On the contrary, Trump is against the TPP and vowed to kill it if elected. He said it yesterday that he would kill it on his first day in office. Trump is also against globalization, against free trade, against free flow of immigrants. The opposing principles of Hsien Loong and Trump are intractable. Both are very strong men with very strong heads and would not bend or make U turns when their minds are set. These are the stuff strong leaders are made off. Even if they make mistakes, they would stick to them and persevere.
We are going to see a contest of ideas between two great leaders of our time in Hsien Loong versus Trump. It is nothing personal, just about ideas, policies and principles. Hsien Loong finally has a huge battle to fight and this will be a testing time for Singapore, if it can really punch above its weight, to show the Americans, or at least Trump, that Singapore’s ideas of free trade, globalization and freedom of immigration are more superior than that of Trump.
Who would triumph in this contest would be decided by latest when either leadesrship ends and whether TPP is still alive, with the Americans in it or dead without the Americans in it. A draw would be when the TPP is alive without the Americans in it, with Trump unable to kill it but keeping the US out of it while Hsien Loong successfully carries the baby with the remaining TPP members in it. In a way this is a battle of leadership, who is the better leader to carry this baby and the rest of the members along. Singapore could rise as the new leader in the Asia Pacific region with Trump continuing with the isolation of the USA.
Just hope this will be just a contest of ideas and does not turn personal and ugly between Trump and Hsien Loong. If so, Hsien Loong would be at the losing end as Trump would be quite free with his flowery language while a decent Hsien Loong with his Cambridge root of aristocracy unable to match him. It is possible for Trump to show Hsien Loong his middle finger for that is what Trump is all about. But it is unlikely for Hsien Loong to return the rude gesture. It is just unacceptable in squeaky clean and correct Singapore culture for its god like leaders to do such a darn thing.
Maybe we will see Singapore sending a team of its best super talents to Trump’s office to explain to him how good the TPP is for the Americans and change Trump’s thinking that it is a disaster for the Americans. How could such a good scheme like the TPP be seen as so bad by Trump and so good for the Americans by Hsien Loong? Maybe they are looking at different sides of a coin or there are too many secret clauses that are not disclosed and Trump is still in the dark, and looking like an ignorant one.
Watch how this TPP show get its full run and how it will end with one of the two contestants turning out as the hero and the other a duck. This is a great opportunity for Hsien Loong to prove that he is a worthy successor to the Oracle and for Singapore to prosper to SG100.