Donald the businessman was impressive. Reality star equally so, but I fear the journey he is taking us on as President of the and Leader of the Free World. And I am not alone as evidenced by the many millions of protesters who banded together from to to register their disapproval.
Too late, though! The stable door is shut and the horse has bolted. All we can do now is sit back and watch this showman’s greatest performance in the hope that the world as we know it survives intact.
Our planet needs a strong and stable more than ever during these turbulent times, especially when the fabric of the (EU) is fraying due to the spectre of upcoming elections in , The and where far right-wing populist candidates are poised to emulate ’s win. , torn apart by divisions and hatred is not in anyone’s interest. Unfortunately, the President is no unifier.
Never before has an incumbent began work with so much enmity ranged against him from a great swathe of the population to the mainstream media, the intelligence community, ethnic minorities and political elites, both Democratic and Republican. His executive order overturning former President Barack ’s halt to two pipelines due to environmental concerns has already re-ignited protests and his disdain for climate change may see the US reneging on the Paris agreement.
Never before has a US President raised the hackles of ’s closest friends and partners (the EU, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization () and the ) or ignited such loathing in the capitals of his country’s neighbours and rivals ( and ) at the start of his 100 days honeymoon period.
I am all for giving him a chance, but after reviewing his statements on a variety of issues, regretfully I am not optimistic. Does he imagine his selfish “ First” goals will not go unanswered?
has categorically refused to pay for his about to be constructed border wall. has warned there will be no negotiation on the mainstay of the US- relationship, the ‘One ’ policy. is believed to be readying a message, the launch of a sophisticated long-range missile. says it has no intention of renegotiating the nuclear deal and in the event it is torn up will resume its previous nuclear programme.
Palestinian and leaderships warn that relocating the US embassy to will signal a violent backlash and an end to the very peace talks Mr has pledged to successfully broker with the aid of his son-in-law , who has been sworn in as senior adviser.
EU ministers have met successive times to discuss the impact of a presidency of US-EU ties. Their fears were not misplaced. The new administration has wasted no time in ordering Brussels to choose between its proposed EU Army and US funding for . Nations who have relaxed under the US diplomatic and military umbrella, including several in the , could decide to go it alone and begin developing nuclear deterrents.
Russian President Vladimir , who looks to to lift sanctions and British Prime Minister , eying a speedily negotiated trade deal, are arguably the only two heads of state genuinely as keen to shake his hand as he is theirs. We are told by the President’s family members that he values loyalty above all. So, we can assume that as long as his two new best friends are willing to play ball those relationships will endure but should they stray, they too will join his list of targets.
What does worry me is ’s wheeler-dealer nature. Where others see suffering, he sees dollar signs lit large in neon. For example, the international community is united in its belief that the 2003 invasion of was a blunder of catastrophic proportions. now insists he never supported it. Videos prove that is yet another example of “alternative facts”.
During his inaugural speech he said the US will not seek to impose its way of life on other countries. I believe him. He does not care what happens in the rest of the world provided it does not impinge on ’s national interests. Given the mess made poking his nose in where it was not wanted, that sounds like welcome news. But is it?
I was recently shocked by a video cataloguing various interviews and speeches – including his most recent message to the Central Intelligence Agency () – during which he made the same point over and over again:
“ has $15tn worth of oil, second to . Their armies are wiped out. They have weak armies. It is a corrupt society anyway… So, I said, very simply, ‘we take the oil’. At a minimum they pay us back the $1.5tn [for their liberation].”
“When we went over there I said, ‘Hey, I assume we’re taking the oil’… Ever heard the expression “To the victor belongs the spoils. If we leave, take the oil. At least pay us back. And I come out front page news is a horrible human being he wants to take the oil from a sovereign country… Give me a break!”
“I would take away their wealth. I would take away their oil. There is no . Their leaders are corrupt. There are no Iraqis… You put a ring around them [A ring-fence of US troops around oil fields]."
There is more, but you get the point. He expected to pay for its own destruction by impoverishing itself. He almost makes his predecessors and Barack look like do-gooders by comparison. If that is still his aim, how does he expect to defeat terrorists? The theft of ’s natural wealth would be akin to a terrorist-producing conveyor belt. His words are guaranteed to make other oil-producing states shudder.
Likewise, his seeming wish to impoverish by repatriating millions of undocumented migrants and threatening multi-national manufacturers not to create jobs in at pain of 45 per cent import tariffs could lead to a desperate human flood that no wall can keep at bay.
portrays himself as a champion for the little guy, the forgotten people. Yet, his proposed protectionist trade policies could deliver price increases and inflation and spark trade wars. must be chuckling over his tearing-up of the (TTP) that took seven years in the making, and which Beijing has now been invited to join.
’s is one devoid of all compassion as his executive orders banning refugees from war torn countries, targeting ‘sanctuary cities’ refusing to prosecute undocumented migrants and his halting of visit visas for nationals of , , , , , and . Such moves primarily victimising Muslims will only serve to heighten anti-American sentiments and be construed as blessing hate speech and xenophobia directed at American Muslim communities. It has started. On 15 January, a mosque in Seattle was torched.
His rush to dump Obamacare without a suitable replacement could leave millions uninsured. One of his very first executive orders was to roll back ’s efforts to reduce mortgage insurance premiums. He has also been accused of demonising food stamps upon 45 millions of ’s poorest, the very people who voted for him, rely.
The is run on a system of checks and balances. But with a Republican majority on the Supreme Court in the offing and a Republican-dominated Congress, we can but trust that partisanship will not keep those brakes from being well oiled.
My advice to President Donald J. is this: You can catch more flies with honey. Reach out to all those you have threatened or offended. Ask them to work with you to make our world better, not just for Americans, but for us all. You cannot manage the superpower like a family business.
At stake are ’s cherished values and its stature as a beacon of hope for the poor and oppressed. If and when the US loses the world’s respect, its leadership role will be rendered defunct for decades to come.