How to deal with an elected populist? Continuing last week’s discussion

trumpExceptional events require exceptions. So let’s continue last week’s debate, after we discovered who won (at least the elections, if not the popular vote). But our focus now, will be on how to react to the new situation.

There is a puzzling variety of Western reactions following the election results in the United States. Some leaders (like the Japanese Prime Minister) seem to have bowed deeply. Others (Russia), expressed their (probably wee-founded) hopes to improve relations. But again, others like Chancellor Merkel, appear to be cooperative, based on some conditional expectations. The EU, all of a sudden, has decided to improve its cooperation in the external and defense fields, and even promises to spend more.

What is a viable strategy for handling a committed populist? Bandwagoning? Accommodation? Conditional cooperation? Kow-towing? Pragmatic restraint?

– Prof. Klaus Segbers

  1. Sergei Medvedev 4 days ago

    To begin with, I do not believe in the existence of Trump — this is not a man, an actor, or a policy program; Trump is the name of a virus which has just hit the system. Least of all, one should look into his rhetoric during the election debate. Indeed, his “program” or “views” are nothing but empty signifiers used in the massive campaign of trolling and deceit. Trump’s agenda is a tabula rasa in which other leaders and actors can try to write their own scripts. The entire Trump story is now about the capacity of institutions, their ability to constrain and accommodate a loose cannon, the perennial dichotomy of agency and structure. But Trump is also no stranger to the system, and open for communication and bargaining. I believe that the power of nested clans, vested interests and Western institutions will eventually prevail, and the policy task is now to accommodate, domesticate and shape the Trump presidency, writing policies and ideas into this hollow shell.

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  2. Alexei Voskressenski 4 days ago

    The best strategy to deal with a committed populist is a pragmatism. Even a populist must show results to the population which is always broader than a committed electoral body which is voting notwithstanding the results of their candidate. It takes time, it always involves great efforts, but it is worth trying.

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  3. Justas Paleckis 3 days ago

    The world will become more multipolar after the election of US President Trump. Much will depend on how China, Russia and other BRIC countries will behave with him. Weaker EU is unlikely to have a coordinated approach to Trump. It is more important, how Berlin and Paris will do in negotiating with Washington. And what if at least in one of these capitals a Trump type of politician will appear at the highest power there next year? Former’s “economic giant’s and a political dwarf’s” chancellor’s attempt to propose conditional cooperation with Trump based on values deserves applause. However, does such a principled approach stand a chance? Berlin and the whole of Europe threaten Turkey to impose some sanctions if the death penalty will be introduced in that country. Meanwhile, the majority of US states are practicing such punishment, but there are no strict warnings from Europe.

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