American President-elect Donald Trump has cared little for diplomacy while exchanging pleasantries with other countries after his election on November 8, which left the United States deeply divided. His conversations with the leaders of Kazakhstan, Pakistan and Taiwan have made the diplomatic circles uneasy. Trump’s talks with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen has been particularly disturbing, rattling the foundation of Washington’s ‘One china’ policy which it has been pursuing for many decades now.

Trump has been a product of America’s social turmoil which includes political, economic and cultural grievances against the establishment – but it is something which is completely internal.

The noisy election which was held this year was essentially a tussle between the ‘politically correct’ and ‘politically incorrect’ with the latter eventually prevailing. But the success of the 'politically incorrect' is more achievable in the domestic arena and not beyond it. Trump is perhaps trying to apply the same model of political incorrectness beyond the shores of America as well and that is a perfect recipe for disaster.

To be 'politically incorrect' in international affairs is dangerous

In foreign affairs, to be politically incorrect means to invite trouble. Theories propounded by experts of international relations over the years have clearly suggested this. The pattern in international relations is essentially cooperation marked by conflict – a system which has been put into place by a mutual agreement between sovereign nations.

This agreement is based on a kind of political correctness and unlike in domestic politics, it is something which ensures the durability of international peace. If Trump tries to challenge this foundation of international relations, he can put peace in a serious jeopardy. Democrat Senator Chris Murphy said very rightly after Trump’s unsettling phone calls: “These are major pivots in foreign policy w/out any plan.

That's how wars start. And if they aren't pivots - just radical temporary deviations - allies will walk if they have no clue what we stand for. Just as bad.”

Nations can't be treated in isolation

The international system has been shaped by historical factors.

Getting into a confrontation – direct or indirect – is not the crux of international relations today but how to make diplomacy work for universal good. Even though Trump’s team has claimed that the president-elect knows the significance of the international realities, his actions have certainly not substantiated that. He has treated all countries in an equal manner which is a dangerous thing to do.

Moreover, Asia is perhaps the most complicated of all regions in terms of international politics, and if the most powerful man on the earth gets into a reckless mode while dealing with countries that cannot be seen in isolation, the consequences could be grave for the entire international system. Didn’t Trump know that referring to Pakistan automatically makes India a part of the discussion, or that speaking to Taiwan’s leader brings China into the scenario?

If we look at Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he and his party – the Bharatiya Janata Party – have also come to power by capitalizing on the failures of the political correctness of the country's secular forces. But when it comes to the external affairs, Modi hasn't tried to challenge the status quo to achieve an alternate reality. For instance, irrespective of the tension with China, Modi didn't try something like challenging Beijing over Tibet. Some things can't be changed in international politics. It's simply not possible. Will Trump understand that?

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