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Trumpocalypse Now

Published on November 9, 2016        Author: 
Chappatte, The New York Times

Chappatte, The New York Times

Good morning, world!!! The Donald seems to have just grabbed the United States of America by her you-know-what. And so you, dear reader, are now thinking the unthinkable – oh how I miss the age of George W. Bush, a statesman, gentleman and a scholar (who apparently voted neither for her, nor for him). And you’re thinking – will he actually lock her up? Will that wall get built? Will Mexico pay? Will Muslims be prohibited from flying? Will, after everything, Jim Comey stay on as FBI Director? Will Nigel Farage emigrate to the US and become a cabinet secretary of some kind (silver linings etc.)? And you’re thinking – OMG how will Trump redecorate the White House, OMG Melania will be the First Lady, and OMG that orange guy is going to get the nuclear codes, seriously, is this s*!t for real? (Oh yes, it’s real.)

And, lastly, you’re thinking, what’s gonna happen to the international law project now – shall we overcome? What about the Paris Agreement? What about NAFTA? What about torture and basic human rights? What about the rule of law in America and abroad? Comments open below for any words of despair, wisdom or solace. In the meantime, I can highly recommend this series of posts by Ben Wittes on surviving a Trump presidency (here, here, and here). Good luck to us all – let’s now collectively go and watch a cat video or something to make the bad, bad man go away, at least until January.



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21 Responses

  1. Jakob Cornides Jakob Cornides

    The less bad of the two candidates has won. Sorry, Marko.

  2. Mihaela Mazilu-Babel

    What would John Stuart Mill say?

  3. Esposito Polito

    We’ll miss her enlightened foreign policy, the peaceful facebook revolution in north Africa, the wall against Assad, the silence with Russia (maybe also some gambling around Turkey and Isis). Too bad we’ve been deprived of such a wise lady and the codes won’t be in her hands. The alternative was not great, c’mon… OK, NAFTA is threatened, NATO funding too (he said that at least…). But I can’t think to Ms. Clinton with regrets.

  4. Miroslav Baros

    Thanks for initiating the discussion Marko. First of all I think the victory is not so unexpected because the media and the establishment in the US and here openly supported one candidate and provided the public with misleading figures and predictions in pursuance of that unprincipled support. Secondly, I don’t think that anyone should have any particular fear; neither Mexicans nor Muslims (specially for flying!) nor women nor the ordinary Americans nor the world ar large; opposite, the American “exceptionalism” may became a more palatable category as a result of this and internally, things can only improve in my mind. People should not forget that blue collar voters and women voted for Mr Trump overwhelmingly. So, with respect I am not using this space to express despair or to look for solace but to suggest that things can get actually better!

  5. Sia Spiliopoulou Åkermark

    Dear all,

    Is the Blog, or any other space for that matter, of the ESIL the right place for assessments and predictions of political events in single countries?

    What does this say about the relation between law and politics in international legal theory, as well as about our own views on the weight of individual states and persons on the shaping of international law?

    Irrespective of our personal political convictions, which we can express in many ways nationally as well as internationally,the ESIL should maintain its critical stance on matters of substantive and procedural international law, rather than follow in the steps of the rhetoric used by the new president?

    Sia Spiliopoulou Åkermark

  6. André de Hoogh André de Hoogh

    “Harmlessly passing your time in the grassland away;
    Only dimly aware of a certain unease in the air.
    You better watch out,
    There may be dogs about
    I’ve looked over Jordan, and I have seen
    Things are not what they seem.

    What do you get for pretending the danger’s not real.
    Meek and obedient you follow the leader
    Down well trodden corridors into the valley of steel.
    What a surprise!
    A look of terminal shock in your eyes.
    Now things are really what they seem.
    No, this is no bad dream. …”

    Pink Floyd, ‘Sheep’ (Waters), on Animals (1977), taken from

  7. Marko Milanovic Marko Milanovic

    Just in response to one of the previous comments and to provide some clarification – this is NOT a blog of ESIL, which is a separate organization; whether something is appropriate for this blog is a matter for the editors of EJIL: Talk; the election of Donald Trump – in particular the various promises he made in the campaign, for example to reintroduce torture or withdraw from the climate change agreement – directly raises numerous issues of international law that cannot be clinically separated from politics, even if one adopts a purely positivist conception of law. That said, all opinions on the merits or demerits of Trump’s election are welcome in the comments.

