What should the world expect from Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump?

Read few comments.


1. In general, except of few exceptions, it seems the world is pretty worried about the prospect of having Donald Trump as the US President. Do you think those concers are justifiable or not and why?

2. Anything why the world should be worried about the possible Presidency of Hillary Clinton?


Erik Jones, Professor of European Studies and International Political Economy, Director of European and Eurasian Studies, Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Johns Hopkins University

1. I think Trump would be a pretty terrible President.  He shows no inclination to do the job.  People should worry about that.  He does not vet his people well either.  There are a lot of areas of concern in that respect.  It is hard to be optimistic about a Trump presidency.  About the best that I can say is that the bureaucracy of the federal government is large enough and sluggish enough that he would find it hard to do anything too crazy.

2. A Clinton Presidency will be problematic because it will usher in a period of heightened social tension.  This is the lesser of two evils (see above) and the tension would be worse if Trump were to win.  It will be bad under Clinton nonetheless.  We will also have conflict between the main institutions of government.  It is hard to get excited about that prospect. We are destroying our political institutions through abuse.  That will worsen under a Clinton Presidency insofar as her foes in the Republican Party show no signs of compromise on either appointments or legislation.  It will be a mess.

David MislanAssistant Professor, School of International Service, American University

1. In many ways, yes, worries about a Trump presidency are justifiable. He shows little understanding of world affairs and even American foreign policy. For example, he insists that the Japanese government does not contribute towards its defense. This is completely false; Japan makes an annual payment to the US government that covers the cost (and then some) of deploying troops in that country. The fact that he does not understand these simple and easily researchable facts is astounding. There is reason to believe that, if elected, he would be extremely difficult for our allies to work with. Beyond personality and intelligence, Donald Trump represents a growing sentiment in American society that is anti-globalization; anti-intervention, and truly inward looking. Americans suffering from a lack of economic opportunity at home are not willing to see their government engage the world; they would rather see it serving their narrow interests. While Trump represents these feelings and while he is unlikely to be elected, this “America first” sentiment is not going to disappear after next week’s election.

2. Hillary Clinton will have to deal with the “America first” movement if she is the next president. This should concern anyone who seeks a reliable American foriegn policy and needs global stability. While Clinton’s foreign policy will closely resemble Barack Obama’s foreign policy, she will have an increasingly difficult time finding consensus among key contituents at home. Unlike Obama, Clinton is more pragmatic and willing to compromise with opposing factions. I would not be surprised if her foreign policy took a more inward, nationalistic character early in her first term. She would not be nearly as extreme as Trump, but it would be in her character to give in to some of the demands that Trump and his supporters are making in order to find common ground on domestic policy. We can see this in her flexibility regarding the TPP. Despite being pro-free trade throughout her career, she reversed her position on the TPP as a presidential candidate. She will bring this type of flexibility to the White House, which means that she will not be as reliable on foreign policy as one might think.

Another thing to note is about the legitimacy of Clinton’s presidency. The most reliable models currently indicate that she will easily win a majority in the Electoral College and become our 45th president. The same models also predict that she will not get a majority of the popular vote. At most, she’ll get 49%. This means that she’ll take office in January with more Americans having voted AGAINST her than for her. This is a quirk of our democratic system, for sure. But, for Clinton, it means that she will not be seen by a majority of Americans as a legitimate leader. Add in the possibility that Donald Trump might not concede to Clinton if he loses, and you have an extremely toxic political environment for Clinton’s first hundred days in office. It will be nearly impossible for her to successfully set an agenda. I would expect to see her struggle to find small political victories, unless something major and unanticipated happens.

Jack GoldstoneProfessor of Public Policy, George Mason University

1. If Donald Trump becomes president, he will be the first President since Dwight D. Eisenhower to have never previously held a political office.    Unlike Eisenhower, Trump has no foreign policy experience or military experience to draw on.  So he will be inexperienced in the extreme.  He is also unpredictable, and has given hints that he may not honor treaties or support allies in need.  So yes, the world is right to be worried.

2. If Clinton becomes President, she will be experienced and ready to rule.  However, she will likely lead a hostile Congress and a divided country.  So the US may still be weaker than it would be if it had a united government and a leader with a clear mandate to lead.  In fact, a hostile Congress may tie up Clinton in investigations, obstruction of her appointments, and showdowns over passing a budget and other needed actions.

So this election – between two very polarizing, disliked candidates – will probably create some problems whoever emerges as the winner.  But a Trump presidency could also alter the nature of US politics and global relations.

