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Americas and Europe
On the morning of Donald Trump’s election victory, Britain’s Daily Mirror devoted its front page to a picture of an uncontrollably sobbing Statue of Liberty. The Lady had snuffed out the torch and dispensed with the tablet; covered her tear-filled face in shame with both hands; and was asking: “What have they done?”  
 

 

A spectre is haunting Eurasia — the spectre of Donald Trump, who has threatened to overturn the core principles of American strategy towards Europe and Asia since the end of the Second World War. Chancelleries across Eurasia, from Paris to Tokyo, Brussels to Singapore and Berlin to Seoul, are scrambling to come to terms with the entirely unexpected victory of Trump.

 

Two things fascinated me most about the American election. The first was that, as with India in 2014, media pundits, pollsters and the educated class in general proved that they were completely disconnected from ordinary voters.

 

With his stunning victory, Donald Trump is not only about to become America’s 45th president – a statement scarcely believable in itself – but has set off an earthquake that will transform US politics and plunge the existing global order into uncertainty. 

With his stunning victory, Donald Trump is not only about to become America’s 45th president – a statement scarcely believable in itself – but has set off an earthquake that will transform US politics and plunge the existing global order into uncertainty. 

 

My father came to America from India in 1967, and my mother came soon after in 1972. America was different then. These were the early days of American immigration, as President Lyndon B. Johnson had opened the America’s “gates” to foreigners in 1965.

 
Many in the US and around the world will have some difficulty in getting used to President Donald Trump. Yet his stunning victory over the favourite Hillary Clinton proved the polls wrong yet again.  
 

At some level, we still believed in the American dream, that the US could be “a city upon a hill” watched by the world as an example. For sure, we raged against its hypocrisies, foreign wars and domestic and international boorishness. But we never looked to China, to Russia or for that matter to Europe for our vision of the future. We looked to America, and we hoped its people might make a more perfect nation, a greater experiment in human living. Today, that dream is over. We are all riding the Trump train, and it may be taking us to disasters yet unknown.

 
Donald Trump's first speech as US President didn't shed much light on his foreign policy priorities, except for a stray statement that sounded like a shot across the bows of unnamed external enemies.  “America will no longer settle for anything less than the best,” he told the outside world. Most of his focus remained on Americans who had handed him an upset victory.

 

 
 

At the earliest opportunity, it will be advisable for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take the initiative to reach out to Mr. Trump so that the American President-elect is sensitised to the strategic interests that bind India and the U.S., and the multifaceted nature of the relationship between the two nations including its regional and global relevance. The ‘golden hour’ to do this may be even before the inauguration of the new President in January 2017.

 

Donald Trump has shifted the tectonic plates of politics in a way unprecedented in the annals of electoral history. He was an outsider to politics. His party, while never in open revolt, did not quite know what to do with him. His personal record would, in any other world, create a mountain of electoral vulnerabilities. 

 


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