Assessing Trump’s performance
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]W[/dropcap]hether Trump’s foreign policy of intervention in Syria, Yemen, Palestine, Afghanistan, North Korea and Russia is a success or failure has to considered in the light of his domestic policy, as one influences the other and vice versa.
He claimed that he would forgo the president’s salary; if true, that would be laudable, but he also asserted that he made most of his money through his Palm Beach private club
One must agree with Trump that the first 100 days is too short a period to assess his work. But he did achieve a lot during this period. He focused on jobs and more business in the US. The official unemployment rate was lowered to 4.4% though there are still 7.1m people unemployed.39
Another reform that would create more jobs is lowering the tax rate, which Trump did. Besides simplifying the tax structure by reducing personal tax brackets from seven to three; the corporate tax rate was reduced from 35% to 15%. Critics of this plan complain that the tax collected would be reduced by $600 b. but it is estimated that a 3% growth rate would make up the loss. Time will tell whether this “biggest tax cut in history” will be successful. 40
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]rump likes to take credit for securing the appointment of Chief Justice Neil Gorsuch to fill the seat left by conservative Chief Justice Antonin Scalia. Trump has cut business regulations to speed up job creation. He has also cancelled the Trans-Pacific trade deal and wants to negotiate a new one with individual countries in Asia. To make US self-sufficient in oil, he facilitated the completion of two pipelines, which environmentalists opposed during the previous Administration.
Trump is smart to have picked an experienced team for his Administration.
All these changes and more are to Trump’s credit. Most of his supporters have not left him. But it is not what he did, but how he performed that created enemies, despite the fact that one knows that not everyone can be pleased.
He claimed that he would forgo the president’s salary; if true, that would be laudable, but he also asserted that he made most of his money through his Palm Beach private club, Mar-a-Lago, where his VIPs are invited. These charges to the taxpayer and employment of close relatives would suggest nepotism and placing his family first, before USA. To avoid criticism, it would have been better to take the President’s salary and avoid any hint of nepotism, however brilliant his family members are.
Trump is smart to have picked an experienced team for his Administration. When he announced that he wished he could lay his hands on Iraq’s oil, Secretary Tillerson came to his rescue by declaring that the US had no intentions of grabbing Iraqi oil. “To ensure a smooth transition,” 46 Obama-appointed judges were asked to resign. Such politically-motivated sackings were gradually creating enemies, although Janet Reno had done a similar thing to George H.W. Bush’s appointees in March 1993. 41 Senator Elizabeth Warren called these appointees “cronies,” which suggested that the judiciary system is politically tainted. 42 Secretary Tillerson also sacked the whole “shadow government” on the seventh floor of the White House, for allegedly shielding Hillary Clinton on the issue of security leaks.43
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]rump was showing signs that he was ruling like a dictator, more like Putin whom he admired. Both showed signs of ruling like autocrats. Trump used executive orders more abundantly than his predecessors to dictate to Congress, thus showing a disdain for Presidential powers. While Trump wanted to make USA great, which it was and most people recognised it as so, Putin wanted to re-create the mighty Soviet empire. The ideology of both leaders was populist conservative nationalism. Both treated independent journalists with suspicion. Putin sent federal troops to subdue Chechnya, while Trump threatened to send federal troops to the streets in Chicago. A common theme in Moscow and Washington was massive deportation of immigrants.
Trump’s daring breach of the Establishment’s hold on power led to attempts to impeach him, which Professor Craig Roberts of Chicago predicted long before Trump was elected. The “deep state,” which consists of a permanent state of massive bureaucracies that want to retain power, set in motion accusations that some in the Trump Administration were in collusion with Russia to rig the elections of 2016. 44
Investigations are still going on in spite of the fact that Obama’s Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said that, “he had seen no evidence of a Putin-Trump conspiracy when he left office on January 20, 2017. The dominant climate of opinion in Washington was that anyone who was pro-Russian was anti-American and an anti-democrat, noted Roberts. The latter also implied, rightly so, that Russia was using techniques pioneered by the US.45
Meanwhile Trump’s Administration was fracturing. Differences between Trump adviser Steve Bannon and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner on all aspects of policy led to Bannon’s fall from power. Kushner’s was a rising star, while Bannon was a falling one, out of Trump’s inner circle.
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]rump should have been showed some respect as the rightfully elected candidate for the Presidency. Despite his numerous problems, he is unlikely to be impeached. There were two cases of impeachment in American history, one in 1890 and one recently with Bill Clinton. Both attempts failed to get a two-thirds majority in the Senate.46 Impeachment is just a threat, a political theatrical farce, for the moment at least.
