Article by: Anusha
Visual by: Allison
Edited by: Joaquin
It’s hard to believe that just 4 years ago, there was a world in which President Donald Trump wasn’t the President of the United States. In such a short timeframe, Trump has changed politics not only in the US, but all over the world. His radical policy changes have redefined America’s general trends, specifically in immigration policy, climate change and international relations.
Perhaps the most extensively covered by the media has been Trump’s position on immigration policy. From the very beginning, the election campaign was built around his anti-immigration slogans,“Build The Wall” and “Make America Great Again”. His crusade to protect the US-Mexico border has been a key factor in unfriendly immigration regulations being passed. For example, the implementation of Executive Order 13769 on January 2017 closed American borders to seven Muslim majority countries. America was founded with open door ideals with its ‘melting pot’ culture as one of its defining characteristics; however, Trump’s policies have contributed to a significant reversal of this philosophy throughout his presidency.
Another defining aspect of Trump’s presidency has been his view on climate change. Trump has publically supported the climate change hoax theory and believes that climate friendly policies have dampened growth in factory-reliant industries of the US. According to the BBC, “The government’s environmental department, the EPA, rescinded Obama-era regulations on carbon emissions from coal-based power plants, although those changes will likely be bogged down in legal challenges for years.“ Trump has also shown support for major oil pipelines and weakened several environmental protection regulations.
Globally the US has been acknowledged as a superpower with far-reaching influence on the politics, economies and even the culture of other countries. Trade and diplomacy are the tools with which the US has been able to achieve this status. For example, it has been a dominant party in the UN, NATO and other multilateralist associations. Trump, on the other hand, has been more isolationist with his America-first policies. His goal of prioritizing the American economy and ‘making America great again’ has led to a few international agreements coming undone. Trump has withdrawn from coalitions such as UNESCO and UNHRC and backed out of treaties such as the Paris Agreement and the Treaty On Open Skies. Post WWII, the US-Euro ties have been fundamental in shaping the world. However Trump “has repeatedly questioned the value of alliances like NATO, announced a punitive withdrawal of US troops from Germany, enacted trade tariffs against the EU and threatened sanctions over the Russian gas pipeline”.
So what does this mean for the next US President, Joe Biden? Given that he and Trump have very different views on most aspects of the presidency, it’s a safe bet to assume that Joe Biden will spend the initial months of his term reversing the actions undertaken by Trump. Biden nominees have already declared that ‘diplomacy is back’, foreshadowing that Biden will want to retake the US’s role on the world stage. Biden has also reiterated his promise to focus on measures to rein in the pandemic in the US. His pick of senior statesman, John Kerry, as his climate change envoy also sends a strong signal about his priorities. What remains to be seen is how effective these reversals will be in regaining the confidence of global leaders. Some of the changes will also be harder to undo legislatively if Joe Biden’s Democratic Party does not gain a majority in the Senate. Trump’s legacy will also endure in the hearts and minds of his supporters, who will fight hard to hold onto the changes he has brought about. Critics of Trump have pointed out that destruction is easy, but it is harder to create something that lasts. There is no denying that Trump’s effect on the world has been remarkably far reaching over a very short period of time, and undoing this might possibly be the greatest challenge Biden faces in 2021.
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