Wayne White, Scholar, Middle East InstitutePolicy Expert, Washington’s Middle East Policy Council

1. Sadly, victory by either candidate carries consequences justifying concern abroad.  Clearly, a Trump victory is a lot more worrisome.  During his campaign we heard how aides were going to get him to “pivot” away from bullying, abuse, etc. toward at least more superficially responsible behavior.  He did not, only switching to improved behavior after FBI Director Comey’s “October Surprise” threatening Clinton & causing polls to shift more in favor Trump.  So, not being attacked, Trump has relaxed noticeably.  However, if pressured, confronted, or threatened politically, Trump clearly would return to his far worse, irresponsible side—one reason in a recent appearance he even reminded himself publicly to be calm & professional in so many words.  Yet, he remains a dangerously unpredictable unknown; many Republicans presume he will be restrained by aides should he secure the White House, and some of that probably will happen, but he has shown too often in the campaign that Trump greatly prefers to be the essential Trump:  tossing out accusations, and promising to trash Obamacare, trade deals, immigration, etc. and probably still admiring loathsome foreign leaders like Vladimir Putin.  And, if he wins, that means the US Congress will not shift as much, probably leaving the House of Representatives in Republican hands & denying the Democrats much of an edge in the Senate.  That would leave him free to push for some of those destabilizing initiatives that have Wall Street bracing for losses.

2. If Clinton, wins there could be an immediate destabilizing national crisis.  Trump has announced that only a “rigged” (i.e. corrupt system) could elect her.  He will challenge the result & not concede, a situation that could go on until mid-December.  Despite rapid, courageous & honorable concessions by past defeated presidential candidates, the US presidential election does not formally end until mid-December when the “electors” meet and cast their votes for president.  That leaves about 5 weeks for Trump to cause uncertainty, make angry accusations against Clinton, challenge results, start law suits, with his most extreme followers possibly even refusing to accept the result with local “militias” staking out small areas of defiance.  Worse still, electors in 21 states (including battleground state Florida) are not penalized if they vote in December for the candidate that did not win their state.  This is not just a technicality; it has happened over 200 times in American history, including 1 elector changing her vote from Gore to Bush in 2000.  So if Clinton’s victory is a narrow one in the “electoral college,” Trump can be expected to try to encourage electors in states he lost to vote for him instead of Clinton in December.  This is quite possible and a very ugly scenario.  If Clinton does not win many electoral votes over the magic winning 270, and Trump & Co. can threaten or persuade enough to reverse their expected Clinton votes, the election is thrown into the now sitting Republican House of Representatives where Trump would be voted the winner.

To some degree, these are worse case scenarios, but there is a very real possibility that much of the above could actually happen.

Kurk Dorsey, Professor of History, University of New Hampshire

Sadly, we have a choice between Richard Nixon’s less-accomplished sibling and the town drunk.  Secretary Clinton strikes me as very much like Nixon in that she has a wide secretive streak and a sense of persecution by an elite that never gave her her due.  At the same time, like Nixon, she is basically committed to the global order that’s in place.  Nixon was willing to shake things up with China and warn allies that the US was going to have to pull back, but he did so at a time when the US needed to readjust in large part because of the Vietnam War.  Given her tenure as Secretary of State, I don’t expect her to do anything as dramatic as Nixon did, but she will probably be slightly more aggressive than President Obama.  So I don’t think the world has anything to worry about from Clinton except for people who fear more of the same from the US; I’m less certain that we at home have nothing to fear from her.

Trump, on the other hand, has no precedent.  A large number of Republican foreign policy specialists repudiated him long ago, which is amazing; I can’t think of a similar situation when a party’s nominee had such widespread public opposition among the people he or she would normally look to for guidance on a particular area of policy.  We have had candidates with little foreign policy experience, but they usually refrain from lecturing senators, generals, and high-ranking intelligence and foreign policy framers about how foolish they are.

That repudiation of Trump is a result of three big concerns: 1) Trump takes offense very easily and responds by raising the stakes  2) he has no foreign policy experience and hence says ridiculous things, like the US should have taken Iraq’s oil as payment for the invasion, and is simply unable to take seriously legitimate bi-partisan concern about the Russians and, to a lesser extent, the Chinese  3) he is publicly backing away from such basics as the commitment to NATO and freer trade.

I don’t think Trump will start a war, but I have less faith in that with him than I have had with any candidate since I have been paying attention to politics in President Reagan’s first term.  I am worried about him winning.

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