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Next four years of US politics will be interesting: DH Spotlight panellists

Bengaluru, Jan 10, 2017, DHNS 1:18 IST
(From left) Nitin Pai, co-founder and director of Takshashila Institution, B S Arun, senior  editor of DH and Steve Coll, staff writer at The New Yorker during the panel discussion on  'How Trump won and what this means for Geopolitics,' organised by DH in Bengaluru  on Monday. DH photo
Whether it is a Republican or Democrat president, the United States’ foreign policy towards India has been moving towards an unbiased approach and it is very unlikely to change, said Steve Coll, staff writer of New Yorker and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner.

He was speaking at the first edition of DH’s ‘SPOTLIGHT’ panel discussion on ‘How Trump won and what this means for geopolitics’ here on Monday. Coll, who is also the dean of Columbia School of Journalism, however, noted that the next few years of geopolitics will be marked by uncertainty.

Director of city-based think tank Takshashila Foundation Nitin Pai, the other panellist, said that in some ways, Trump’s presidency will affect the IT industry, especially those companies that rely on a business model that depends on American visas.

“But it is not necessarily bad for the IT sector, because if that job is not based in Boston, it will be based in India...There is a bright side for the Indian IT sector but not necessarily for IT companies,” he added.

In the discussion that was moderated by DH’s senior editor B S Arun, both the speakers agreed that the next four years of US politics and international diplomacy will be interesting and exciting.

Pai said Trump’s victory has made the US’ position in global leadership uncertain. He said during Obama’s campaign eight years ago, many in Delhi argued that US leadership was waning and there was a need for India to align with China. But Trump’s rhetoric and the popular force which propelled him to the White House have unsettled the resilience of the US society and its community of talented migrants, the key factors of US leadership.

Coll agreed with Pai and said the racial backlash that led to Trump’s victory was not an accident. He noted that Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton represented globalisation and the liberalism that had led to migration – the two things that had made many white Americans feel they have been deprived of privileges they deserve.

To a question on whether Trump, the President will be different from Trump the candidate or President-elect, both Coll and Pai said such a change was unlikely. Coll said Trump has to act on some of his promises, including the Mexican wall and strict migration policy, made to his voter base.

The panel discussion received a huge response with the informed and who’s who of Bengaluru taking part.

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