To dream the impossible dream
This blog was originally written one day after Donald Trump became the president-elect of the USA. A disclaimer, first: this post is not about the perceived dangers of a Trump-presidency. Second, nobody knows anything. And third, even though the policy decisions of an American president have repercussions for the rest of the world, Kracht legal does not claim to know why a majority of American voters feel attracted to politicians as controversial as Donald Trump.
So here goes.
When ‘Brexit‘ happened, I wrote a post about it, because the UK leaving the EU directly affects us all. When Donald Trump said ‘Let’s make America great again’, I wrote a post wondering what he meant by that. Now that Trump will be the next president of the U.S.A., I once again deviate from the razor-edge of Dutch Intellectual Property law, and wonder what the future holds in store for us, European citizens, Intellectual Property-lawyers even.
What this blog is about, is what we – foreigners all – can expect, based on the promises made during the Trump campaign, because American presidents tend to keep their promises. According to research, on average some 75% of promises made during the campaigns get actually put into action. On the trail, Trump basically promised a policy based on three pillars: immigration, creation of jobs, and counter-terrorism. (I deduce this from a Washington Post article.) So let’s see: what does that mean?
‘Immigration’ means, I take it, enforcing existing laws against illegal aliens and deport some 11 million people. This will probably make life harder for many people now living in the USA, and discourage illegal immigration to the USA. This might mean more refugees and fortune-seekers will want to turn their eyes to Europe, although it’s hard to imagine 11 million Mexicans heading this way.
‘Counter terrorism’ for Donald Trump, means a slew of measures aimed against muslims in the USA and abroad, military action in Syria, and censorship. For instance, Trump promised to “Bomb the s— out of ISIS.” He proposed to target and kill the relatives of terrorists. He suggested shutting down “parts of the Internet” so that Islamic State terrorists cannot use it to recruit American children. Plus, he promised to bring back ‘waterboarding’ and introduce other methods of torture.
The promise of prolonged warfare, censorship and the abolition of the rule of law, would seem to turn the USA government into the enemy of both its own citizens and many people living abroad. However, the USA have a history of this; think Vietnam, McCarthy-ism and the USA’s involvement with various authoritarian regimes in Latin America. If all that were to make a come-back, it would probably lead to radicalisation of certain anti-establishment groups and/or the creation of such groups. I’m thinking along the lines of the German Rote Armee Fraktion, the Italian Brigate Rosse, or the American militant left-wing group The Weather Underground. The official torturing policy, might necessitate tearing up a treaty or two, and maybe amending the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Finally, the president-elect proposed to create jobs. He has promised to “bring back jobs from China”. He promised to tell Ford Motor Co.’s president that unless he’ll cancel plans to build a massive plant in Mexico, the company will face a 35 percent tax on cars imported back into the United States. As for Apple, he’s promised to bully Apple into making its “damn computers” and other products in the USA; same as for the manufacturer of Oreo cookies. Also, he promised to impose new taxes on many imports into the country.
This jobs-creation policy seems very interesting. If implemented, it would seem to mean that America brings back home much of the – manufacturing – industry that has been outsourced to other countries. I don’t know if it can be done by bullying corporations the size of Apple and Ford, but who knows? If successful, European countries might want to adopt this model. Although, at the very least, it will lead to ripping up some more treaties and a bunch of trade-agreements; and, as with Brexit, the emphasis will probably shift to national borders and smaller markets. Certain products may become more expensive, and of course jobs will be lost in the manufacturing and supply chain in various countries, which in turn may lead to civil unrest here and there.
So, you might wonder, ‘Where’s the good news?’ Well, Donald Trump cares about Intellectual Property! Regarding China, he’s promised “a zero tolerance policy on intellectual property theft and forced technology transfer”. So that’s good, right? The lawyers needn't worry.
(This blog tends to be in Dutch, however on this occassion, it’s not.)