Since announcing his presidential bid in mid-June 2015, Trump prevailed over long odds, overcoming huge obstacles to reach the brink of becoming America’s 45th president on January 20 – an astonishing story, where it goes from here yet to be determined.
With no public record on which to judge him, his agenda is as much guesswork as likely expectations – with one thing known for certain.
US presidents are fronts for powerful interests running America, intolerant of anyone changing longstanding policy.
Trump is under enormous pressure and threats to continue dirty business as usual or else. Defiance could get him undermined, impeached or assassinated – hardline globalist Mike Pence in the wings to replace him, an easy to control establishment figure.
We’ll know more about Trump’s intentions during his first hundred days in office, much more months later. Campaign rhetoric is one thing, presidential decision-making another.
Lofty promises are meaningless without supportive actions. Trump’s domestic policy largely looks easy to predict, socially and economically conservative, including:
business-friendly regulatory reform;
tax cuts for the rich, including repealing estate taxes for high-net worth households;
rebuilding America’s infrastructure;
repealing and replacing Obamacare;
unlimited energy exploration, development and production; and
rejecting one-sided trade deals like TPP, responsible for offshoring millions of America’s best jobs.
With Republicans controlling both houses of Congress, he’ll likely get domestic agenda support – though given budget constraints, perhaps less infrastructure spending than he’d like.
His geopolitical agenda is largely uncertain until his policies become apparent. It’s clear he wants already bloated military spending increased, including expanding America’s nuclear arsenal – unless he and Putin agree to nuclear reduction.
While saying he wants a new role for NATO focused on combating terrorism, he’s unlikely to change how the alliance operated from inception.
Important questions await answers. Will he cooperate with Putin responsibly or maintain longstanding adversarial relations?
Will he combat “radical Islamic terrorism” as promised, or support it like the Clintons, Bush/Cheney and Obama?
He’ll continue drone wars, he said, mostly killing noncombatant men, women, children, the elderly and infirm threatening on one.
He’ll maintain Guantanamo (and likely America’s global torture prison network) instead of shutting it down. He’ll introduce ideological screening tests to suspend immigration from certain countries.
He claims wars on Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya were mistakes he opposed after supporting them earlier. He called failure to seize Iraq’s oil fields poor judgment. “In the old days when we won a war, to the victor go the spoils,” he blustered.
He failed to explain all wars violate core international, constitutional and US statute laws without Security Council authorization. US presidents and Congress have no right to wage them without it – especially against nations posing no threat to America or any other countries.
All ongoing US direct and proxy wars are illegal acts of aggression. Will Trump continue or end them? Will he be a warrior or peace president?
Will he favor diplomacy over endless conflicts? He complained about wasting trillions of dollars, turning the Middle East into a mess, instead of using the funding to rebuild America.
“(W)e don’t have the money because it’s been squandered on so many (wrong) ideas,” he said. Will he change things enough to matter or largely continue current policies?
It’s unknown until he begins serving. He’ll need congressional support to approve his agenda.
Neocon dark forces in Washington will challenge anything diverging from longstanding policy.
Perhaps no matter what he does, he’ll face endless obstacles along the way, his administration seen in hindsight as the most turbulent in US history for as long as it lasts – not a very encouraging assessment for what may lie ahead.