But Brian Klaas has noted the different ways that Trump has eroded democracy: he has undermined the credibility of his office by making at least 194 false and misleading statements; his staff has flouted ethics guidelines when Kellyanne Conway promoted Ivanka’s jewelry and 38 lucrative trademarks from China; he has attacked the independence of the judiciary when US District Court judge James Robert defied Trumps travel ban.47
The US has paved the way to conduct a hybrid war and Russia will follow suit. Consequently, it is not surprising that Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said that Russia will continue to interfere in elections with cyber warfare and cash, as it is doing now in 24 countries. Former Russian General Staff member Konstantin Sivkov put it this way: “we need serious opposition inside target…which is a force prepared to rise in support of the foreign invader.” 48
According to the Russians, a nuclear Third World War could break out anywhere. Nuclear countries, India and Pakistan are at loggerheads; North Korea was responding to American pressure by threatening a nuclear strike on the American continent; the countries aligning the Nuclear Curtain, from Russia to Ukraine, Syria, Israel and Iran could be involved in a nuclear war; even the American and Russian landmasses could be directly involved in a nuclear war.
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]B[/dropcap]ut nuclear war is a deterrent. Both North Korea and Japan relocated some of their citizens to safety, fearing a nuclear war. After Hiroshima and Nagasaki, ordinary folks are dead against a nuclear war. Leaders in the US and Russia try to act responsibly when it comes to selling nuclear weapons. Turkey, for example, used its newly created friendship with Russia and tried in vain to buy Russia’s S-400 systems. The bombs unleashed on impoverished Afghanistan were conventional, not nuclear. By and large, there is a sacred respect for nuclear Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD), though some Ministers of Defense argue that a nuclear first strike cannot be ruled out.
A nuclear war is most likely to be a very rare event, more like a meteor hitting the earth and sending it into a tailspin. Saner minds are likely to prevail.
But this optimistic view does not stop world powers from proliferation of WMD. Russia has exported S-400 systems to China, Iran, and to Syria with conditions, while the West declares that the Islamic State, Al Qaeda and their allies, are their main enemy and yet supplies them with arms to destabilize countries.
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]rump’s foreign policy has been solved by unusual events. His losing posture has been changed by the rise of Moon Jae-in who wants to unite the Koreas independently. He wants to give Kim Jong Un the assurance that South Korea wants a union and peace in the peninsula. There would be no military drills to threaten North Korea. The US and its allies have to observe no-fly procedures in the four de-escalation zones in Syria. This peace deal was arranged by Russia, Turkey and Iran which means that the US has suffered a no WIN-WIN result here too. In Afghanistan, the result has yet to be decided, though the MOAB will stick out as a sore thumb for eternity. Obviously, Trump is being misinformed in his foreign policy.
Lies have been used to start a war, and the editor of Time is wondering whether “Truth is dead.” The editor should court the services of historians who can resurrect the dead; with biographies, historians can do a partial, give the dead new life, for a time.
If stronger nations, and hombres, had good intentions they would submit to making international institutions truly international. They would act according to international rules and not impose their own repressive standards like pre-emptive strikes, and sanctions on others. Poor, backward communities, like the Amazon “natives” would be protected from miners who pollute their rivers. Leaders who use their national armies against their own people should be stopped in their tracks, before their first strike, by an outside coalition. The old-fashioned ways of becoming rich by plundering weaker nations should be stopped by all means possible. Ethnic groups that want to be independent should be offered a process provided that they do not resort to arms. One would expect religious leaders to be extremely vocal about the maltreatment of the weak, if religion is to serve the modern world adequately.
- “Elder of Mt. Athos gives frightening prediction for evil to destroy mankind,” pravdareport.com, 26.4.17.
- Maria Dubovikova, “The Syrian imbroglio,” arabnews.com, 25.4.17.
- James O’ Neill, Iran is the linchpin of Russia’s ‘post-west’ order,” russiainsider.com, 11.3.17.
- Rudy Panko, “Lavrov tells it right to Pence’s smug face: Russia will end US-led world order,” russiainsider.com, 18.2.17.
- “Russian FM lavrov: the world is on the edge of destruction,” pravda.ru, 25.4.17.
- Harriet Sinclair, “Elizabeth Warren slams Trump’s ‘erratic’ decision to launch a missile strike against the Syrian regime,” International Business Time, 2.4.17.
- “World War III in the making: North Korea makes final warning,” pravdareport.com, 14.4.17.
- RI Staff, “Haley: US planning on regime change in Syria,” russiainsider.com, 9.4.17.
- WNED TV broadcasts.
