An un­wel­come change

Mizzima Business Weekly - - EDITORIAL -

Amer­ica needed change. But not this way. Many peo­ple in Myan­mar and around the world looked on in hor­ror last week as the Repub­li­can can­di­date Don­ald Trump won the US pres­i­den­tial race against Demo­cratic con­tender Hil­lary Clin­ton. To say it was a shock for many peo­ple in the US and around the world would be an un­der­state­ment. This has been the most di­vi­sive elec­tion in US history.

Over the last year, in ral­lies around the United States, Mr Trump has shown him­self to be an ill-in­formed racist, misog­y­nist, sex­ual preda­tor, bully and au­thor­i­tar­ian who, in the words of one critic, should not be put in charge of a boy scout troop, let alone lead the most pow­er­ful na­tion on earth with a finger poised over the nuclear but­ton. While his ac­cep­tance speech in the early hours of Novem­ber 9 was pre­pared and toned down, the dam­age has been done. Amer­ica is more deeply di­vided than it has ever been.

Why should this mat­ter to Myan­mar or any other coun­try in the world?

Trump’s win in Amer­ica marks a turn­ing point in history, even - it might be ar­gued - the be­gin­ning of the end of Amer­i­can em­pire and in­flu­ence around the world. Cur­rent US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama was not per­fect, but he stands in stark con­trast to the man who has shown him­self to be a fas­cist and fool who looks set to throw the demo­cratic and so­cial gains ham­mered out over the last few years into hard re­verse.

To be fair, the world needs to stand ner­vously by and wait un­til the new Amer­i­can leader takes up of­fice in Jan­uary 2017 and view the pres­i­dency cau­tiously as the months roll out. It can only be hoped that more rea­son­able voices within Trump’s co­terie will help re­strain some of the knee-jerk re­sponses of this man who has been likened to a four-year-old bully in a school yard.

But there are many rea­sons why peo­ple around the world are wor­ried. Since the end of World War II, the United States has stood tall as the world’s most pow­er­ful na­tion with both diplo­matic and mil­i­tary out­reach. Crit­ics may com­plain about Washington’s in­ter­fer­ence and mil­i­tary ad­ven­tures in dozens of coun­tries over this pe­riod. But typ­i­cally the man in charge – whether Repub­li­can or Demo­crat –has ap­proached the of­fice of the most pow­er­ful per­son in the world with a sense of grav­i­tas and ma­tu­rity, by and large seek­ing to pull the coun­try to­gether, not di­vide it.

Now with Mr Trump about to take of­fice, with a col­lec­tion of fol­low­ers who do not of­fer a sense of con­fi­dence, it is un­clear not only how he will fare do­mes­ti­cally but also how much he might dis­rupt ex­ist­ing bi­lat­eral and in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions.

As one dis­grun­tled Amer­i­can voter put it: “I can only hope that, come Jan­uary when he and his fam­ily move into the White House, he will take the grav­ity of the of­fice of Pres­i­dent of the United States se­ri­ously. I can only hope that he will not of­fend and chal­lenge lead­ers of our al­lied na­tions at ev­ery turn. And now, as I pre­pare to say my prayers and go to sleep, I can only say God bless Amer­ica. Good­night.”

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