Ending the Trump chapter

Published: 06:58 PM, 1 Dec, 2020
Ending the Trump chapter
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As the final month of 2020 approaches, rapid adjustments are in progress at the White House. The Trump administration is waking up to the fact that they have lost the election, contrary to popular belief. The rule of thumb proved appropriate, the future is never certain and the invisible hand of fate appears in most outlandish ways. It is the right time to look back and reflect on the tenure of Donald Trump and what he has done. Despite domestic and international outrage against his policies, is there any good that he has achieved and how he has changed the face of American politics for the foreseeable future? His presidency was by far one of the extremely controversial but it is pertinent to take a bird’s eye view of the course of action this man took and what it means for America and the rest of the world.

Let us begin with the positives, which is against the norm for Donald Trump. From the beginning, Trump had his eyes set on the judiciary. He firmly believed that the American Judiciary had the final say in America. So, in his time, the Trump team overhauled the federal judiciary by installing over 200 judges. This action has given a new impetus to the operational efficiency of the judicial system and it will serve the objectives of the Republicans to some extent for many years to come. Secondly, Trump introduced a comprehensive plan for taxation mainly targeting the corporate giants and giving them a say in party politics. It is something which was exclusive only to state politics and not the White House. Businesses were given an open door policy to Republican policymakers. Third, Trump added the Hollywood styled “Space Force” to the arsenal of the American Army. This force is not to protect humanity from alien attacks but to safeguard American assets, space stations and satellites orbiting the Earth. China and Russia are soon to follow suit because of Trump’s decision. Finally, a controversial so-called achievement is the introduction of extreme Far-Right Politics and inciting feelings of “America First”, but as they say, “one man’s misfortune is another’s harvest”.

On the flip side of the coin, Donald Trump has stirred feelings of disgust and outcry from many sectors around the world. One of the major setbacks to International Trade and commerce has been Trump’s initiative against China. In 2018, Trump kicked off trade wars with China causing damage, job losses and rising prices for everyone across the globe. Accusing China of intellectual property theft and unfair trade policies; slammed tariffs on Chinese exports. China was quick to respond and countered by introducing its own tariffs on American exports. In the end, no one was able to achieve any sizeable benefit. Similarly, in Hong Kong, Taiwan and South China Sea Dispute, Trump took a hostile stance pushing China to up its defence budget and counter-control strategies. The polarization of the developed countries is vividly present. Australia, India, Japan and Israel were rallied under Trumpism to counter China’s growing influence. China adequately responded by not just military and diplomatic alliances but one of progress, trade, commerce and connectivity with the OBOR and CPEC Project. Geo-political analysts are of the view that the US being excluded from OBOR is its greatest diplomatic failure and Trump has no alternative reaction to it. Xi Jinping has effectively taken advantage of every misadventure from the American side. Europe still hangs in the balance, slowly warming upto Bei Jing more than Washington. Biden will be inheriting a losing trade war and a deficit that is widening as a consequence of Trump policies towards China.

In foreign relations, Trump’s agenda was guided by simple realism, that is, “me first”. Obama had left a legacy of global awareness which was applauded and well-received by nations all over the world. Trump changed the narrative starting with backing out of the Paris Climate Change Agreement, which was an achievement on its own. In Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq, Trump initiated a reckless withdrawal with the popular slogan of “bringing back the boys”. His uncalculated recall of troops from Syria empowered Russia and Bashar-ul-Assad to establish a permanent hold. Moscow is now the main player in the region. In Afghanistan, the American army took a back seat which demolished years of progress made against the Taliban. At its peak, the Afghanistan Government agreed to hold peace talks with the Taliban committee in Doha, one which is repeatedly interrupted with dead Afghan soldiers and bomb blasts in Kabul. An ironic storyline follows with Iran. Trump administration backed out of the Iran nuclear deal which was brokered in collaboration with European nations. This unilateral action emboldened Iran to begin nuclear weapon processing once again and then came the sanctions. China was quick to respond by announcing a 400 Billion Dollar plan for Iran. The blind assassination of the Iranian General Qasem Soleimani on Iraqi soil made the Iraqi parliament demand a complete expulsion of US Troops from Iraq. On the other side, Trump’s support for Israel has been seen as a blatant violation of International law, human rights and democracy in the Middle East. Arranging diplomatic relations between UAE, Bahrain and Saudi with Israel is a clear attempt to further divide the troubled Middle East. Sales of the latest US armaments went up making UAE the new power instead of Saudi Arabia, which will haunt coming generations, a negative consequence of Trump policies.

On the domestic front, Trump faced more debacles than any other US president in history. With more than 278,000 Americans dead, Trump downplayed the Covid-19 pandemic. Millions of jobs lost and infection rates that are out of control. Even on the eve of his exit, there is no Covid relief operation in place. Evidently, Trump election campaigned was destroyed by this force of nature called coronavirus. A stark example is China which was able to deal with the virus and efficiently control its spread in less than four months. Making matters worse was the Racist policies of Trump. The Trump administration fueled hatred against non-whites whether it was Mexicans, Blacks or Muslims. The immigration laws shocked even the United Nations. Families were divided and children were kept in cages in detention camps. Democracy was nowhere to be seen. And then George Floyd happened. America was engulfed in flames while Police brutality claimed the streets across the United States. With his White Christian Racist agenda, Trump has effectively managed to divide a nation as a US Senator remarked, “Mr Trump has given us, the Divided States of America, neighbour versus neighbour”.

Trump has opened the pandora’s box of self-centred and obnoxious politics. There is a chance that future leaders will be inspired by his virtues but for now, the healing process is in order. Biden as a patient and inspiring figure has much to do before him. With the brown face of Kamala Harris and the promise of a complete overhaul, it will take firm commitment to reverse the flow of affairs in the White House. The Trump team made all attempts to make the election another glaring example of controversy and hateful opposition but there is a manageable effort to change. The writing is on the wall that Trump cannot go on.  The Republican president has failed his re-election but has altered the course of American politics worth three terms. With the work cut out, its time to pack the bags and start afresh for the American Nation.

Categories : Opinion
Imtiaz Rafi Butt

The Writer is Chairman of Jinnah Rafi Foundation.