Policy details were absence during his campaign, but there were clues of a disturbing agenda on immigration, healthcare, gun control and womens rights

Donald Trump has been short on policy details during his campaign. But already, the president-elect has hinted at an agenda that is as ambitious as it is disturbing on key policy issues. Heres what he will inherit and how he might answer, from the Guardian specialists.


Trump will enter the White House riding a wave of xenophobia and dread driven in no small part by his plans to drastically overhaul Americas immigration system. The president-elect has pledged to implement many tenets of his controversial reform package from day one and will now be emboldened by a Republican majority in both houses of Congress. Meanwhile, countless immigrant communities across America will no doubt be terrified about just how far he might run.

Trumps promise to build an impenetrable physical wall across the US southern border will supposedly commence on his first day in office. But the kicker to his now infamous campaign slogan stimulating Mexico pay for it will prove a near impossible deal to broker as experts predict the cost of such a construction could be four times greater ($ 40 bn) than Trump calculated during the campaign. Aside from the economics, the humanitarian consequences of increasing perimeter security as hundreds of thousands of Central American migrants continue to flee violence at home and seek refuge in the US are near unfathomable.

Trumps administration has pledged to pursue a temporary prohibit on migration from regions he deems exporters of terrorism and where even his extreme vetting will not be sufficient. Although this policy has gone through many iterations, the legality of such a program will almost certainly be challenged in the courts by the individuals who argue it will simply act as a smokescreen to let discrimination against Muslims seeking to enter America. Nonetheless, Trump is likely to be buoyed by the assistance of Congress.

For the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the US, Trumps presidency will usher in an era of heightened uncertainty and paranoia, as the president-elect has pledged to ramp up deportations. Trump will triple the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and seek to create a special expulsion taskforce. Although the president-elect has claimed this taskforce will first focus on the most dangerous criminal illegal immigrants, Trump has made clear that any undocumented migrants could be affected. Up to 6. 5 million people could be at risk of swift deportation.

The key question for the new administration will be at what point, if any, is possible to fulfill the demands of its white, conservative base, whipped up by the rhetoric of the campaign.

Oliver Laughland

National security

Trump now has control over the vast US security apparatus, with all its power to kill, surveil and influence. Trump, whose command of policy specifics is minimal, has attained no secret of his inclination to unleash it. Now he faces early tests of how far he will go.

Barack Obama will leave office with Guantnamo Bay still in operation as a detention facility. Trumps election ensures the infamous wartime prison escapes closure, but it will probably traverses a constitutional Rubicon. The president-elect has pledged to increase the Guantnamo population, a reversal of Obamas approach, with some bad dudes. Among those bad dudes, Trump told the Miami Herald, could be American citizens. His guaranteed to bring back worse than waterboarding threatens to undo the shaky alliance against torture, especially in a GOP Congress, of the late Bush and Obama administrations.

The move would be illegal if Trump meant to try Americans in military commissions, and almost sure find work unconstitutional if Trump meant holding Americans in indefinite detention. In the same interview, Trump also signaled a deviation from both Obama and George W Bush in expressing opposition to using the criminal justice system for terrorism cases.

Since Trumps definition of the domestic threat has centered on what he has called revolutionary Islamic terror, US Muslim communities, already the objectives of widespread law-enforcement suspicion since 9/11, would probably find themselves subject to a separate system of wartime justice in which they would enjoy fewer rights.

Trump has unapologetically embraced profiling as a commonsense approach to predicting terrorist threats, by which he entails increasing police and intelligence scrutiny of Muslim communities. Trump has endorsed surveillance in mosques and even a database of American Muslims, incendiary proposals that threaten traditional American liberties. The answer of the FBIs leadership which already has a strong base of support for Trump and a history of teaching its agents to consider Islam itself a threat will be a pivotal exam for justice in the Trump era. So will his choice of intelligence agency leaders, as Trump has attracted little supporting among experienced intelligence officials outside of the far-right fringe.

Another immediate exam Trump faces will be a military challenge. Obama will leave 8,400 US troops in Afghanistan. The fortunes of Americas longest war are on a downward trajectory as the Taliban reconquers lost terrain. Trump, who has criticized a withdrawal in Iraq he once supported as a gift to Islamic State, must now choose deviation, failure or escalation.

Spencer Ackerman

President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday in Moscow, Russia. Photograph: Mikhail Svetlov/ Getty Images

Foreign policy

Trump expended the campaign threatening to upend what has been called the liberal international order, the network of treaties and multilateral institutions that govern global relations. He has said he would tear up and renegotiate trade treaties, and has even called into question US commitment to the Nato alliance, the linchpin of western cohesion. With a completely new kind of leader preparing to enter the Oval Office, it is already looks a lot like a world turned upside down.

The long-negotiated multilateral trade bargains the Trans-Pacific Partnership( TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with Europe( TTIP) will be the first to be halted. Opposition to those accords was a cornerstone of the Trump campaign. Trump has also said he would take apart the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement( Nafta) that binds the US economically it to its neighbours, Canada and Mexico.

In place of such treaties, he has said he would negotiate bilateral bargains that would be more favorable for US manufacturing. But he would face hostile trading partners, annoyed at the dumping of major agreements. Trumps America could easily face a trade backlash and a downward economic spiral.

The other consistent topic of the Trump campaign was a foreign policy that revolved around his personality. He would bring his self-vaunted skills as a businessman to cut bilateral are dealing here with other world leaders, particularly the tyrants.

Trump said he would even talk to Kim Jong-un if the North Korean dictator would travel to the US for the conversation. That is unlikely, but the prospect of an unconditional dialogue between leaders would hurl a wild card into a deadlocked and particularly dangerous situation in which Pyongyang is well on the way to developing a nuclear warhead small enough to put one across a missile, and a missile able to reach the west coast of the United States.

The relationship that will define the Trump presidency, however, will be with Vladimir Putin. Each of them has showered the other with praise. At every turn in the campaign, Trump refused to criticize Russian expansionist foreign policy in Ukraine and Syria. His aides specifically removed speech from the Republican party platform about sending lethal aid to Ukraine, and Trump himself has echoed Putins refusals of Russian military presence in the countrys east. In Syria, he has characterised the Russian and Assad regime bombardment of the opposition as a war on Islamic extremism, again emulating Moscows line.

Trumps twin policies on the Islamic State( Isis) were to take their oil and bomb the shit out of them. The first is impractical without a vast military occupation and the second is illegal if it was suggesting indiscriminate bombing. A dual offensive against Isis is under way aimed at its twin strongholds of Raqqa and Mosul led by US friends, and a President Trump would face serious resistance from the Pentagon if he wanted to put US boots on the ground or to be implemented by joint operations with the Russians.

Early on in a Trump presidency, expect a summit with Putin in which US-Russian relations will be reworked along lines the Russian leader has been pushing for, ceding Moscow the matter of influence in the Middle East and on Russian borderlands.

Such a discussion will shock major US allies in Nato, an alliance Trump has described as obsolete. He has questioned whether it is useful for the US to provide a security umbrella to friends who are not deemed to have contributed enough, in financial terms, to collective security. Turmoil within Nato could meanwhile tempt Putin to make encroachments on its eastern flank. Few are more worried about the global consequences of a Trump win than the total population of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Julian Borger

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