US Elections 2016: Final countdown

Both candidates do not project clarity

K Kesavapany, adjunct professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, believes that Hillary Clinton would be a better choice for Asia as she is a known face in her former role as the Secretary of State.
AMBASSADOR K. KESAVAPANY, Adjunct professor at the Lee KuanYew School of Public Policy.
AMBASSADOR K. KESAVAPANY, Adjunct professor at the Lee KuanYew School of Public Policy.

The one factor which could be the overriding issue in this election is uncertainty. Both candidates do not project an atmosphere of clarity, of how the country is going to go forward.

Mr Donald Trump has been able to mine into a well of dissatisfaction. What is coming home to roost is that people are dissatisfied, jobs are being lost, and people are not as happy as they were some time ago. In the case of Hillary Clinton, we see uncertainty because she suddenly says she won't support the Trans-Pacific Partnership. So this kind of flip-flopping, so to speak, doesn't bode well for either candidate.

We just have to wait and see, after all the hustle and bustle is over, whether they will adopt clear policies towards Asia.

Mr Trump comes with no foreign policy record whatsoever.

Mr Trump's weakness is that he tends to shoot his mouth off. He can't restrain himself.

In the case of Mrs Clinton, she's known to us. But her weakness is that America is entering a period of unsettled alliances.

We have in the Philippines Mr Rodrigo Duterte saying he wants to do away with this relationship. We have China wanting to have a more aggressive profile in the South China Sea. We have in Europe an increasingly aggressive Russian presence, portrayed by Mr Vladimir Putin. So all these are new challenges which have not been there before. The question is, is Mrs Clinton up to the mark?

The election is too close to call, because all the polls suggest it's only a margin of 5 per cent either way. So I don't want to be standing out and saying whom I prefer, and finding out it's not true.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 08, 2016, with the headline 'Both candidates do not project clarity'. Print Edition | Subscribe