Pres­i­dent Trump and his World View

Southasia - - COM­MENT -

Now that Don­ald Trump has be­come the Pres­i­dent of the United States, it is be­ing thought that the new pres­i­dent will im­pose his rad­i­cal think­ing on many in­ter­nal poli­cies im­pact­ing the life of the av­er­age Amer­i­can. At the same time, the pres­i­dent is per­ceived to be some­what of a novice where US for­eign pol­icy is con­cerned.

Though in the days be­fore the run-up to his tak­ing oath of of­fice on Jan­uary 20, 2017, the pres­i­dent-elect must have been put through a crash course re­gard­ing US for­eign pol­icy but ob­vi­ously there must have been so much to take in that it must have be­come a her­culean task for the gen­tle­man. He is known to be a bril­liant and suc­cess­ful busi­ness­man and, some would say, a charis­matic re­al­ity TV host, but he has never held any govern­ment or state of­fice and, un­til the time when he won the US elec­tions, he had prob­a­bly never imag­ined that he would one day be­come the world’s most pow­er­ful man and hold the job of the Pres­i­dent of the United States.

Per­haps it was his lim­ited world view that failed to pre­vent him from is­su­ing an ex­ec­u­tive or­der ban­ning the na­tion­als of seven Mus­lim coun­tries and refugees from Syria to travel to the USA and wait edg­ily in their home coun­tries for a process called ‘ex­treme vet­ting.’ The or­der pro­voked a very neg­a­tive re­ac­tion from around the world as well as from within the United States where thou­sands took to the streets to protest against Trump’s de­ci­sion and to find novel ways to ex­press their anger. The un­for­tu­nate fall­out was that many peo­ple in the seven Mus­lim coun­tries were left stranded at air­ports and were un­able to unite with their fam­i­lies in the USA or travel to the coun­try for a host of other rea­sons. Now there is even more con­fu­sion as le­gal bat­tles be­tween the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion and the US ju­di­ciary have erupted. Per­haps Mr. Trump’s vi­sion did not stretch be­yond what came to be known as the ‘Mus­lim Ban’ and re­flected his ab­hor­rence of the en­tire Mus­lim world as they were gen­er­ally cat­e­go­rized by him as ‘Is­lamic Ter­ror­ists.’

In stark con­trast to this ap­proach was that of Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau of Canada, who has al­ways con­sid­ered the 10 mil­lion Cana­dian Mus­lims as his very own peo­ple and the doors of whose coun­try are al­ways open to le­gal im­mi­grants as well as those refugees from war-torn Mus­lim states who are now not even wel­come in Europe. The mas­sacre of Mus­lims pray­ing in a mosque in Que­bec has been a time of great sor­row for the young Cana­dian Prime Min­is­ter and he has ex­tended all sup­port to his Mus­lim coun­try­men. He has cried with them and laughed with them with sen­ti­ments that re­flect his deep hu­mane qual­i­ties.

It is clear Pres­i­dent Trump has failed to rec­og­nize that one, he is Pres­i­dent of the en­tire United States and not only those pre­dom­i­nantly white Amer­i­cans who hate the Mus­lims and the peo­ple of Mex­ico and other sim­i­lar coun­tries and, two, the United States of Amer­ica is at present the world’s sole su­per­power and that it must hold on to this sta­tus not only by word but also by deed. Over the years and through many ad­min­is­tra­tions, the USA has played a very vi­tal role in world af­fairs and has en­joyed the sup­port of most na­tions on the globe, whether Mus­lim or oth­er­wise. It has led many al­liances and ini­tia­tives, whether th­ese were of a mil­i­tary, civil­ian or hu­man­i­tar­ian na­ture. It may have been com­mended for its role or oth­er­wise but it has con­tin­ued to lead the world in the true spirit of a su­per­power.

The un­der­ly­ing theme of Amer­i­can pol­icy has al­ways been peace and aid and, to this end, it has made all its sources avail­able and has gone out of its way to give bil­lions of dol­lars for such causes. Of course, the USA’s own mo­tives have also driven this ap­proach but that is why it is a su­per­power. It must also not be for­got­ten that both the USA and Canada are what they are to­day be­cause they are na­tions com­pris­ing im­mi­grants from all corners of the world. In the be­gin­ning, mi­grant pop­u­la­tions from Eng­land and the rest of Europe came to the North Amer­i­can con­ti­nent and that is why this part of the world has a pre­dom­i­nantly white pop­u­la­tion. But over the years, the im­mi­grants have be­come more di­verse and pro­vide a dis­tinct mul­ti­plic­ity.

Pres­i­dent Trump needs to re­vise his own views about the USA and start think­ing in global terms. He must not only pay at­ten­tion to var­i­ous prob­lems within Amer­ica but also to the strate­gic global po­si­tion of the USA and, in­stead of look­ing in­wards, he should make ef­forts to fur­ther ex­pand Amer­ica’s world in­flu­ence. If that does not hap­pen, be­fore Mr. Trump re­al­izes it, China and Rus­sia will have over­taken the USA both eco­nom­i­cally and mil­i­tar­ily.

Syed Jawaid Iqbal

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