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Donald Trump As The Political Scam Of Our Times

With a solemn ceremony, the billionaire oligarch Donald Trump sworn in as the 45th president of the United States, Trump described a country in crisis and pledged an isolationist and protectionist cure, declaring: “From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first.” 

On Friday, the 20th of January, black-clad activists among hundreds of demonstrators protesting Donald Trump’s swearing-in  clashed with police a few blocks from the White House, in an outburst of violence rare for an inauguration.At least 217 people were arrested in the melees, according to Reuters.

Carefully, the US President scam (as the majority of people voted for Hillary, the war hawk), has put down a marker during his first speech. After his first week as a president, I can say that Donald Trump “was extremely serious” in his inauguration speech, which meant he would follow his promises on trade and other issues with actions. Trump, as a former reality TV star with not a lot experience in politics, angered many liberal Americans during his stunningly successful campaign with demeaning comments on women and immigrants. His inauguration speech was a populist and nationalist rallying cry.

good morning america donald trump

Geopolitics

As written on BBC.com, the new President could change America’s relationship with the rest of the world in some important ways. Firstly, he attacked NATO and  classified the organisation as obsolete and characterised its members as ungrateful allies who benefit from US largesse.

During the US election campaign, Mr Trump praised Russian President Vladimir Putin as a strong leader, with whom he would love to have a good relationship. Trump said yesterday that he was only in the early stages of considering whether to lift U.S. sanctions on Russia, but insisted he wanted to follow through on his campaign pledge to pursue better relations with Russia.

That was before US intelligence agencies determined Russia was responsible for hacking Democratic Party emails during the campaign – a conclusion that President-elect Trump has finally conceded he agrees with.

The explosive publication of an unverified dossier alleging that Russia holds compromising material on Mr Trump has also raised new, prickly questions for the president-elect.

Of course there is no way of knowing exactly how Trump will deal with the Middle East’s multiple and complex problems. He seems to have only three ideas about American foreign policy: destroying the Islamic State, cooperating with Russia and challenging China. This may leave him room to maneuver, but that would come at the expense of the coherence and much discussed “leadership” that Obama’s critics claimed he lacked. More than likely, the Trump White House is going to do what candidate Trump did: make it all up as it goes along. That does not bode well. It is unlikely that American power can put the Middle East back together. But it can definitely make things worse.

  • USA, a dangerous neighbor for Mexico and Canada

President Trump upended America’s traditional, bipartisan trade policy since Monday, the 23rd of Januaryas he formally abandoned the ambitious, 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership brokered by his predecessor and declared an end to the era of multinational trade agreements that defined global economics for decades.

Read:What Is TPP? Behind the Trade Deal That Died

The White House on Thursday floated the idea of imposing a 20 percent tax on goods from Mexico to pay for a wall at the southern U.S. border, sending the peso tumbling and deepening a crisis between the two neighbors.

Trump, who would like to build a wall (financed by Mexico) on the US-Mexico border as a major promise during his election campaign, as part of a package of measures to curb illegal immigration. Mexico has long insisted it will not heed Trump’s demands to pay for the construction project.The border is about 1,900 miles (3,100 km) long and traverses all sorts of terrain.Mr Trump says his wall will cover 1,000 miles and natural obstacles will take care of the rest.

President Trump has always insisted Mexico will pay. Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has been equally insistent he will not.

Mr. Trump wants to renegotiate the North American free-trade agreement with Canada and Mexico. According to the Canadian Globe and Mail,  any new agreement would have dramatic implications for Canadian businesses and the flow of goods and workers between the countries. The Trump administration has tried to play down the NAFTA overhaul’s impact on Canada, but Ottawa’s envoy to Washington, David MacNaughton, has said Canada is seeking to avoid becoming “collateral damage.” The Liberal government of Canada is considering whether new trade deals with the United States should exclude Mexico.

  • United States, China and Taiwan.

