December 3rd 2016

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Anti-discrimination law validates Safe Schools

CANBERRA OBSERVED Triggs on the way out, but her weapon (18C) must go too

ANALYSIS What is possible to a Trump White House

EDITORIAL Trump portends the start of a new political era

EUTHANASIA Late-night reprieve in SA Parliament

EAST ASIAN AFFAIRS Taiwan and Japan look extinction in the face

SEXUAL POLITICS Victorian Liberals pledge to scrap Safe Schools

LAW AND SOCIETY No-fault divorce a tragedy of nuclear proportions

PARENTING Experts envisage lustrous future for infant graduates

POLITICAL HISTORY Folly with a touch of good sense: Colonel Sibthorp

ECONOMICS Trump as a symptom of the end of neoliberalism

MUSIC Vale Leonard: did we ever really understand you?

CINEMA Fantastical and beastly: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

BOOK REVIEW A Life well spent

BOOK REVIEW Catholic revisals


FOREIGN AFFAIRS How the left whitewashed Fidel Castro

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Trump portends the start of a new political era

by Peter Westmore

News Weekly, December 3, 2016

The victory of Donald Trump in the U.S. presidential election was more than a repudiation of the left-liberal social agenda and libertarian economics pursued by President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton since 2008.

If the American election is put into the context of Britain’s vote to pull out of the European Union, and next year’s elections in Holland, France and Germany – which seem certain to change the social and political landscape in these countries – there are deeper currents at work than we have seen for many decades.

To some extent, these changes have been seen in Australia, in the emergence of the Palmer United Party in 2013, and the success of the Nick Xenophon Party and Pauline Hanson’s One Nation Party in Australia’s federal election in 2016.

The very clear signs emerging from Donald Trump’s transition team is that they are determined to implement the program on which they were elected.

It is significant that Mr Trump announced that on his first day in office, he would officially abandon the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a multilateral free trade agreement that had been the centrepiece of the economic agenda of President Obama.

This agenda had caused deep resentment in middle America as industry after industry left the United States to relocate in countries with cheap labour costs and lower tax rates, leaving behind an industrial wasteland, rising crime rates, chronic poverty and rising homelessness.

The impact of the U.S. presidential election will extend far beyond this. Because the Republican Party controls both houses of the U.S. Congress, President Trump will be able to legislate his agenda into law, making it difficult for a future government to reverse.

The Trump agenda includes a substantial change in social policy, including a commitment to appoint black-letter pro-life jurists to the U.S. Supreme Court, reversing the direction of the Obama Administration.

The U.S. Supreme Court has been one of the main drivers of the secular humanist agenda in the United States, having legalised abortion through Roe v Wade, and introduced same-sex marriage by “discovering” an implied right to same-sex marriage in the U.S. constitution.

Mr Trump has also promised to change the coercive Obamacare health-care program, which has been used to force business to pay for their employees’ abortions, as well as massively increasing health insurance premiums and government health spending in the U.S.

He is also committed to reversing the far-left environmental policy of Mr Obama, including its commitment to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and the recent Paris Climate Agreement.

Mr Trump has long been sceptical about the claimed impact of rising levels of carbon dioxide on the atmosphere, repeatedly pointing out that CO2 is a minor trace gas in the atmosphere, and that the claimed effects of rising CO2 levels have been wildly exaggerated by self-serving climate scientists.

As the availability of cheap energy is closely related to rising living standards, he has also indicated he will encourage the development of the very extensive deposits of coal, oil and gas in the United States. He has also promised to end Mr Obama’s lavish subsidies for alternative energy, particularly wind and solar power.

Some critics have criticised Mr Trump’s plan to cut corporate tax, and claimed that it is incompatible with increased government spending on defence and national development.

But if he imposes import duties on goods imported into the U.S. by American corporations, he will simultaneously raise large amounts of revenue and encourage those businesses to rebuild their American manufacturing operations.

If Mr Trump is able to implement his program, as expected, his initiatives will resonate around the world.

While some have been concerned that as President, Donald Trump will withdraw from Asia because of his insistence that America’s allies must pay more for America’s defence, the fact is that countries such as Germany, Japan and South Korea have become wealthy while under the American military umbrella, but have not contributed proportionately to their own defence.

There are currently over 40,000 U.S. military personnel deployed to Germany, nearly 40,000 in Japan and 25,000 in South Korea, all supported by U.S. taxpayers. As wealthy countries, they can rightly be expected to carry the burden of their own defence.

Under Mr Trump, the communist regime in Beijing can expect a firm and resolute response from the U.S. to their increasingly aggressive stance in the South China Sea, just as he has taken a strong stance against Beijing’s trade and exchange rate policies.

The Trump accession also provides an opportunity for a resetting of U.S. relations with Russia, particularly to end the Syria crisis. The actions of Mr Obama and Hillary Clinton worsened the civil wars in Syria and Libya, causing the flood of Middle Eastern migrants into Europe. Perhaps a new leader can sort out these issues.

Peter Westmore is national president of the National Civic Council.

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