by Saurabh Dubey

He came..he saw..he....disrupted the world order. Yes, you guessed it right, President Trump has jolted the global status quo and believes more in the notion of quid pro quo. Notoriously narcissistic, itchy Twitter finger, utterly transactional in diplomacy, politically incorrect and incoherent and un-apologetically unorthodox..are some of the words that come to the mind describing the man who wants to ‘Make America Great Again’. Dodging one political bullet after the other both at home and abroad, Trump has certainly proved that he’s a tough nut to crack. He has the proverbial nine lives of a cat, a luxury not accorded to many in politics. From allegations of paying hush money to conceal an alleged affair with an adult movie star to the collusion of his political peers in the Russian meddling in the 2016 US elections, this guy takes a hit and just doesn’t go down or hasn’t gone down....yet!

The way the things had been going around the world, certainly needed a good dose of Trump tonic. The US, especially needed a President like him to make them realize, that the misguided policies of the previous administrations and that of the US allies were pushing the world to a tipping point (case in point, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya and the spawning of Islamic State and the migrant crisis). And what happens when you keep pursuing such reckless policies, instead of getting blowback in instalments, you get it in a lump sum and Trump’s policies are the dividends of the past policies, this time just more magnified.

From enforcing the travel ban on six Muslim majority countries, to scrapping the Iran nuclear deal, to ordering to rain down Tomahawk missiles on a Syrian air base suspected of being the source of an alleged chemical attack, to shifting the US embassy to Jerusalem, wait for it.....meeting Kim Jong Un. The Indo-Pacific is also witnessing a great churn, with the US promising to keep a steady drum beat of exercises in the South China Sea. Last but not the least, the proposed Trump-Putin Summit on July 16 in Helsinki, Finland could bring more surprises, good or bad it remains to be seen. Not to mention levying trade tariffs on Canada, Mexico, China, European Union (EU) and India!! Pulling out of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), renegotiating North America Fee Trade Agreement (NAFTA), it’s a long list of ‘achievements’, if one can call that. Who can forget the amusing photograph doing the rounds on social media. Trump sitting with his hands crossed and the other members of the G7 prominently French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel ganging up with other leaders and staring down at Trump! It perfectly summed up the turmoil in the Trans-Atlantic ties. Pardon me if I forgot to add anything above.

Could fortress Europe be crumbling with a little nudge from President Trump? The strong leaders of Western Europe, Monsieur Macron and Fraulein Merkel are at their wits end in handling the migrant crisis, plus they have their respective domestic political fires to douse as well. The rise of populist/nationalist/right wing leaders (case in point Hungary and Italy) has unnerved the European Union. Eastern Europe is steadily falling in the firm orbit of Russia and China, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is fearful of a renewed cold war with the Russian Federation. The most prosperous continent of the world is at crossroads. 

For India his presidency has been a mixed bag. He rightly called out Pakistan’s perfidies and double games by drastically reducing military aid, US was also instrumental in leading the way to place Pak in the grey list of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), sure more can be done to tighten the screws on Pak. Putting its weight behind India’s inclusion in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), were some good moves by the Trump administration. The sticking points too have been many. The Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) conundrum has become an irritant which requires India not to pursue business with sanctioned Russian companies nor purchase defence equipment, especially the S-400 Triumf air defence missile system. To further add to the woes, persistent calls for not buying Iranian oil or doing business with sanctioned Iranian companies has complicated matters. This could translate into problems for the long term viability of trade through Chabahar port. On the Indian IT industry front, the restrictions on the issuance of the H1B visas has also been a bone of contention. Last but not the least, the levying of tariffs on Indian goods in a frenzied bid to lessen US trade deficit has invited counter tariffs on goods imported from the US. In hindsight the tariff tug of war has led China to consider India for more commodities. 

The world was messed up before Trump entered the White House and the world will be messed up after he leaves. The only question is: what will be the magnitude of the mess?

Saurabh Dubey is a Defence and Strategic Analyst. Views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of IDN. IDN does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same