For the Economist, Donald Trump’s quest to protect American workers from “cheating foreigners” has begun. But in his first flurry of policy tweets and executive orders, China, his favourite bogeyman, was conspicuously absent. On the campaign trail he deplored China’s currency manipulation, accused it of flouting global trade rules and threatened a 45% tariff on its exports, all to cheering crowds. Now, the world is waiting to see how much of this he meant.

US trade deficit with china graph

A phone call between Mr Trump and Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen in early December broke four decades of US protocol.

Beijing sees Taiwan as a province, and denying it the trappings of an independent state is a key priority of Chinese foreign policy, something the US has recognised with its longstanding “One China” policy.

The incoming president recently said that “everything is under negotiation, including One China”. China responded by saying the principle was non-negotiable.

Mr Trump and members of his administration have consistently voiced a hard line against China. Mr Trump has branded the country a “currency manipulator” and accusing the country of underhand trading and economic tactics.

Quoted in the South China Morning Post, an official from the Commission’s Defence Mobilisation Department wrote: “A war ‘within the president’s term’ or ‘war breaking out tonight’ are not just slogans, they are becoming a practical reality.”

The official also called for military deployments in the tense South and East China Seas and for a missile defence system to guard the Korean peninsula, another regional hotspot, the Post reported.

The US should also reconsider its strategy in the Asia-Pacific region, the official wrote.China specialists on both sides of the Pacific fear relations between Beijing and Washington could deteriorate rapidly under Trump, increasing the risks of a potentially calamitous great power conflict.

As it has been reported on the Independent, Further suggestions China is preparing for conflict emerged this week, with unconfirmed reports the military has moved long range missiles closer to the north east border in Heilongjiang province — within firing range of the US.

For the Guardian, Donald Trump’s game plan for relations with China is to use unpredictability as a means of wrong-footing the country’s Communist party leaders and extracting economic concessions, a prominent adviser has said.

With respect now to the relations with Japan,  Donald Trump told Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Saturday, the 28th of January that the United States is committed to ensuring Japan’s security, the White House said in a statement.

  • United States -Iran, Israel and the Muslim ban 

Travellers with valid visas and green cards have reportedly been prevented from boarding flights and turned away at US border control after Donald Trump signed an executive order banning citizens of seven Middle Eastern countries from entering the United States. 

Mr Trump signed an executive order closing US borders to all refugees for a period of at least four months and temporarily banning all travellers from half a dozen countries, regardless of whether they have already been issued visas, on Friday evening.

The order, which came into force as soon as Mr Trump signed it, requires US border officials to turn away any traveller from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen for the next 90 days.

They included an Iranian film director nominated for an Oscar in the Best Foreign Film category (Asghar Farhadi for the Salesman) who will be unable to attend this year’s ceremony in the wake of President Trump’s ban.

According to the Telegraph and NYTimes, the ban is now being met with several high profile challenges from lawyers at civil rights organisations who say that the demands made in the executive order may be illegal.

The Immigration and Nationality Act, implemented by congress in 1965 banned all discrimination against immigrants on the basis of national origin.  President Lyndon B Johnson said as he signed the law that “the harsh injustice” of the national-origins quota system had been “abolished.”

The law states that  no person could be “discriminated against in the issuance of an immigrant visa because of the person’s race, sex, nationality, place of birth or place of residence.”

Iran will ban Americans from entering the country in response to President Donald Trump’s “insulting” order restricting arrivals from Iran and six other Muslim states, the foreign ministry said on Saturday.

Trump’s daughter Ivanka converted to Orthodox Judaism before marrying Jared Kushner, and he’s spoken fondly about having Jewish grandchildren. In a minute-long taped address, Trump praised Jewish values, said he loved Israel, and spoke with pride about his Jewish daughter, Ivanka, and her husband, Jared Kushner.

Trump,  has called the pact with Iran a “disaster” and “the worst deal ever negotiated.” In March he promised to “dismantle the disastrous deal” during a meeting with a pro-Israeli lobbying group, but those calls have waned in recent months as foreign policy leaders have urged the president-elect to uphold the agreement.

