Saturday, November 5, 2016
For the past few months, the debates and speculations have been intensifying, so much that one would wonder if he follows a major political decision or a scenario of a television drama series.
As usual, it comes down to the two main political powerhouses of the USA; the Republican and the Democratic parties. With Donald Trump becoming the first party's nominee, Senator Hilary Clinton is the Democrat's choice after defeating Senator Saunders.
The campaigns got really ugly, with "hits" both above and bellow the waste coming from both sides, that I personally forgot what each candidate originally promised or is standing for.
In general the European media portrayed Trump as an anti-immigration, conservative, populist, wealthy "outsider," while Clinton is representative of the establishment and more mainstream politics, while being cheered as potentially the first woman president in US history.
Here in the other side of the Atlantic, it was mainly the "juicy" scandals and controversies that made the headlines regarding these elections. Clinton's e-mail gaffe, in which she used her personal address rather a government one for communicating state affairs, plus her funding from countries like Saudi Arabia-with poor human rights records, or her handling of the Benghazi tragedy grabbed our attention.
On the other hand, Trump was involved in so many controversies, that one would wonder how he continues being a candidate. From misogynist comments, to anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant and xenophobic, his tax returns secrecy, openly supporting leaders like Putin, sexual misconduct accusations; the list could go on.
But somehow, nothing seems to put him out of the contest and secure Clinton's victory. It looks that people in both sides of the Atlantic, are fed up with mainstream politics and prefer to trust any outsider in hope that something will change.
And so far, little has been said about how the outcome is going to influence Europe. Being America's closest ally, our continent will inevitably be affected by who becomes America's next president. In addition as the US is the world's only "super-power," its foreign policy concerns us all.
The most possible scenarios for Europe will be those; the "devil that we know"as if Clinton gets elected, things between US and our continent will remain pretty much the same and stable.
Or we will have to deal with a very new and unpredictable reality if Trump wins; once he sticks to all that he says of course and doesn't backtrack on everything when he gets in the White House.
We have seen that happening in Greece,where people were fed with promises by the Left wing Syriza party that obviously could not be kept, since the previous governments already signed bail-out deals.
Similarly, we could assume that Trump will not deliver all his promises and that he uses populism, just to get elected. In the case of Britain recently, the UKIP led campaigns resulted in the country opting to leave the EU, yet we saw their leadership quitting soon after the result.
If Trump is the "inexperienced demagogue" that his opponents claim him to be, we could be seeing a very short Republican presidency.
Yet provided that he manages to deliver what he campaigns for, then we could have a very protectionist America, with a strong anti-immigrant sentiment that could spill over to Europe and other regions.
His tolerance of Putin could mean trouble for Europe, or on the other hand end the decades old stand off, if the two of them manage to work and smooth their differences. Although it is unclear how this new status will affect our continent.
The NATO alliance may particularly be affected, since Trump clarified that America won't be willing to protect its allies, unless they are prepared to contribute more into the alliance's budget. Then Europe will have no choice but to create its own army, investing more in a single defense mechanism.
Outspoken and not as diplomatic in his speeches or approach, Mr. Trump could introduce us to a new era of international politics, that will certainly influence Europe's too. We might be seeing an empowerment of nationalist, protectionist or even Far-Right parties gaining even more power across Europe, dividing it further.
Another outcome of a potential Trump's victory, is that America could become more isolationist, weakening the West's influence. That could lead to a more multi-polarized world, with new emerging powers filling the gap.
This is not particularly a bad thing, as long as Europe and other Western nations step in to safeguard their interests in the globe. But if they do not, we could be seeing the end of the world as we know it, with a declining Western influence and inevitably civilization.
The only way Europe could keep safe and strong, if Trump sticks to what he promised during his campaign, is to unite further to avoid the bumpy road ahead of Trump's victory; he will definitely shake things up.
A multi-polar world may be a good outcome, that could lead to more equality among its regions. Yet all of us which comprise the Western democracies, will need to learn to live outside America's protective wing, but also shadow.
That can be scary and dangerous as any change. But if Europe manages to cope and steps up its efforts for a greater say and responsibilities in the world stage, then this new reality could become an opportunity for us.
Clinton on the other hand will most likely stick to what are used to from the US, either some times we criticize and complain about it, or not. NATO and the West's military, political, cultural and commercial supremacy will continue, at all costs with the ways already known to us.
She is experienced and she has worked in the US government with different roles for decades now. She might belong to an elite of family political dynasties, that have ruled America and inevitably the world for decades, but she won't rock the boat. Thus, there will be little change of direction in our world.
This sounds less worrying and poses little threat to our way of doing things and what we are used to. The point is, is where we are satisfactory, fair and functioning for all of us enough, to not want to radically alter the status quo? And in the end of the day, it is not up to us decide.