Trump Won. So What?

I surprised some of my friends by not joining them in mourning Hillary Clinton's defeat.

Rants aplenty when Clinton conceded. One of them even texted me, "ww3 is coming." In that moment, I felt I needed extra courage to admit, "Er no, I don't like Clinton and am happy that she lost." Trust me, I didn't get very nice responses. I was almost ... demanded ... a rational explanation from one. I didn't realise there were so many that did not see beyond the campaign advertorial, in which Clinton allegedly outspent Trump by 3:1. So, no surprises for the neutrals to think the US has just elected the devil's incarnate for a President. I have never seen such a one-sided set of onlookers before.

I couldn't say I was surprised. Singapore (as well as Australia, in fact) has been a subservient ally of the US of A till date, offering unyielding loyalty at the expense of pissing China off. The new United States as envisioned and represented by Trump will not be something Singapore wants to be closely associated with anymore. That will require our leaders to decide on, "What next?" There is no comfortable answer to the question. No status quo, no business as usual, no wonder my Singaporeans friends are panicking.

I see the fading fantasies of American exceptionalism as a good thing. If anything, it forces us to think harder if we want to remain as their lieutenant in SEA, being surrounded by Muslim countries and China pressing hard to wrest control over the eastern pacific. When the new president thinks that countries like Singapore is stealing American jobs, perhaps for the first time in our history, we should own our trade, defence and foreign policies. That will require much greater intelligence and maturity than has been on offer during the LHL's reign. A much greater challenge than 'fixing the opposition', no doubt. Growing up is never easy.

Fortunately and unfortunately, I suspect even Trump himself is not completely aware of the constraints of his position at this stage. He should be contented if he is able to fulfill even half of his electoral promises (and threats). Mexican walls, banning Muslims and what nots. There are too many layers to contend with for a policy, especially major ones, to be passed. The US President has the influence, but not the absolute power - as most think - to change policies. That being said, Trump has no experience whatsoever in politics. What happens in the next few years will be heavily dependent on who he chooses to be his close advisers. If they are the same old bunch of folks in the political scene, you can bet we will get the same old shit. It can't be worse than having the fraudulent Clinton on board. In fact, it can only be better. Though to be fair, it isn't too difficult to be a better President - at least where me and my interests are being concerned - than Clinton would be. 

I was (again) surprised to hear a comment right in my face that she was afraid because Trump has threatened to make the US a 'close economy', and 'a lot of US investments in Singapore will be affected'. I didn't know where she got that from. Perhaps she was referring to Trump's rally against free trade, where he promised to withdraw the US from the North American Free Trade Agreement. If only he can make that happen, that will be great. I wonder how many of us Singaporeans really know what these FTAs are, how they actually work and whether they are beneficial to us individually. I find the blind support of FTAs appalling. I wonder how many of us went through our FTA with India and honestly think, "I fucking love this." We are either complete idiots or have absolutely no clue. 

It could be the term being used. Free trade. Freedom. Everyone loves that notion. However, the Trans-pacific Partnership (TPP) has nothing to do with 'freedom' or even 'trade'. Most importantly, it has nothing beneficial to the average Beng on the street as it was reserved for those with vested interest who were involved in the secretive negotiations which we can only find out from Wikileaks. If the TPP is really about promoting what its name suggest, they will never be done in that dodgy manner. 

It is equally baffling to hear what my friends say about Hillary Clinton. They talk of her as if she is their favourite Aunt. "At least she won't go to war, unlike the crazy Trump." If anyone is capable of starting a WW3, it is Hillary Clinton, who has aggressively spearheaded the anti-Russian crusade. Promoting conflict to create demand, selling weapons to terrorists, fighting pseudo wars on land faraway where lives are cheap, there is nothing to suggest that bitch Clinton will make a better President than Trump, who will be still figuring out what he is supposed to do by the end of his term.

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