Sunday, December 05, 2021

Out of my mind: Trump tornado

Trump has had the most crowded first month of any President.

Written by Meghnad Desai |
February 26, 2017 12:45:05 am
America and Donald Trump, Trump's ratings in America, Donald Trump's approval rating in America, latest news, India news, National news, India news, National news, India news, latest news US President Donald Trump (File Photo)

Most people refused to take Donald Trump seriously before he got elected. Indeed, the received wisdom was that he was making promises he could not deliver. Others were hoping that once elected he would forget what he had said during the campaign and behave like any other American politician.

He did not show any sign of fulfilling those expectations.

Trump’s inaugural speech was astonishing. Instead of the triumphalist rhetoric of John Kennedy’s inaugural, he painted a dark picture of an America with factories shut down, abandoned towns.

He called it a carnage. He spoke of the drug addiction and crime in inner cities. Normally this would be admired for its highlighting of the nation’s neglected problems. But the media attacked him for his pessimism. The media seemed to have decided that Trump is evil and has to be fought. He in turn is a combative fighter and he has begun to blame them for fake news.

Trump has had the most crowded first month of any President. His ban on incoming travellers from seven Middle Eastern countries lost out in the courts. This of course showed two things. First that the President may be the most powerful man on Earth as the Americans claim, but he is part of a system of separation of powers. The judiciary has its own role. Secondly it showed that the Trump team is very amateurish. Their executive order was badly drafted. But Trump made the move as he had promised and soon will get his way. Though his critics said it was an anti-Muslim gesture, the ban applies to all people who come from the seven countries whatever their race or religion.

Again Trump got lambasted for being anti-Muslim whatever the evidence.

Trump has begun to make his mark on American foreign policy much to the alarm of the foreign policy establishment. He is friendly with Vladimir Putin. Indeed many allege that the Russians hacked emails in the US to defeat Hillary Clinton. But since Clinton got three million votes more than Trump, the Russians could not have been either clever or effective. What is more, they got caught!

Trump has also shaken up NATO. It was set up in the days of the Cold War. Now, after the collapse of the USSR, what is the purpose of NATO? Europe had the US nuclear umbrella for over 70 years. Apart from the UK and France, no country in Western Europe spends 2 per cent of its GDP on defence as they are pledged to do as members of NATO. This is what economists call free riding.

Trump wants these countries to pay up their due share. Again virtuous outrage from the free loaders. They need to make Putin into a villain since otherwise America could downscale its armies in Europe. Trump is aware that America needs to spend its money on its own problems and examine whether its spending on other people’s security gives it any benefits. But as he is supposed to be a right-wing monster, he cannot do anything right.
As in the case of Narendra Modi, what the media says is never quite what is happening. Outsiders in politics are not welcome. But in both cases, the individuals are not going away any time soon. They will end up transforming their world.

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