January 22, 2018
Trump’s One Year as President of United States
By Saeed Qureshi
Donald Trump´s first anniversary (January 20,2018) as US president was overshadowed by colossal turmoil across the length and breadth of United States. Massive demonstrations erupted in many cities across the country. Huge processions took to the streets in major US cities to protest against president Trump and his policies. There prevailed a gubernatorial disorder and display of public outrage. The public-sector employees were not to be paid unpaid as a result of that murky situation. The fear of government shutdown was imminent.
Mercifully, The U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate passed a short-term measure bill on Monday to fund the federal government through Feb. 8 which ended a three-day government shutdown.
One has to look with microscope the positive and productive achievements and laudable accomplishments during Trump’s first year of holding the presidency. It may surmise that there are myriad setbacks. One may not single out one distinctive and laudable achievement that can be attributed to the 47th president of the most powerful country of the world. The economy has befitted but for the corporate sector.
His foreign policy is no policy at all and can be termed as a disaster: a word profusely used by president Trump himself. The virtue of courtesy or soft speaking has been rare or non-existent in his speeches, comments and statements. He has been lashing out ruthlessly and unabashedly both at the opposition. His own retina of friends and even certain honorable members of both the House and the senate were targeted by the president. His announcement on December 6 about the recognition of Jerusalem as the capitol of the state of Israel has utterly turned the Muslims around the world against him. It was a dormant and non-issue. He has made such myopic decisions.
The lurid part of this kind of politicking is that he seldom admits that he was occasionally on the wrong side of the political spectrum. He believes that the whole world is at war against him and he was a lone crusader to annihilate all of them. Several of his close associates who were initially his cabinet members were sacked by him or left on their own on the spur of the moment.
In the foreign policy domain Africa has been insulated and is distancing itself from United States for the period as long as president Trump would be in the White House. The African Union has issued a strong condemnatory statement in response to his comment of labeling African countries “shit-holes”. This can be termed as a huge setback and dent for American goodwill in the largest and unexplored continent. Most of the African countries are the recipients of the American largest and financial aid. But once unleashed from the apron string of the United States politically and financially, they would try to be self-sufficient and self-sustaining in financial domain. That would impel them to establish industries, streamline their political and financial systems and bring order and good governance somehow. It could result to a great degree in curbing the civil wars going on in many African countries.
His personal and deriding verbal bouts with North Korean president Kim Jong-Un and with other world leaders speak for a shallow and childish mindset. He has been lambasting his critics and opponents also at home turf using the same derogatory and personal jargon that is neither decent nor plausible.
The part of United States’ influence across the globe has been diminishing. With the advent of Trump, USA is being more isolated. This can be termed as the change of the century especially in the post second world war era. This change is at the cost of American influence and hegemony across the globe. The tussle between communism and capitalism although has gone dormant. But patently with the withdrawal of the United States the lands that had been under its wings politically and financially would be slipping out. Various countries including Turkey have dissociated from having moving along America with as partner after its recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The resurgence of Russia as a more moderate and less communistic state and expanding her influence seems to be one reaction of Trump’s lashing out at the international community including America’s friends. For several decades the most visible development has been China’s big and historical leap as a leading economic power and donor
Paradoxically, China has, somehow, replaced the United States in giving aid to other states. While the United States’ influence may dwindle, that of Chinese and Russian would expand. But the difference between Chinese aid and that of the United States is that while with Chinese aid there are no hard or binding conditions or compulsions attached as was in the case of American collaboration and friendship with her allies.
Secondly while American aid to the recipient countries had been largely in cash that of the Chines is in kind which means building the infrastructure and institutions to enable the recipient countries to stand on their own feet and become independent in their internal and external policies and plans, Moreover, behind the American foreign policy, there has been the principle of appointing and imposing surrogate heads of states and pliant governments for a favorable vote at the UNO and supporting American policies around the world. Its other planks had been to fight its war against the enemy countries or groups such as Houthis, ISIS, Taliban and Haqqani religious bands. It has also been aimed at debilitating the countries opposing the western hegemony and the cutthroat financial domination.
United States needs to lessen its overbearing role imposed since WWII through military means and financial grafts. On the contrary, it should compete with Russia and China and other international donors by demonstrating more humane, benign and sincere policy postures. It should aim at enhancing the international good-will rather creating the faithful robots, apron strings or blind stooges.
Majority of the American population and the world at large seems to be feeling that president Trump was a president who is not delivering as a president ought to do. His domestic agenda starts from Wall between Mexico and USA and expulsion or barring the immigrants from coming into the United States. He has been seen to be at war with everyone including judiciary, public figures, press and senators and all those institutions or individuals who oppose or criticize him for his wrong and myopic policies and decisions. The element of diplomacy, softness or accommodation that are the hallmarks of the politicians all the more of the president of the mightiest country in the world seem to be squarely deficient in the person and psyche of the incumbent president of USA.
If possible, he even might be prepared to fight physical duels with his opponents. His views and observations and even relationship with the womenfolk in the past are distasteful and hurl many question about the moral fiber of the president.
The tales of his sexual exploits are now well known in the USA. But this has not made any dent in his postures, nor does he admit that these were morally wrong and at least he should have apologized for those episodes of misconduct.
America and the American society has remained in a state of limbo and cultural and ethnic tension and political collision for the last one year. There are judicial inquires going on against president Trump and some of his former associates for their role of soliciting internet support for manipulation of vote counting in his favor against his rival Madam Hillary Clinton.
One may expect and pray that instead of being labeled as a supremacist, President Trump show demonstrates a kind of personality that endears him domestically as well abroad. If that is a miracle then let it happen.
The writer is a senior journalist, former editor of Diplomatic Times and a former diplomat. This and other articles by the writer can also be read at his blog www.uprightopinion.com