IF Donald Trump was US president again right now, how would he have handled the crisis in the Middle East? Come to think of it, how would Trump handle the ongoing war in Ukraine?  

Yes, that war is still in full vicious tilt as we rapidly approach the second anniversary of the Russian invasion, though you could be forgiven for thinking otherwise given the dearth of news coverage.  

Isn’t it odd how the international news agenda these days appears increasingly unable to handle more than one big international story at a time? Committing its resources wholesale recently as it has to the Israel-Hamas conflict, it’s all too easy to lose sight of other really significant stories going on in the world.  

Trump and the possibility of him once again becoming president is one such story. But before we consider the bad news, let’s take stock of the positives for the Democrats.  

No doubt Joe Biden will be a tad relieved that his Democratic Party has recently secured victories in a series of state and local elections.  

Twelve months ahead of a presidential election in which Biden is set to seek a second four-year term, his party saw off Republican rivals, with a Democratic governor re-elected in Kentucky.  

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In Ohio, meanwhile, voters there dealt a blow to the Republican governor by allowing Democrats to reclaim control of the state legislature. These wins along with Democratic victories in local elections in Pennsylvania would suggest so far, so good for Biden.

But take a closer look at the bigger polls and things are not so rosy.  

With barely a year to go until the crunch date on November 5, 2024, a New York Times/Siena College poll this week showed Biden losing to Trump in five of the six swing states that will almost certainly decide the result of the 2024 elections. 

Voters also said they trusted Trump to do a better job on handling the economy (59% to 37% for Biden), on immigration (53% to 41%) and even on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (50% to 39%). 

Sure, polls are just a snapshot in time and public opinion wavers, but let’s just say Trump wins – what could the world expect from him as the next US leader? 

Well, you don’t have to look far for an answer on the domestic front given that most of it is laid out on Trump’s campaign website in the shape of a plan that’s been dubbed Agenda47 – a reference to Trump becoming America’s 47th president, if he wins. 

These range from the fantastical – or egotistical – such as the building of “freedom cities” on empty federal land, where Americans can live and work without “burdensome regulations”.  

The National: U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gestures as if he is sleeping while talking about his opponent Jeb Bush during a Trump for President campaign rally in Raleigh, North Carolina December 4, 2015. Trump is making a campaign stop in the Nor

It includes rounding up the homeless – sound familiar? – to get them off the streets and move them to tent camps outside US cities until their “problems can be identified”. In short, it’s all very Trump.  

But what of his international agenda? I ask because governments around the world faced with the serious prospect of his re-election are already trying to anticipate the foreign policies of a second Trump administration. 

Well, the first thing the international community would have to realise let alone contend with is that it would be dealing with a man who tried to subvert his own country’s democracy. That in itself would be a green light to despots and their ilk everywhere.  

For many, the US’s role as the bastion and protector of democracy and human rights is already severely in question under Biden as his administration’s largely unquestioning support of Israel has shown over the continuing bombing of Gaza.  

But like it or not, America still commands a central point in the eyes of many countries and their leaders when it comes to the trust on which many current alliances with the US are based. In a nutshell, the implications for Washington’s allies would be immense. 

Take Ukraine, for example. Under Trump, it’s pretty much a certainty that the US would reduce the scope or enforcement of sanctions against Russia.

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It’s very much a given too that Trump as president would at the very least slow supplies of weapons, munitions and other materiel to the Kyiv government, all of course justified under putting America first. 

Should Trump choose such a strategy, then ironically it would likely have the opposite effect, for whether one likes the idea or loathes it, America’s global clout has been greatly enhanced in the eyes of many by its support for Ukraine.  

Alongside such moves, Trump would almost certainly also step up his past intimidation and threats against Washington’s international treaties, in other words Nato and bilateral treaties with South Korea and Japan.  

Prospective relations with China would also be up for grabs, though here they might not be all that dramatic because US hostility to China is to be found within both Republican and Democrat ranks.

Where Trump differs from Biden on this, of course, is that the former couldn’t give a jot about ideology or political philosophy or “containing” China.  Autocracies, democracies, they are all one to Trump whose main beef with Beijing is economic. 

Business, money and who is the biggest deal-maker would be the motivators here for Trump though God only knows what the geopolitical implications of that might turn out to be in terms of China’s response. 

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Which brings me to the Middle East. Recently, of course, Trump lashed out against Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, albeit driven by Netanyahu’s apparent cosiness with Biden. In short, to quote one former Trump adviser: “He’s pissed off because Bibi praised Biden and the Biden White House for being supportive.”  

But were Trump to be re-elected, few doubt that he would adopt the usual US default position within US-Israeli relations, even if that also meant putting bad blood between him and Netanyahu behind them – working, of course, on the assumption that Trump regains power and Netanyahu remains in office. 

And so there we have it, for despite a post-presidential impeachment trial, four ongoing criminal trials for 91 alleged felonies and efforts by Republican challengers for the party’s nomination in 2024, Trump remains the frontrunner. 

The inescapable fact then is that in all, a return of Trump to the White House, while not inevitable, is evidently and disturbingly plausible. Given the parlous state of the global political scene right now, that is quite a prospect. Even more worrying is that it’s one that both America and the wider world seem to be sleepwalking into.