It really happened.
Obama has gone and the Trumpocalypse begins today. How worried should we be in the UK? Mark Beaumont runs four doomsday scenarios past the experts.
Donald Trump’s tweets suggesting the US must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability are reason for concern according to Kingston Reif, director for disarmament and threat reduction policy at the Arms Control Association. Trump repeatedly asking a foreign policy expert why America couldn’t use its nuclear weapons displays a reckless and deeply troubling attitude that could “accelerate global nuclear tensions” and indicates that “he might engage in dangerous nuclear brinkmanship in a crisis”. Reif argues: “The fate of tens of millions depends on the good judgment and stability of a single person. The President, and the President alone, is the supreme authority to order the use of nuclear weapons. All of which makes Trump’s erratic behaviour and loose talk on nuclear weapons deeply concerning.”
Chance of Trumpaggedon: 2/5
Ham-fisted attacks on ISIS ramp up terrorism in the west
Professor Inderjeet Parmar, an international politics academic at City University, sees potential problems with Trump’s approach to the Middle East. Going back on the recent agreement to lift sanctions on Iran in return for them not developing their nuclear weapons programme could be “very, very destabilising” and if Trump’s “secret plan” to defeat ISIS involves US troops on the ground in Syria, it could lead to “much greater conflict”. “America will get embroiled in another Middle Eastern war, annoying the Muslim world,” says Professor Parmar, and that could well mean more terrorist attacks on European targets.
Chance of Trumpaggedon: 4/5
Trump tweets his way to World War III
Many fear Trump’s antagonistic Twitter persona will widdle on the well-made bed of international relations. Professor Parmar sees it more as post-truth “smoke and mirrors”. “Trump plays at several different levels,” he says. “His tweeting and his public rhetoric is often contrary to what he’s doing at a quiet level. So he’ll rail against Wall Street but he’s appointed loads of people from Wall Street into his administration. It’s part of this quite robust strategy that you renegotiate relationships and use all instruments available.”
Chance of Trumpaggedon: 2/5
Slow death by climate change
Trump’s belief that climate change is a conspiracy theory the Chinese invented because they want all the world’s vehicles running on kung po sauce (or something) is of great concern to environmental experts, as is his suggestion to pull the US out of the Paris agreement on global temperature. Dr Thomas Crowther, a Marie Curie Fellow at the Netherlands Institute For Ecology, insists “meeting the goals set at the Paris agreement is absolutely essential to minimise the magnitude of the effects and it would be disastrous if the US pulls out, not just because they’re one of the biggest emitters, but because other countries might follow suit.” Left unchecked, climate change might see Britain looking more like Westeros than we’d like. “If the melting ice caps slow the Gulf Stream, the UK will be plunged into Arctic-like temperatures,” explains Dr Crowther. In the most economically derived regions, it will lead to massive-scale migration, starvation and war.
Chance of Trumpaggedon: 3/5