US foreign policy unlikely to change radically post-elections: Experts

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New Delhi, March 10 (IANS) The broad contours of the American foreign policy are not likely to change post-elections no matter whether a Republican becomes the president or it is a Democrat, feel experts.

Taking part in a discussion on the topic “The 2016 US elections and their impact on foreign policy”, organised by the American Embassy here on Thursday, international affairs experts C Raja Mohan, Chintamani Mahapatra and Sam Solomon deliberated on various aspects of US foreign policy.

The three agreed that much of what Republican candidates, especially Donald Trump, are saying — for example building a wall along the Mexican border or barring Muslims from entering America or taming China — is mere election rhetoric that has little practical significance.

“Trump may walk back on many things,” said Raja Mohan, a former member of India’s National Security Advisory Board.

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Mahapatra, a professor of US and Latin American studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University, agreed. “With such huge American investment in China, Trump cannot possibly engage China in a ‘trade war’ as he claims,” he said.

Sam Solomon, a US citizen and a Fulbright-Nehru research fellow said the direction of the foreign policy is also influenced by a president’s personality to an extent.

Citing an example, he said it was Barack Obama who personally took an interestin climate change as a serious global problem and pushed for its solution.

“I feel that the Republican rhetoric about Islamic State is more of rhetoric than policy. Trump, if he wins the election, may get a bit tougher on immigration laws, but he cannot possibly bar all Muslims from entering US or erect a wall at the Mexican border,” Solomon said.

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About Republicans’ stress on limiting the US army’s presence in the Middle East and south Asia, Raja Mohan said it has already started under Obama and would only be carried forward by the coming president.

“The phase that started in the late 1980s when Americans were believed to go to any place in the world and pay any price to protect their interests is going to end. Or at least there should be some retrenchment in military interventions,” Raja Mohan said.

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