The First Year of the Trump Presidency: Assessment and Outlook for 2018

Wednesday, February 7, 2018 (13:30 – 15:30)

Sequis Center, 11th Floor, Jl. Jendral Sudirman Kav 71, Central Jakarta.

Open ForumTheo SambuagaPresident Trump’s first year has been eventful, filled with head-spinning developments that constitute a sharp break from past U.S. policies, practices, and tone over several administrations. Over the past year, the U.S. President, as he pledged during his campaign, has adopted an ‘America First’ approach in economic and foreign policy, as shown by his decisions to withdraw from the TPP and the Paris Climate Accords. He succeeded late last year in passing a far-reaching and controversial new tax code, and has cut down regulatory restrictions for businesses in the US, although his earlier effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act was unsuccessful. He has taken an uncompromising stance on preventing North Korea’s gaining nuclear weapons production and delivery capability, outlined a strategic vision for protecting the American people in his recently released National Security Strategy, and made a controversial decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The style of governmental decision making, and of communicating with the public and press, have markedly changed as well.

2018 will be a pivotal year. The United States will conduct its legislative bodies’ midterm elections. Also known as a ‘wave election’, midterm elections have been a determining factor of how the United States will fare nationally and internationally in the second half of the sitting presidency. The U.S. will also participate in a series of important international summits, including the G-7, G-20, NATO, and United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). President Trump’s decisions on the U.S. stance at the international summits will affect many important global issues. As concerns Asia, President Trump’s visit in late 2017 reaffirmed the region’s importance to the US; questions remain as to policies his administration will implement in 2018.

As we begin 2018, it’s timely to reflect on how has President Trump translated his ‘America First’ approach in terms of his economic, trade, investment and foreign policies? What are the factors that influenced President Trump’s rise to power and shaped policies he’s adopted in the administration’s first year? It is also timely to consider how President Trump’s policies and current priorities may affect issues of concern to Asia, both public and private sectors, for 2018 and to take an early look at the upcoming 2018 US midterm elections.

Speakers’ Bio:

Steven Okun is the founder and CEO of APAC Advisors, a renowned strategic advisory firm focusing on business and investment, government relations, policy and sustainability. He also serves as the ASEAN Representative for EMPEA, the global industry association for private capital in emerging markets. He served in the administration of President Bill Clinton from 1994-1999, and worked on numerous political campaigns, including the US Presidential campaigns in 1988, 1996 and 2000. He serves as a co-host on CNBC to provide expert analysis on US politics and the intersection of government and business, as well as providing the same for Channel NewsAsia. He guest lectures at universities across Asia, is frequently quoted in media, as well as having been published in The Straits Times and The Business Times.

Mr. Okun was elected as both the Chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore and the Asia-Pacific Council of American Chambers of Commerce, and has lived and worked in Singapore since 2003. He is a Senior Advisor to global consultancy McLarty Associates which works with clients at the nexus of business, investment and policy. Mr. Okun received his BA from the University of Virginia and his JD from the University of Virginia School of Law.

Aaron L. Connelly is a Research Fellow in the East Asia Program at the Lowy Institute, a recognized independent international policy think tank based in Sydney, Australia, where he focuses on Southeast Asia, particularly Indonesia and Myanmar, and the US role in the region. Prior to joining the Lowy Institute, Mr. Connelly worked at Albright Stonebridge Group, a commercial diplomacy consultancy headquartered in Washington. As a director at the firm, he assisted companies and non-profits in understanding political risks to investments and operations in Southeast Asia. As special assistant to the chair of the firm, former US National Security Advisor Samuel R. Berger, Mr. Connelly collaborated closely with Mr. Berger on foreign policy matters, conducting research for and representing him in a variety of outside initiatives, including those regarding the US role in East Asia.

Previously, he worked at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, as a Fulbright scholar and visiting fellow at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Jakarta, and a consultant to US firms operating in Southeast Asia with BowerGroupAsia. Mr. Connelly earned a master’s degree from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and a bachelor’s degree from the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University. He also studied philosophy, politics and economics at Pembroke College, Oxford.

