Skip to main content

Trump and the world: reactions to the president-elect

December 7, 2016

Trump and the world professors

By Mary Kelleher, Contributing Writer

The election of Donald Trump has prompted a variety of reactions throughout both the nation and the globe as a whole. For this reason, UW students, professors, alumni, and community members packed into Kane Hall to discuss the reactions to the new presidency and potential changes to expect in the future as a result.

On Monday, Nov. 28, the Jackson School of International Studies held “Trump and the World,” a panel to discuss the possible effects of Donald Trump’s presidency on countries around the world, including the United States.

Five professors from the Jackson School talked about the implications of the new presidency in regards to China, Europe (with an emphasis on Russia), the Middle East, and immigration and refugees in the United States.

The discussion, which was free and open to the public, was moderated by Jackson School director Reşat Kasaba. When seats filled up, people sat along the walls to listen to the panel.

Dorota McHenry, an alumna of the Jackson School who attended the event, said she was interested in “finding out what a liberal institution like the UW, or any university … may be able to shed on Trump’s election.”

The first panelist to speak was David Bachman, a UW professor of international studies and expert on U.S.-China relations. According to Bachman, Trump and China will inevitably challenge each other on several levels throughout the presidency.

“For its part, China will challenge the Trump administration,” Bachman said. “It might not do so overtly at the start, but it will seek to consolidate recent gains.”

Bachman commented that Trump’s experience in Asia is limited and it is unlikely that he sees the rise of Asia, and China in particular, as a core part of modern society as President Obama does. He said that some feel Trump’s election even ensures China’s rise to the number one country in the world this century.

Associate professor Scott Radnitz has researched the post-Soviet region and commented on future relations between the United States and Russia. He used his panel time to explore the possible reasons why Trump is pro-Russia, which is unusual for a Republican candidate, and how he and Vladimir Putin are similar in some ways. He also commented on Trump’s promises compared to his potential actions.

“There is no necessary connection in general between a politician’s campaign rhetoric and the policies he or she can carry out,” Radnitz said. “And in Trump’s case that’s even more so.”

Sabine Lang, an associate professor of international studies, discussed European reactions to the election results and the connection between the upcoming presidency and European populism, which she clarified was more nuanced than the common connotation of populism.

“The overwhelming sentiment right now is that under Trump, only those who advocate for closing borders and for building fences will be emboldened,” Lang said.

Associate professor Kathie Friedman discussed immigration and refugees in the United States after Trump’s election. She expressed that she “is not approaching the presidency of Donald Trump with an open mind” because she believes he meant what he said concerning his intended policies and is not about to change his mind.

She especially expressed concern about Trump’s intentions toward Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and said that if Trump does what he intends with this, there will be no path to legality for children of undocumented immigrants who have grown up American.

Joel Migdal, founding chair of the UW international studies program, called in from Israel via Skype to discuss U.S.-Middle East relations. He stated that the Middle East was “befuddled” by the election of Trump and that Trump will have to deal with recent shocks in the Middle East directly.

Overall, the five panelists seemed to agree on one thing: There is really no way to know what this new president-elect will bring to the table.

Reach contributing writer Mary Kelleher at Twitter: @MKelleher98