WASHINGTON -- Victory in the Nov. 8 U.S. presidential election by Republican Donald Trump, who is unwilling to compromise on his opinions despite heavy criticism, will certainly rattle not only the United States but also the international community. The world runs the risk of drifting without any clear prospects.
The election of Trump could change the postwar world order. However, an aide's comment that Trump only made radical remarks during his election campaign in a bid to draw attention to himself offers a glimmer of hope. The aide meant that Trump will change when he becomes president. In an interview, Trump said he is intelligent and can deal with issues appropriately, suggesting that he will separate his true feelings and his public persona depending on the situation.
Even though the mainstream Republican Party distances itself from Trump, the energy with which he defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton, who fully utilized her organized support in her campaign, should not be underestimated.
Opinion polls show that about 70 percent of Americans believe that the United States is moving in the wrong direction. Trump will certainly try to produce tangible results in order to achieve "America First," as he stated in his campaign pledge, against the backdrop of such public opinion.
Many of Trump's remarks are common in that he calls for a fundamental review of what is regarded as the norm. Many politicians have often brought forth "the norm" to protect their vested interests and dismissed opinions of Trump and others who represent people dissatisfied with the political establishment as "populism."
However, it will be relatively easy for Trump, who has no political experience and is free of constraints, to boldly change policies. One example is his pledge to cancel the United States' participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement.
Concerns have also been raised that the U.S. could discard the international cooperation policy the country has built up since the end of World War II and revive its traditional isolationism. Aides emphasize that Trump is a capable businessman who can rely on public opinion and his own ability to create a new path favorable to the United States. The world will encounter a tough leader who values the ability to make radical changes in a speedy manner.
Following a referendum in which British people decided that their country will leave the European Union, political establishment bound by "the norm" suffered a setback in the United States. The economic and social equality gap has been widening as a result of globalization, and mass protests against that widening gap have developed into a global trend. This trend will certainly further develop and affect next spring's French presidential election and a general election in Germany that autumn. (By Haruyuki Aikawa, North America General Bureau Chief)