THE BLOG
01/20/2017 07:10 am ET Updated Jan 19, 2018

Give Trump A Chance

The president-elect of the United States, Donald J. Trump, deserves a chance. With the "-elect" suffix about to be dismantled, there is no escaping the fact that "The Donald" will be the new commander-in-chief. It is also a reality that his election is mired in controversies. So many, in fact, that it is hard to keep count. Trump has little, if any, experience of governing. He doesn't give two hoots about democracy or freedom of the press. He has only rudimentary knowledge of global affairs, as evident by the transcript of his latest interview with the British and German media. These are all hardcore facts. Still, one could give Trump benefit of the doubt. One should, rather, as he has yet to prove himself.

One can draw some parallels between Trump and George W. Bush Jr. Both were born in wealth (one in power too) and both were/are not known for their brains or smarts. Bush Jr. still got a shot at governing experience before assuming the Oval Office. Trump doesn't have that advantage. Bush had a skin thick enough to stay undeterred, even if someone threw his shoes at him. Trump gets pissed off if someone dares criticizing any of his business establishments, even if it was a grill bar. Both lost the popular vote count with allegations of rigging. Unlike Bush, Trump didn't have a questionable path to presidency. He won the electoral votes. Bush went running to the Supreme Court to seek election. The latter, ironically, turned out to be the least concerned president about legitimacy and legal mumbo-jumbo. Remember Iraq?

Trump could, theoretically, fare better. More so as he doesn't come from the war-mongering, neo-conservative stock that shaped Dubya's presidency. The president-in-a-few-hours is primarily a businessman, one who is a master deal-maker, or claims to be one. Although disruption of the global order appears to be the agenda, Trump could still manage to stay afloat.

On the global level, there are some states that will certainly benefit from Trump's presidency. Russia being the first name that comes to mind. India and Japan have also cultivated strong ties with the Trump camp. Indian Americans overwhelmingly voted for Trump and now are planning to reap the benefits. These interactions, while not unusual, could also spell trouble. Unfair dealings on the global level could hamper US interests. Trump's plans to erect a fence on the Mexican border; dismantle the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA); and start trading wars with China, among other things, will shake up the existing global order.

One can't expect Trump to stand-up for global human rights. Unlike Obama, he hasn't done any grandstanding on the subject either. The latter set the ball rolling with his foot-dragging on Syria, which resulted in the biggest human misery of modern era. Trump is wary of the Iran deal, which has upended the fragile regional order and engendered chaos. Iran has been emboldened enough to carry out ethnic cleansing in Syria, as if the earlier butchering was not enough. Trump is looking to scrap the deal, or modify it, as suggested by Nikki Haley. Either way, the policy could turn out to be more pragmatic than the almost subservient stance adopted by the Obama administration.

Trump doesn't have much love for Europe or Nato. He shares this trait with his predecessor. Let's not forget the Obama administration dropped out of the post-World-War European order. Russia annexed Crimea and set its sights on Ukraine under Obama's watch. The Syrian intervention started in late 2015, four-and-a-half years after Obama's initial promises to the rebels. It won't be much of a transition from someone who backtracked so gloriously from his stated objectives, to one who never promised much. The world no longer believes in American exceptionalism.

President Trump has many skeletons in his closet. He has not been elected on an agenda of peace and global development in the first place. It will thus be a better idea to give him a chance. There is no other option. Perhaps the disruption is what the global order needs. Trump's first month in the Oval Office will be enough to determine the course of global politics during the next four years.