3 reasons why Indonesia should care about the U.S. elections
YOGYAKARTA, Indonesia – The world awaits the U.S. presidential race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. (READ: US Election Day predictions: Who is going to win?)
While the presidency of one of the most powerful countries in the world could affect foreign relations, why specifically should Indonesia care about the 2016 American elections?
Here are 3 reasons why:
1. Effect on world economies
According to University of Arkansas Professor Robert B. Leflar who has focused on law and Asian Studies, there are 3 fields in Indonesia which will be affected by the results of the presidential elections in the USA: the economic sector, international diplomacy and humanitarian issues.
"These are 3 areas wherein Clinton and Trump have different views and policies," said Leflar at the University of Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta in September.
If Trump were elected president, the economic policies of America, he said, will focus more on the domestic market.
"Trump is America's first isolationist," he said.
This could affect international trade and world econmies if Trump were to win, while a Clinton presidency would be expected to continue current policies.
Leflar also said that the background of the two when it comes to economic policies are very different.
"Clinton believes in diplomacy while Trump's experience is limited to business negotiations," said Leflar.
Additionally, Trump has said he is against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade agreement among 12 of the Pacific Rim countries including Indonesia. While Clinton has expressed disapproval as well, analysts believe he is not as anti-TPP as she lets on.
Nathanael Sumaktoyo, a Doctoral Fellow in Religious Freedom Project at the Berkley Center of Georgetown University and the Paramadina Center for the Study of Religion and Democracy, said he thinks Clinton has been forced to say she is anti to garner votes, but is actually supportive of the pact – albeit with some amendments.
2. International diplomacy
When it comes to foreign policy and international diplomacy, Clinton will focus on robust diplomacy and cooperation said Leflar. This can be expected after her stint as the U.S. Secretary of State for 4 years from 2009 to 2013.
Sumaktoyo told Rappler that Trump on the other hand, would be a lot less predictable.
"I think the significance lies in the fact that if you get Hillary as president, you will basically get the continuance of the pivot to Asia. The US policies concerning the South China Sea will also continue. But if you get a President Trump, well that's where you don’t know what you’ll get. But my impression is he doesn’t value alliances as Hillary does," he said.
"It's all transactional for [Trump]. 'How much will it benefit me economically? But South China Sea is not like that. And with the [example] of Russia and Ukraine, that's when you have to put alliances first, that's when you have to present yourself as a reliable ally to your friends before calculating how much money you will get or they will get," Sumaktoyo added.
3. Humanitarian issues
Leflar said that when it comes to humanitarian issues, Trump does not have a policy at all. The real estate mogul, he said, has commented negatively about immigrant and Muslim communities in the United States.
Leflar cites Trump's proposal to build a wall on the border of the U.S. and Mexico to prevent illegal immigrants from Mexico from entering America, as an example of what humanitarian policies will look like under a Trump presidency.
Clinton on the other hand, has a humanitarian track record which Leflar said is evidence of real performance, during the time she worked under President Barrack Obama.
"Clinton oversees the protection of human rights in difficult conditions. Meanwhile, Trump I think is not a racist, but the impression given is like that," he said.
Sumaktoyo agreed that "Hillary would be more beneficial in the sense that she will bring more stability."
"You know what to expect, you know generally how she will react to crisis and that's not something you get from Trump," he said.
Sumaktoyo also said another concern would be for Indonesian immigrants living in America.
"With a Hillary presidency I don’t think much will change. Trump I don’t think much will change dramatically and suddenly in terms of policies, but there is a possibility that there will be a rise in ethnocentric sentiment," he said.
"When you get someone leading the country who has similar views of race superiority or religious superiority, you think you get the justification to exclude others and Trump is exactly doing that by channeling the fears and the fear-mongering and Islamophobia that’s held by some of the Republicans."
He added, "When you see a politician on the platform saying those things, well, ‘He’s saying what I feel.’ You get a justification"
"That's a speculation I should say, but that’s within the boundaries of possibility." – with reports from Natashy Gutierrez/Dyah Pitaloka/Rappler.com