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A Trump World

Thursday, November 10th, 2016
Speaker Onsari Gharti Magar casts her vote during a mock election held at the US Ambassador's residence in Kamalpokhari on Wednesday. Pic: Keshav Thoker

Speaker Onsari Gharti Magar casts her vote during a mock election held at the US Ambassador’s residence in Kamalpokhari on Wednesday. Pic: Keshav Thoker

Donald J Trump’s victory in the US presidential election this week shocked Americans and sent shock waves across the world. Here in Nepal, it had analysts scratching their heads about what it means to Nepal’s place in the world, especially the country’s tight balancing act between India and China.

Will President Trump really follow through on his threats to deport illegal migrants, and how will it affect the US administration’s policy on those seeking political asylum, like the remaining Bhutan refugees?

Trump’s disdain for human rights, his seeming sympathy for Russian President Vladimir Putin and criticism of Barak Obama’s Asian Pivot doctrine vis-à-vis China could dramatically change America’s place in the region. Despite his closeness to Obama, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was one of the first to greet Trump with a warm-hearted message. Some Hindu Indian Americans were vocal supporters of the Trump campaign.

Analysts say an unpredictable change in US foreign policy could affect the political economy of East Asia and the Gulf where 2.5 million Nepalis work and send remittance home. What makes some nervous is the Syria-Iraq conflict spreading, dragging Saudi Arabia and Iran into the fray, and destabilising the region.

“The direct implication of Trump’s victory will be his policy towards migrants and refugees,” says Nischalnath Pandey of the Centre for South Asian Studies. “But what his approach will be towards India and China will also have consequences for Nepal.”

Aside from strategic implications and foreign policy, there is also worry about what impact an inward-looking America will have on US official development assistance and funding of the United Nations and non-governmental groups. The US has been one of Nepal’s major development partners for over 60 years with investment in health, education, food security and post-earthquake reconstruction.

Trump’s win has fueled speculation that US will cut down on development aid across the world, especially given his vocal ridicule of climate change, which he has repeatedly called a “Chinese hoax”.

Bhaskar Koirala of Nepal Institute of International and Strategic Studies says Trump’s pitch to the American electorate has been to make ‘Make America Great Again’, for which his administration would seek to avoid unnecessary and unproductive engagements, including diverting its resources.

“We can expect a scaling down of aid and a re-engagement on traditional bilateral relations that feature more regular high level visits and exchanges and a focus on business promotion between the two countries,” Koirala says, adding that Nepal could assume greater importance under Trump because of its geo-strategic location between India and China.

Trump’s victory has upset liberals the world over, and comes at a time when Nepal itself is debating amendments in the new Constitution to meet demands from Madhesi and other groups on federalism, citizenship and electoral rules.

There has been an outpouring of nationalistic rhetoric in the past week after an unofficial Constitution amendment bill that seemed to be aimed at enabling naturalised Nepali citizens to be eligible for the posts of President and Speaker. Nepal, too, appears more divided than ever before, just like Trump’s America.

Om Astha Rai and Smriti Basnet 


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4 Responses to “A Trump World”

  1. Anonimous on Says:

    Institutionalized racism.

  2. Glenn Harper on Says:

    As an American, I apologize for the fear and uncertainty our election of Mr. Trump is causing all over the world. Since he has held both sides of every issue over the past several years, there is no telling what he really plans to do, and what are lies to appeal to the fears, anger and hatred of the many discontented voters who lacked discernment of his self-serving nature.

    What is wrong with the USA is that money rules the politicians, and love of money trumps love of people. We have many laws and techniques to protect rich people’s money, but we have no such laws to protect poor people’s interests.

    It is my hope that Nepal can avoid falling into the “money pit” on its way to forming a better government for the citizens of your beautiful land.

  3. lotus hater on Says:

    How bad can the upcoming POTUS be when compared to our LOTUS??
    If the fierce one can murder thousands of people, take the PM job twice and still gift us misery and insults, why worry about someone who is so far away??

  4. anonymous on Says:

    Nepalese inside of America will suffer more exclusion and racism. In Nepal the China is more in command we believe. See what happened in Hong Kong.

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