President Trump started fulfilling his campaign promises. Leaving the Transpacific partnership, building a wall on the Mexican border, adopting anti-immigrant acts – in two weeks the new owner of the White House has proven to keep his word. Trump’s decisiveness makes it clear: the political leaders on the other side of the Atlantic, those who banked on the Democrats winning, should not expect good news from Washington.
The fears of Trump’s critics are coming true. The infamous billionaire started fulfilling his campaign promises immediately on inauguration day. Immediately after the ceremony, Trump signed his first documents, among which was one that minimized the economic taxation on companies that had to pay their employees insurances, in accordance with the so-called “Obamacare”, as well as proclaiming a new holiday – National Day of Patriotic Devotion.
Utlizing direct decisions that don’t need Congress approval, the new president started showing the American people that he keeps his word. He has already proven it. Now the hard and flexible times come in – starting new initiatives while facing serious resistance, as well as initiatives that need to be “dragged” through both Houses. It is early to speak of the Congress’ loyalty to Trump, but the fact that the majority of the seats belong to his party is definitely giving the White House confidence.
On the fourth day of his presidency, Trump rolled back one of Obama’s most significant “achievements” and backed America out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
TPP is a preferential trade agreement lowering tariff barriers between 12 countries of the Asia-Pacific region. This would lead to a rise of trade deficit and decline in local production, but the transnational corporations would reap the benefits. During the election, Trump declared a reindustrialization of America and actively criticized the agreement, championing the interests of American workers and bringing the factories back home. Congress didn’t have time to ratify the TTP agreements, so the newly-elected president didn’t even need the right to cancel the acts of the previous administration.
Trump’s first week as president was also marked by another resounding decision – the construction of the wall on the border with Mexico in order to combat illegal immigration.
“A nation without borders is not a nation. Beginning today, the United States of America gets back control of its borders,” said the billionaire on his initiative.
Trump promised to make Mexico pay for the 3.2 thousand kilometer wall’s construction and intends to follow through with that. The new American administration already started arm-twisting the Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto. White House press secretary Sean Spicer stated that Mexican wall construction costs could be covered by adding a 20% tax on imports from Mexico.
In addition to that, Trump made the immigration policy stricter, banning entry into the country for 90 days for citizens from Libya, Somali, Sudan, Syria, Iraq, Iran and Yemen. He also signed a bill to “rebuild” the army and made a few telling cabinet changes.
And all of that over just two weeks. The newly elected president has rolled up his sleeves, quickly turning his promises into political decisions. Despite the words of his opponents, the extravagant billionaire’s ideas were not a bluff or populist shenanigans. Point after point, the president is going through with his plan. Turns out the Trump is real, those who were scared of him winning were not scared for nothing.
Among states who couldn’t overcome their fears while looking at the new American groove are USA’s most devoted allies in Eastern Europe – the Baltic states.
In January, Time placed Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania into a list of seven countries that are the most worried about a Trump presidency.
And even though the Baltic capitals are 7 thousand kilometers away from Washington, they are a lot closer politically. The Baltics were America’s “Trojan Horse” in the EU, representing American interests. And their efforts at holding back Russia and hopes of strengthening NATO in Europe were supported by the Obama administration. But the situation is changing.
The North-Atlantic Alliance is an antiquated organization that doesn’t live up to the ideas of security and requires reform, according to Donald Trump. “The Russian threat” to him is nothing more than a political bluff and is already gone from the USA “defense priorities.” Vice-president Joe Biden did try to calm the Baltics down in August 2016 saying that they shouldn’t take Trump’s words on NATO seriously. But it turns out that Trump is no jokester.
The bulk of the military equipment and the contingent meant for the Eastern European countries and the Baltics that started moving in early January, will return to their bases after the maneuvers, according to Council on Foreign Relations member Ariel Cohen. “The maneuvers will happen, they will do what they came there to do, and the tanks, the soldiers in their absolute majority will return to the bases they came from,” says Cohen.
Similar signals have been given on the Russian front. Trump’s advisor Kellyanne Conway confirmed that the White House is discussing lifting sanctions.
Today Moscow and Washington are planning to start work on the problems where both countries can find common ground, stated Conway.
And so, vigorously and easily, the strategies of the Baltic leadership, who have done all they could to appease the Obama administration, are crumbling like a house of cards.
Their foreign policy will change of course: they will swap shoes, clothes, try to wash away the smell of the past affairs, the mainstream demands it. But the diplomatic weight of these countries without the potential effect on the situation, will be minimal.
Translated by Pavel Shamshiev