What will Trump mean for the future of the USA, Europe and the rest of the world?

What will the future bring now Donald Trump has been elected as the 45th President of the United States? With this question in mind a group of sixty people interested in international relations and liberalism gathered to discuss the role of the newly President-elect Trump and the impact of his Presidency on the future of the USA, Europe and the rest of the world. The aim of this event was to talk about the implications of the elected candidate on America’s internal and foreign policies and stance in global politics. Thanks to the marvelous panel members we were able to have a discussion on a broad range of topics.

 Talented singer Jurko van Veenendaal kicked off the evening, with a spectacular version of the Star-Spangled Banner and several all American hits.

 Our first speaker, Brenda Childers, a native US citizen and member of the board of the American Chamber of Commerce in the Netherlands, gave a touching speech about her thoughts on the issue of exclusion in America, a topic of increased importance under President-elect Trump. The Dutch Foreign Affairs Director of the Western Hemisphere Marcel de Vink provided us with a more diplomatic insight in how the rest of the world will have to work together with Trump, whether we like it or not. According to him, Trump is a deal maker that the Dutch and the EU can work with, as long as mutual interests are satisfied.

 Another hot-topic that was discussed is the USA’s future involvement in NATO. Anne Mulder, Member of Parliament for the VVD and our third panel member stressed the fact that Europe will have to take care of its own (military) business, now more than ever. The European members of NATO will have to step up in their own defense spending, since it is most likely that NATO cannot rely on the tremendous support of the USA much longer. Nevertheless, Trump will have to realise that neither the USA nor NATO can continue alone, and that Russia will attempt to exploit any weaknesses within the alliance.

 An issue that also lead to heated discussions was the rise of populism in established democracies – to the audience it was clear that Trump’s election as the next US President fits a new political trend, in which voters look for the simple answers that populism seems to offer. The lesson from the USA and the Clinton campaign clearly is not to set aside any voter, and to tell the honest story.

 Kamran Ullah, our moderator of the evening did a great job of leading the discussion and kept the evening most interactive. In the end, even though some participants concluded it is still a shock that Trump made it to the Oval Office, most people felt that Trump’s election will not mean the end of the world. As Barack Obama himself said on the morning of the 9th of November: regardless of whether your candidate won or lost, the sun will come up in the morning.” How big the shift in geo-politics will be remains to be seen.

 

The evening was realized with support from the European Liberal Forum (ELF), VVD Thematisch Netwerk Internationaal, VVD Utrecht and VVD Internationaal.