  8. Alessandra Asteriti

    As a woman, I am obviously dismayed. For anything else, I do think it is too early to say. I imagine he will be a very ineffectual president in foreign policy and a very detrimental one in domestic policy.

  9. James Summers

    Once Donald Trump has access to the launch codes of America’s arsenal of nuclear missiles, “you’re fired!” will no doubt take on a whole new meaning.

    A lesson for international law? This is, of course, a good test for the theory of liberal democratic states being more amenable than other states to international obligations. The transnational networks of public opinion, which seemed to have promise at the time of the (Bill) Clinton presidency, seem to be taking a bit of a knock at the moment.

  10. Jakob Cornides Jakob Cornides

    In line with my view already expressed on other occasions, I fully agree to Sia Spiliopoulou Åkermark: the assessment of the outcome of an election is probably not something many readers will be looking for here. Also, it seems to me that discussing general political issues would undermine the profile of this blog. Given the interest they appear to have in general politics, maybe the talented editors should look for a place on the editorial boards of NYT or HuffPost?

    If Trump indeed withdraws from the Climate Change Agreement or introduces new torture measures (beyond what his predecessors already have done…), this may indeed become a suitable subject for discussion – but I suggest we first wait until it really happens.

  11. Dr MJ Fox

    The consequences of Trump’s election should not be trivialized. If his words and behaviour from the campaign trail can be said to provide us with clues, then it is certainly a dark day for the USA and indeed for much of the world. This concern is not only due to his lack of experience and knowledge of the world at large, questionable business acumen, retrograde environmental views, capacity to incite thuggish behaviour at rallies, racist remarks and misogynistic behaviour, but also because of his repeatedly stated willingness to disregard, violate, or overturn a range of international legal instruments and customary law practices. As a man who repeatedy asked during a CIA briefing why the USA could not and should not use nuclear weapons, it would be unwise to underestimate his capacity to inflict a sea change in the rule of law or perhaps our very existence.

  12. David

    Still hoping for some good cat videos in this thread, which for this once would not be inappropriate for an IL blog. Just today and then back to work…

  13. Alessandra Asteriti

    Jakob, why did you open with a strictly political assessment of the result of the US elections then?

  14. Marko Milanovic Marko Milanovic

    David, may I suggest Talking Kitty Cat 47 – What No One Saw Coming!

    This on the other hand is not a cat video, but it has a lot of explanatory power:

  15. Jakob Cornides Jakob Cornides

    Alessandra, you’re right, I shouldn’t have. But if this is an excuse, I didn’t “open” the exchange, I just reacted.

  16. Alessandra Asteriti

    Sorry Jakob, I meant ‘why did you open the comments’. But maybe you were not aware it was the first.

  17. Eva Brems Eva Brems

    Dear Marko,

    Thank you so much for making me smile at a time of deep sadness. And for sending these link to Ben Wittes’.
    We cannot pretend law exists in a bubble, separate from politics. And certainly not when we talk about international law. So of course the election of a US president with radical ideas about some international relations issues is relevant for international lawyers.

  18. E Chadwick

    Thanks, Marko. Waking up to this event? Another ‘9/11’.

  19. Njiti Batty

    America and particularly USA has never changed, its impacts is the results of its policies and laws protected by the incumbent president for purposes of dominating the universe. Such impacts may differ depending on what he/she wishes to achieve at a particular time. We are yet to see such great impacts as America receives the new overseer of its laws and policies. The important question is whether international law will be tasted as it ought to be as His Excellency the President ‘Trump’ reigns.