Catatan

Meskipun Dr Steven Okun anggota Democrat Party tetapi dalam pemaparannya tetap menjaga profesionalitasnya. Diprakirakan hasil Midterm election yang akan dilakukan bulan Mei 2018 partainya Presiden Trump akan menguasai Congress sedangkan Senat bisa kembali dimenangkan Democrat Party. Apa yang terjadi jika DP mayoritas tipis di Senat? Paling banter proses anggaran diperketat (dipersulit), hal itu seperti dialami di era President Clinton.  Bisa dimengeri mengapa program pemotongan pajak penghasilan Trump lolos.

Mengenai impeachment dalam menjawab pertanyaan peserta Forum tsb menurut Okun, impeachment adalah keputusan politik di Congress dan sepanjang sejarah AS seingat saya hanya sekali dilakukan voting terhadap President John Quincy Adam dan President lolos dari impeachment. President Nixon baru sebatas wacana kuat tetapi Nixon memilih berhenti jadi President dan oleh wapres yang menggantinya di berikan amnesti. Menurut Okun kecil sekali kemungkinan ada proses impeachment terhadap President Trump.

Okun menyebut cara Republic Party unggul dalam Midterm election yaitu apa yang dikenal dengan “the issue of partisan gerrymandering” . Suatu cara yang saya tidak paham mungkin yang dimaksud mengakali pemilihan seperti menempatkan TPS ditempat terpencil, jam dan hari kerja yang menyulitkan pergi ke TPS kalangan kaum buruh yang umumnya dari imigran kulit berwarna  dan buruh kulit hitam dan pendukung DP..

Menjawab pertanyaan peserta mengenai penembakan yang meluas, menurut Okun pihak Trump memilih menghindari isu pembatasan pemilikan senjata seperti dilakukan Obama. Kalangan konservative RP terlalu sensitif jika menyangkut hak proteksi diri seperti memiliki senjata.

Yang menarik dalam video ketika seorang Bapak sangat sepuh yang pernah tinggal di AS selama 14 tahun mengutarakan orang AS yang dia kenal bisa memilih seorang Trump sebagai President. Okun secara deplomatis mengatakan bahwa mayoritas rakyat AS seperti hasil Pilpres yang lalu, Mrs Clinton unggul dalam popular vote atau sekitar 4 juta pemilih.

Ketika seorang peserta dalam bahasa Indonesia memaparkan pendapatnya bahwa Indonesia kalah dari Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand dalam trade serta kalah dalam GDP Growth kemudian menyebut AS kalah dari RRC. Terpaksa saya bicara (disekitar menit ke 50 di video tsb):

Fokus Presiden Jokowi adalah secepatnya lolos dari Middle Income Trap yaitu menuju Income per capita PPP pada angka US$ 20 000, sekarang kita US$ 10 000 sedangkan Thailand US$ 15 000 dan Malaysia US$ 22 000. Mengenai AS kalah dari RRC juga tidak benar sebab AS membutuhkan Impor barang2 konsumsi dari RRC  dan RRC butuh cadangan devisa dalam US$. AS unggul ekspor barang2 HiTek. Mengenai growth GNP kita pada angka 5% kalah dari Vietnam dan Filipina harus dilihat basis dari GDP, jika basisnya kecil maka persentasi kenaikkan lebih tinggi.

Okun bercerita bahwa Trump maupun Pence tidak pengalaman dalam pemerintahan tingkat nasional dan internasional – sering Trump perlu dijelaskan istilah2 perjanjian internasional oleh anggota timnya. Sering respon Trump keluar tiba2.  Saya mengatakan perlu dibedakan mana pernyataan Trump yang untuk konsumsi domistik dan untuk luar negeri. Pemindahan ibukota Israel ke Yerusalem adalah untuk konsumsi domistik, entah disadari apa tidak oleh President Trump akibatnya di luar AS.

Diposting oleh Gandatmadi

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