Sunday, January 29, 2017

President Trump’s Executive Orders and their Fallout

January 27, 2017

By Saeed Qureshi

In order to fulfil his agenda of reforms outlined during electioneering campaign, President Trump has issued several executive orders. The president and his colleagues are busy in building up a structural and governance framework being undertaken and executed by a Transition Team led by the vice-president Mike Pence. The transition team has an executive committee with experienced individuals in their line of skills and expertise.

The Transition Team in dealing with a host of issues. These issues have been categorized as Defense & National Security, Immigration Reform, Building the Wall between Mexico and USA, Energy Independence, Tax Reform, Education, Transportation & Infrastructure, Financial Services Reform, Healthcare Reform, Veterans Administration Reform, Protecting Americans' Constitutional Rights.

The first executive order signed by president Trump on January 21 is about Affordable Care Act or the so-called Obama Healthcare Plan. This order calls for either complete replacement of the Obamacare or drastically scaling it down.

On 23 January, which was his first full workday in the office, President Trump signed three executive orders. The first one was related  to the withdrawal of the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership( TPP). The second order was aimed at reinstating the Mexico City Policy (MCP) and dealing with NGOs ( non-governmental organizations) and abortion access.
The third order  freezes federal workforce hiring.On the same day, he held meetings with CEOs of twelve major US companies. 

On January 24, Trump inked five executive orders. Two orders reverse the Obama administration's halt on the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines. President Trump has pleaded that these projects will recover 28,000 jobs. Another bill that he signed makes it obligatory for the pipelines companies to use domestic steel. Two more executive orders also bind the companies to use domestic steel for similar future infrastructure projects.

On January 25 President Trump issued another executive order in that he directed the Department of Homeland Security to begin construction of a wall on the Mexico–United States border.

He has signed an executive order banning immigration from seven major Muslim countries which are Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia Sudan, Syria and Yemen. He is expected to sign an order limiting legal immigration for refugees fleeing persecution and visa holders from several majority Muslim countries.

But these executive orders, to be ratified by House and Senate don’t seem to make any headway. For instance, the issue of building the wall between Mexico and America has become a nonstarter. Mexico may never agree to pay for the huge cost over building 2000 miles long wall at a staggering cost of 15 billion dollars. Mexico is not prepared for a double jeopardy of building the wall and then paying its cost as well.

If America builds that wall, then the cost would be met by imposing 20 percent tariff on imports from Mexico while the American exports would go to Mexico duty free. In the face of these harsh and one sided conditions, the Mexican president Pena Nieto has declined to attend his working meeting with president Trump. This should be patently seen as a foreign policy failure all the more with a neighbor whose work force is enormously, for ages, has been useful for the agricultural and building sectors in the United States.With regard to ban on immigration a list of Muslim countries has already been made public.

In the foreign policy domain, there is a visible indication that Donlad Trump would promote India in comparison to China and beef up its economy and military potential to become a powerful contender of China. It would be a major foreign policy shift in several decades.  The distancing from China would be an onerous undertaking and its fallout may not be as desirable as Trump administration believes to be.

Donald administration could reverse wholly or partially the policy and detente worked out by Obama with Iran. About the European Union the views of president Trump are not as cordial as has been the policy of his predecessors. He is going to maintain friendly relations with Egypt and Israel. He is not in favor of the Palestinians’ cause for a settlement. That could be a rerun of the G.W. Bush polices.

But it seems that implementation of his agenda of reforms may not be a smooth sailing. For instance, many mayors across the nation have vowed to defy an executive order signed by president Donlad Trump about the expulsion of undocumented immigrants. They intend to take the white house to court if federal funding is withheld. The Sanctuaries cities with large concentrations of undocumented immigrants are promising to fight Trump’s immigration order. Cities. The governors of many states are also in rebellious frame of mind about the undocumented workers’ expulsion and withholding of funds

Temperamentally president Trump is a hard liner and resorts to knee-jerk reaction to criticism .and views of the political opponents. This attitude would keep him embedded in a perpetual rigmarole of controversy and friction with his political counterparts within America and even abroad. His likes and dislikes are extreme and not moderate. He doesn’t shy of using derogatory remarks against his victims like the one he called Hillary as the nasty woman during one of electoral debates.

He is in favor of using extreme torture methods against the suspected terrorists one of which is water boarding. President Obama had rejected these inhuman techniques to which the inmates at Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp were subjected.

President Trump is susceptible to many lawsuits from his opponents both in politics and out of it. The hacking issue may resurface that involves Russia to facilitate his victory and defeat of Hillary Clinton. The incoming flow of money from his overseas business is already being taken up by a team of legal experts.

It might be pretty hard for him to come clean despite his transfer of all business to him two sons. The issue of income tax returns is also lingering against him for quite some time. As the president, he looks more vulnerable and in the eye of the gathering storm that if not legally or constitutionally justified might turn out to be like the proverbial “Sword of Damocles” falling on him any time if not.

His claim of voters’ fraud is another issue that needs scrutiny. However, he is certain that it happened and 3 to 5 million illegal votes were cost him depriving him the overall higher tally of the popular vote. 

In the meantime, top civil servants in the US State Department have resigned before they could start working with Secretary of State, and former ExxonMobil CEO, Rex Tillerson. The State Department's undersecretary for management Patrick Kennedy The Assistant Secretary of State for Administration, Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs, and the director of the Office of Foreign Missions, have all left the State Department.

The speech delivered by president Trump at the GOP Retreat in Philadelphia on January 26 was a repetition of what President Trump has been saying earlier. He reaffirmed his stance about the immigration ban, eliminating the radical islamic terrorism and building of the wall between Mexico and USA.

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