Bracing for 'The Donald'

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Bracing for 'The Donald'

Donald Trump, the frontrunner in the Republican Party primaries, is shockingly ahead of his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in the polls. According to Rasmussen Reports, Trump showed a 41 percent approval rating compared to Clinton’s 39 percent. The mainstream media in the U.S. shrugged off Trump’s bid for president in this year’s election and no one predicted his emergence as the leader of the pack with only six냩months left before the Nov. 8 election. Most journalists in the U.S. simply thought that his radical and far-rightist positions will soon be turned off among U.S. voters.
You may find plenty of good reasons why he should not be the U.S. president. Yet you cannot deny the alarming development in the U.S. presidential race in which he increasingly garners support from Republican voters. No matter how hard the intellectual society of America tries to bring him down, you can hardly calm the public craze for Trump particularly among the middle- and low-income families who are frustrated by unemployment and poverty with no light at the end of the tunnel. Didn’t even Germany — a country famous for reason, rationality and logic — pick Adolf Hitler as their leader through a democratic election in the early 20th century?

As the Trump phenomenon is gaining momentum in the U.S., Korea needs to prepare for his possible presidency. What concerns us most involves three issues:

First, we must pay heed to his repeated remarks that he would, if elected president, let Korea, Japan and other countries bear their fair share of defense costs because he claims they have been free-riding on the U.S. ability to defend them. Therefore, if he is elected, the U.S. Forces in Korea will most likely withdraw, and our security strategies based on the longstanding Korea-U.S. military alliance cannot but crumble. Our government should hurry and come up with substantial alternatives in case that really happens.

Second, Trump has been threatening that he would implement extremely protective policies against the U.S.’ major trading partners, as seen by his vow to levy 45 percent customs tax on Chinese products. For Korea which highly depends on the U.S. for exports, that’s a serious matter. If he keeps his promise after elected president, that will most likely spark a global trade war.

Last, Trump’s foreign policy advisors are not well-known in Washington and on the international stages. So it is important to build friendship with them to help avoid a worst-case scenario. The government must strengthen our human networks with them to brace for a potential contingency.

JoongAng Ilbo, May 4, Page 34
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