From immigration to Indo-US ties, here are Trump's views.

Five things Trump said which may indicate future US foreign policyPhoto by Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons
news US politics Wednesday, November 09, 2016 - 15:38

Republican candidate Donald Trump has won the US presidential election in a close contest, beating Democrat Hillary Clinton by a significant margin. Trump has been a controversial figure throughout the election with his statements on immigration, relationship with Russia, nuclear policy and so on. 

Here is a lowdown on five things Trump said during the run up to the polls, which indicate what the United States’ upcoming foreign policy would look like:

1. Immigration

Trump drew ire from various quarters due to his controversial remarks on immigration including the suggestion to build a wall on the Mexican-US border. He even said that he planned to make the Mexicans pay for this wall by “threatening to cut off the flow of billions of dollars in payments that immigrants send home”, according to The Washington Post

In a two-page memo to the publication, Trump said that “immigration is a privilege, not a right”, going on to explain how Mexico is “totally dependent” on the US as a “release valve for its own poverty”, which America can use as leverage. He also proposed to increase the VISA fees as a means to pay for the 1000-mile border wall, the estimated cost of which is ÂŁ22 billion.

He has spoken about mass deportations - as many as 11 million unregistered immigrants - but has since softened his position, saying he is not looking to “hurt people”.

Interestingly, shortly before the election was called in Trump’s favour, The Independent reported that the Canadian immigration website had crashed due to the influx of people looking to leave the country with Trump’s win eminent. 

2. On Muslims and Islamic State

In another extreme statement, Trump also called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States”, and argued that anyone who practiced Islam should be seen as a potential threat.

In various interviews, Trump spoke about the objective to eradicate the Islamic state by “knocking the hell out of them” and that the current approach was only “hitting them once in a while”. 

Highlighted on Trump’s website is his plan to “defeat ISIS”. It entails working with “Arab allies and friends in the Middle East”, defeating ISIS’ ideology like they won the Cold War, establishing “new screening procedures”, reinforcing immigration laws and temporarily suspending “immigration from some of the most dangerous and volatile regions of the world” with a history of “exporting terrorism”, among other things.

3. On nuclear weapons

Trump’s stance on nuclear weapons seems to be in line with the no first use policy without being particularly restrictive.

 In an interview to New York Times he said: “Biggest problem, to me, in the world, is nuclear, and proliferation.” He added that it should be the “absolute last step”. However, Trump ruled out taking nuclear weapons off the table completely. In an interview with the Today show he said while he would be the last person to use nuclear weapons, he would “never rule it out”.

He has also spoken about how the American military is in a bad shape and he wants to make it powerful  again. “We have a military that’s severely depleted. We have nuclear arsenals which are in very terrible shape. They don’t even know if they work,” Trump told NYT. He told the GQ magazine that he would make the American military “so strong and powerful, and respected” that they wouldn’t have to use nuclear weapons.

4. On Indo-US ties

Trump had said at a Republican Hindu Coalition fundraiser that the “Indian and Hindu community will have a true friend in the White House” if he became president and that he looked forward to working with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

Trump’s stance on Pakistan could possibly be beneficial to India: he said in March that India is a check to Pakistan. “You have to get India involved. They have their own nukes, they have a very powerful army. They seem to be the real checkmate,” he told Tolo News, according to NDTV. He also favoured the continued presence of the American army in Afghanistan to prevent Pakistan’s nuclear weapons from falling into wrong hands.

Economic relations with the US may undergo changes as per Elizabeth Roche’s analysis in Livemint, given that Trump sees India in the same category as China – an economic competitor. But with Trump promising to decrease corporate tax rate to 15% from 39%, Indian investors looking to tap into the American market may stand to make gains.  

However, what remains to be seen is how India will stand to gain or lose from Trump’s immigration policy.

5. On relationship with Russia

Trump seems to be looking to work more closely with Russia, especially when it comes to defeating the Islamic State. He even praised Putin at various instances, often dismissing American intel that Russia was behind massive cyber-hacking operations in the US and other Western countries. 

In an interview for On The Issues, he said that he would support NATO but wanted other European countries to take charge; and that he was “not a fan” for the US being against Russia. He also expressed support for Russian occupation and aggression in Syria. “If Putin wants to go and knock the hell out of ISIS, I am all for it, 100%” he said.

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