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Matthew Crandall – How do the US Elections Affect Estonia?

10.01.2017

The video and this text were first compiled one day before the election took place, slightly updated after the elections.

The US Elections were followed intensely across the world. The US has an enormous effect on the rest of the world economically, concerning security and culture, says associate professor Matthew Crandall from the School of Governance, Law and Society.

“President of the United States of America” is the most powerful job in the world. As the US is a presidential system, the seat comes with a lot of power. Let us analyse what the US President can do in the first place.

The President directs foreign relations and names all ministers and ambassadors. He or she discusses and signs all contracts with foreign countries. For example, Obama restarted relations with Cuba and named an ambassador to serve there. Currently he is in talks with the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. At the same time, the President holds great amounts of non-formal power and can unofficially speak to the whole world.

The President of USA influences Estonia in many ways. If we look at Barack Obama’s state visit of 2014, we remember the influence the speech had, as he said the protection of Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius is as important as Berlin, Paris and London. In addition, Obama has proposed to quadruple the defence expenditures in this area.

The result of the elections will have an influence in Estonia. If Clinton had won, the general course would have gone unchanged. The priorities would still have been strengthening NATO and defending the Baltics. The TTIP agreement would have been uncertain. Even though Hillary Clinton used to be open to trade agreements, she took an opposing stance during the campaign.

Donald Trump’s victory brings about many question marks. He has declared many things during his campaign and it is difficult to say what he will actually do. We have to remember the restrictions the President has. The USA is not Russia, where the President gives an order and things just happen.

The Congress has a large limiting power. In addition, the USA considers public and foreign opinion, budget limitations, etc. Thus, Trumps win does not mean Estonian should fear for drastic changes. Nevertheless, Trump has stated that he has less interest in this area and NATO in general than any other candidate to date. In addition, he has shown that his speeches can be scandals in themselves.

The new president will bring new developments to the relations of Estonia and USA. Time will only show what kind of developments they will be.