To the astonishment of commentators and pollsters, Donald Trump has become the 45th president of the United States.
Naturally, celebrations are under way but it will not be long before attention turns to Trump adding detail to the many policy areas he spoke about before and during his election campaign.
Statements such as his intention to build a wall on the border with Mexico made headlines and gave leader writers endless ammunition for their columns, but we are yet to hear what it really means. It may mean something; it may be a promise left to fade quietly into the past.
That said, he has appeared throughout as an anti-internationalist whose single-minded focus is “America first”, giving governments around the world the distinct prospect of few favours and tepid cooperation.
On trade, Trump has spoken against the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal and demanded changes to the North America Free Trade Agreement. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t want trade deals—it means deals must be more pro-American.
On tax, Trump has called for lower rates on corporates promising a tax revolution, of sorts. However, Trump has been reluctant to publish his own tax returns, perhaps indicating that transparency is not his highest priority.
Perhaps most shockingly, Trump is a stalwart denier of climate change and becomes president just as the world, its governments and corporates are coming to terms with the Paris deal on climate change. Trump famously said in a speech in May that he would cancel Paris.
Commentators have claimed that Trump’s history in business demonstrates little enthusiasm for good governance as we understand it today. That may or may not be true, but what we can say is that in tone at least his statements run counter to the general thrust of global governance: transparency and openness, integrated thinking on social and environmental impacts, cooperation across borders.
Of course, it’s early days. It is impossible to know exactly what policies will emerge from the White House under Trump. But it is entirely possible that if governance is to remain progressive, it will be in spite of the next president of the United States.