What’s Trump Going to Do for Me?

Sage gives some brief thoughts on the inauguration of Donald Trump as President of the USA.


I find it hard to get worked up over Donald Trump. I’m not a US citizen and don’t live there. I like to visit, but I haven’t been able to go for some years and I am not likely to go anytime during Trump’s first term – which given his age may be his only term. Just about anything that Trump might do domestically will have little or no effect on me.

Even if I had been eligible, I wouldn’t have voted for him. I would almost certainly have voted for Gary Johnson (Libertarian). I’d definitely have been in the ‘Anyone but Hillary’ camp. But what can President Trump do for me?

NATO and Wars

On foreign policy, then, yes, ‘The Donald’ could clearly have an effect on the whole world. I doubt that he will be anymore belligerent than Obama. It would be hard to get involved in more wars for longer than Obama did, Nobel peace prize or not.

Trump’s criticism of NATO maybe worrisome, especially for those NATO members who share borders with Russia. On the other hand, he does have a point: NATO countries really ought to contribute their agreed shares to the alliance budget both in cash and resources. A dependency culture in defence matters is no way forward. Perhaps too, an alliance built in the and for the Cold War of the 1950s is outdated in the 2010s, even if the primary threat is considered to be the same, being Russia/USSR.

Trade and Brexit

I’d like to think that Trump’s rhetoric on trade agreements with the UK does indicate a willingness to get a trade agreement with us as soon as #Brexit becomes a reality. While there is no practical reason why there should not be an early bilateral US/UK deal, it should be remembered that Trump also talks a lot of protectionism too. It’s possible therefore that any deal proffered by the US to the United Kingdom may not be as much of a free trade deal as I would like. Still, it must be better than being ‘at the back of the queue’, as Obama threatened last year.

Big Mouth Strikes Again

I’ve never met the guy, and never will[1]. Perhaps, therefore I shouldn’t judge him on appearances, but he seems, even on the basis of his own tweets, to be vain, arrogant and self-centred, even prone to tantrums. Mind you, he’s not the only politician to be like this. I’ve met a few UK politicos that are just like that. The difference being that they are usually better at hiding it that Trump: with Trump, WYSIWYG[2]. It’s this openness that makes Trump into an ‘anti-politician’, and perhaps makes him seem more honest, especially to his supporters.

I’m not so sure. Being completely open and saying exactly what you think at the time is not just bad diplomacy – it won’t win friends and influence people – it can also break some of the bounds of common decency. His remarks to and about Megan Kelly, for example, were quite unnecessary. Trump’s style can be refreshing, but I think he goes too far in this respect. As President, he needs to put his twitter account away, and think a little more before he opens his mouth.

“It’s Going to be Great” – Hopefully

I want Trump to be active in one area. I want him to order a complete and comprehensive review of US Government funding for ‘Climate Change’ research. Assuming that the political placements and eco-activists have first been removed from the relevant Executive bodies, I suggest the following:

First, he needs to order an independent review of NASA/NOOA climate data – from the initial data collection through the ‘adjustments’ to the final published figures. This should be conducted by academic statisticians who have little or no self-interest in the area of climate change. This will ascertain, once and for all, if there is a valid dataset or datasets on which an assessment of the degree of global climate change can be made, and establish the appropriate statistical error to be attributed to those datasets[3].

Second, he should ensure that Governmental funding for climate research is not predicated on a required outcome. That is to say that funding should be awarded indifferently to whether anthropogenic climate change is presupposed or not.

Thirdly, funding for ‘climate change’ be it research, development of green energies, green subsidies need to be significantly reduced, and some of the money saved spent in doing real work in cleaning up real damaging pollutants, such as clean air, removing plastics from the oceans to name but two. There are many more things that could also be done effectively for only a proportion of current climate change expenditure.

If Donald Trump can do this, and nothing else during his term, I will, as a non-American, be happy with that.

[1] Unless you can say that I ‘met’ President Clinton once when he waved at me from his presidential motorcade. I know he was waving at me, as I was the only person on that bit of the street at the time. If this counts as ‘met’, then I suppose it’s possible I’ll one day meet President Trump. Otherwise, no I won’t.

[2] What You See is What You Get

[3] Publicly available data sets rarely, if ever, show statistical error or error bars. They should.