- RI Staff, “Israel makes it official: the destruction of Syria will legitimize Israeli land grabs,” russiainsider.com, 24.4.17.
- Jason Ditz, “Trump’s National Security Adviser wants to send 50,000 troops to Syria,” russiainsider.com, 14.4.17.
- “Only 23 US cruise missiles reached their target – Russian Defense Ministry,” pravdareport.com, 7.4.17; see also Harriet Sinclair, “Elizabeth Warren slams Trump’s ‘erratic’ decision to launch a missile strike against the Syrian regime,” International Business Time, 2.4.17.
- Jason Easley, “Trump’s Secretary of State admits Syria missile strike was a bogus charade,” Sun, politcususa.com, 9.4.17.
- Sinclair, op. cit.
- Nancy O’Brien Simpson, “Who gassed the Syrian children?” pravdareport.com, 7.4.17.
- RI Staff, “Russian Defense Ministry: White Helmets staged sarin gas attack videos,” russiainsider.com, 18.4.17.
- RI Staff, “Lavrov dismantles UK-led sarin investigation in 30 seconds,” russiainsider.com, 25.4.17.
- Simpson, op. cit.
- “Russia vetoes draft resolution submitted by UK, France and US – Al Jaafari: the US is pushing terrorist war on Syria towards dangerous levels,” sana.sy, 12.4.17.
- Joyce Karan, “Russia, Turkey take ownership of resolving Syrian conflict,” dailySabah, 30.12.16.
- “War ended: Russia withdraws troops from peaceful Syria,” pravdareport.com, 29.12.16; see also “The new axis: Russia-Turkey-Iran take over Syria,” themosocwtimes.com, December 30, 2016.
- “Serbian military willing to clear mines in Syria – Serbian Defense Minister,” russianinsder.com, 26.4.17.
- AP, “Russia, Iran, Turkey sign on de-escalation zones in Syria,” arabnews.com, 4.5.17.
- Rakesh Sood, “Afghanistan, India, Trump,” thehindu.com, 28.12.16.
- Shawn Snow, “President Trump and the war in Afghanistan: what you need to know,” thediplomat.com, 21.11.16.
- “Afghan government was in the loop when GBU-43 was dropped on ISIS target in Afghanistan,” khamma press, 14.4.17.
- M.K. Bhadrakumar, “US can’t handle the heat in Afghanistan, lashing out at Russia,” russiainsider.com, 26.4.17.
- “North Korea readies to conduct a ‘.5 megaton thermonuclear explosion,’” pravda.ru, 24.4.17.
- Ryan Browne, “Top General: Cheaper to keep troops in South Korea than in US,” cnn.com, 21.4.16.
- Lyuba Lulko, “If North Korea strikes, the West will shudder,” pravdareport.com, 24.8.14.
- “Tokyo demands right to bomb North Korea,” pravdareport.com, 30.3.17.
- Katherine Moon, “Trump can’t deter North Korea’s nuclear efforts. What’s the end game?” theglobeandmail.com, 30.4.17.
- AP, “North Korea accuses US, South Korea of bio-chemical plot against Kim Jong Un,” torontosun.com, 5.5.17.
- “Hackers (in North Korea) steal plan of US war against North Korea,” pravda.ru, 4.4.17.
- “Tokyo demands right to bomb North Korea,” pravda.ru, 30.3.17.
- Ju-min & Christine Kim, “New South Korea president vows to address North Korea broader tension urgently,” reuters.com, 10.5.17.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Economic News Release,” 2017.
- Nick Allen, “Donald Trump’s Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin announces ‘biggest tax cut in history,’” telegraph.co.uk, 26.4.17.
- Del Quentin Wilber, “Jeff Sessions asks 46 Obama-appointed US attorneys to resign,” latimes.com, March 10, 17.
- E. Warren, “Elizabeth Warren says Trump pushed out prosecutors to install cronies,” theguardian.com, March 12, 17.
- Rudy Panko, “State Department carries out layoffs under Rex Tillerson,” russiainsider.com, February 17, 17.
- Mythili Samppathkumar, “Former M16 chief Richard Dearlove says Trump borrowed money from Russia during 2008 financial crisis,” ca.yahoo.com, 14.4.17.
- Paul Craig Roberts, “The Conspiracy against President Trump,” pravdareport.com, 21.3.17.
- “The Trump show: Next act – impeachment?” pravdareport.com, 27.2.17.
- Brian Klaas, “How President Trump has already hut American democracy in just 50 days,” washingtonpost.com, 10.3.17.
- Simon Shuster, “Russia’s Fifth Column,” Time, 15.12.14.