” That terminological change alone underlines the prospects for a dramatic shift in the way Trump’s America might think about the nature of most important threats and the partnerships that are needed to counter them.

By any measure, Trump’s speech tonight marks a bold and unambiguous repudiation of the long standing beliefs in the American establishment about the United States and its role in the world. His questioning of the costs of globalisation, open borders and an interventionist foreign policy has struck a chord with a large number of voters.

Trump. Trump news, Donald Trump news, Trump India, Trump inauguration, Trump inauguration day, US India, India US, Washington, Washington news, US news, World news Broken windows after protests turned violent in Washington on Friday. (AP Photo)

There is indeed an outside chance that Trump might be able to reinvent America’s international engagement and reorder its domestic politics. He has room indeed to build a bipartisan coalition on limiting free trade, modernising America’s infrastructure and on pursuing more modest foreign policy goals.

To be sure, Trump’s vision will face enormous resistance from the establishment. But then Trump has presented himself as an outsider ready to fight the establishment to make things work for the American people. This, in turn, sets the stage for a vigorous political contestation for America’s future direction in the next four years.

For outsiders, there is probably only one guidance to understanding Trump’s America: the past is not a good guide for the future.

(C. Raja Mohan is Director, Carnegie India, Delhi and a consulting editor on foreign affairs for The Indian Express)

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  1. S
    Satendra kumar
    Jan 21, 2017 at 2:12 am
    The new American President should work towards righteneouss culture and global peace as the worlds economic is globalisating itself.
    Reply
    1. B
      brahmins r
      Jan 21, 2017 at 3:10 am
      There is a very secret organization in the USA called HSS the American branch of RSS TERRORISTS OF INDIA. One of the first 100 day job is to totally destroy such branches of Brahmin Terrorist Organizations operating cowardly in the USA. lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Brahmin American Foundationlt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Brahmin Suyam seva Sangh(Brahmin self-stimulation service)
      Reply
      1. g
        guru592006
        Jan 21, 2017 at 2:41 am
        If you remove islamic terroism which is international all other terroism if any will also vanish.
        Reply
        1. g
          guru592006
          Jan 21, 2017 at 2:43 am
          In india, if you pray to any other god other than Hindu god, then you are a secular. Hence. Trumb is also secular
          Reply
          1. J
            jiban
            Jan 21, 2017 at 2:23 am
            Brahmangt;Muktgt;Bharat lt;br/gt;who ever you are, you have an IQ of a squirrel
            Reply
            1. J
              jiban
              Jan 21, 2017 at 2:22 am
              Why should we blame Trump. Look at us. There are mive import duties or taxes . Every imported product is 5 times more. In other words we have to be happy with sub standard indian goods.
              Reply
              1. G
                George Cruz
                Jan 21, 2017 at 2:41 am
                The countries who fear from the US President Trump's new policies are China, China, and China. Trump again reiterated the US determination to counter the Chinese aggression in South China Sea and to counter the maniting currency by China and hence cheating the world. Trump also put on notice the Islamic terror around the globe by quoting ""We will eradicate the Islamic terror from the face of the globe".
                Reply
                1. L
                  Lovely
                  Jan 30, 2017 at 8:12 am
                  Because of Duds like
                  Reply
                  1. L
                    Lovely
                    Jan 30, 2017 at 8:11 am
                    Either you are Lefties or Congi or
                    Reply
                    1. J
                      juvawabini
                      Jan 21, 2017 at 8:24 am
                      S­t­a­r­t­­­­­­­­­­ y­o­u­r­­­­­­­­­ h­o­m­e­­­­­­­­ b­u­s­i­n­e­s­s­­­­­­­­­ r­i­g­h­t­­­­­­­­­ n­o­w. Spend­­­­­­ more­­­­­­ time­­­­­­ with­­­­­­ your­­­­­­ family­­­­­­ and­­­­­­ earn. Start­­­­­­ bringing­­­­­­ $60/hr­­­­­­ just­­­­­­ on­­­­­­ a­­­­­­ computer. Very­­­­­­ easy­­­­­­ way­­­­­­to­­­­­­ make­­­­­­ your­­­­­­ life­­­­­­ happy­­­­­­ and­­­­­­ earning­­­­­­ continuously. Start­­­­­­ here””­­­­­­....SD!46lt;br/gt;#######gt; WWW.homejobs7.COM
                      Reply
                      1. A
                        Arun
                        Jan 21, 2017 at 4:23 am
                        Good and hope that Trump does what he is saying..It is not protectionism another chinese media propagation.dia doesn't lose anything as they support night operations..And many US companies are worldwide so I don't see any issue for India.. The impact is for China..Now Indian companies don't cheat their employees by paying cheap ries and they will not replace local Americans..
                        Reply
                        1. M
                          mahesh
                          Jan 21, 2017 at 7:32 am
                          How come only you have this information?
                          Reply
                          1. M
                            mtv
                            Jan 21, 2017 at 5:49 am
                            It is worth for Modiji to meditate a line from Trump's inaugural speech "When America is united, America is totally unstoppable". I wish Modi can repeat it in his heart than merely from lips with a change "When India is united, India is totally unstoppable".
                            Reply
                            1. B
                              Babu
                              Jan 21, 2017 at 8:32 am
                              Follow Mr. Trump and "Boycott all Chinese products" Now! Half of the world's problems will be solve very quickly.
                              Reply
                              1. R
                                RKBHAT
                                Jan 21, 2017 at 6:39 am
                                wake up.trump will be after you and RSS WILL NOT LET YOU DIE.
                                Reply
                                1. S
                                  Sasi
                                  Jan 21, 2017 at 2:33 am
                                  India without importing foreign machinery cannot manufacture high standard products.. go to USA and see.. everything in US is a made in some country other than USA.. Made in USA Is always and will be of high cost.. lt;br/gt;lt;br/gt;Do you have money to buy quality products made in India???
                                  Reply
                                  1. S
                                    Sasi
                                    Jan 21, 2017 at 2:34 am
                                    Non-Brahmangt;Mukth gt; Bharatlt;br/gt;Non-Brahmans are the cusrse of India.. See the state of INdia in hands of so called secular non-brahmans..
                                    Reply
                                    1. V
                                      Vedic_Citizen
                                      Jan 21, 2017 at 1:22 am
                                      Best of luck to Trump team. All secular nations should work together against Islamic Jihad on infidels, a threat to humanity
                                      Reply
                                      1. S
                                        S.Singal
                                        Jan 21, 2017 at 7:22 am
                                        यह तो हमारे फेंकू से भी दूर फेंकता है.
                                        Reply
                                        1. T
                                          Thrinethran T
                                          Jan 21, 2017 at 4:57 am
                                          With the rapidly growing workforce, our focus must be in generating ideas, developing skills to develop our own products and to create jobs. Trump is an alarm-bell telling us to look out for ourselves. If well-placed US is ready to try the tough options, we have little choice but to create the right conditions.
                                          Reply
                                          1. V
                                            Vsl Narasimham
                                            Jan 21, 2017 at 4:48 am
                                            Are you an Islamic terrorist? Seems so. Trump will definitely take care of you, wherever you are..beware!
                                            Reply
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