However, Israel’s intelligence community is urging Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to push President Donald Trump to revoke the Iran nuclear deal, despite widespread opposition to the deal from many political leaders and much of country at large when the deal was signed 18 months ago.

According to Haaretz, Israeli intelligence organizations, who were initially critical of the deal, now believe it to be “stable,” and think that Iran is adhering to the terms.

  • Palestine

Since he won the presidential election in November last year, Donald Trump has appointed a right-wing hawk to the post of US ambassador to Israel. He has also said he will appoint Jared Kushner, his Jewish son-in-law, to broker a Middle East peace deal.

A senior Palestinian politician has said that if the US follows through with President Donald Trump’s election campaign promise to move the country’s embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, the Palestinian Authority (PA) could withdraw its recognition of the Jewish state.

Speaking to the Voice of Palestine radio station on Tuesday, Azzam al-Ahmad, a member of Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party, said the PA was planning “retaliatory measures” if the embassy were to be relocated, including the escalation of Palestinian “peaceful popular resistance.”

  • Europe

In his roughly 15-minute-long speech, Trump mentioned neither NATO, nor the European Union, nor Europe. His only reference to allies came in passing: “We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones,” he said.

Although President Obama’s foreign policy missteps have made Europe much less safe than it was eight years ago, European elites have overlooked Obama’s mistakes because he is a “globalist” who seems to favor recreating the U.S. in the European image. Trump, by contrast, is a nationalist who wants to rebuild the U.S. in the American, not the European, image.

Since the American election on November 9, European television, radio and print media have produced an avalanche of negative stories, editorials and commentary that seethe with rage over the outcome of the vote.

In Spain, where anti-Americanism has held sway for many decades, the newspaper El País published an essay, “Declaration of War against Stupidity,” which showcases the contempt many Europeans have for ordinary Americans. The newspaper’s long-time essayist, John Carlin, wrote:

“The victory of Trump represents a rebellion against reason and decency. It is the triumph of racism, or misogyny, or stupidity — or all three things at once. It is the expression of the poor judgment and bad taste of 60 million Americans, the vast majority of them men and women of white skin who own homes, cars, firearms and eat more than citizens of any other country on earth.

Mr Trump shows little affection for Germany, despite his Bavarian grandfather. If Europeans seek change, they will receive it good and hard from America’s new president. This week Mr Trump told British and German newspapers that he expected other countries to follow Britain out of the EU, which he termed “basically a vehicle for Germany”.(The Economist)

France and Germany voiced disquiet today over U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to limit immigration and refugees from some Muslim countries, and they reaffirmed a firm line on Russian sanctions. They joined British Prime Minister Theresa May in cautioning Trump against premature moves on the issue.

In recent months Trump has hardly been sympathetic to France and France has been far from kind towards Trump.

When Trump said “France is no longer France, I wouldn’t go there” after the jihadist attack on a priest in the summer, it prompted a fierce reaction from this side of the Channel.

President François Hollande said Trump “makes him want to retch”.

When Hollande eventually emerged to “congratulate” Trump on his victory he hardly offered a ringing endorsement. The world is now facing a “period of uncertainty” said Hollande, in the understatement of the day.

So after saying he wouldn’t want to go to France, presumably Donald Trump might have to entertain the idea now he is head of state. But he shouldn’t expect a warm welcome. Unless perhaps Marine Le Pen is in power after this year’s elections in France.

  • Middle East

If there was any sign during the long campaign about Trump’s approach to the Middle East and U.S. foreign policy more generally, it was retrenchment.

President Donald Trump spoke with his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah el-Sisi by phone earlier last week, discussing ways to further the fight against terrorism and extremism while stressing on the importance of bilateral ties between Washington and Cairo, White House officials and Egyptian state media said.

Trump  assured Sisi of U.S. military assistance supporting Egypt’s fight against terrorism. He praised Sisi’s efforts in combatting terrorism despite the economic burden it placed on the country and suggested a discussion on how Washington could support economic reforms in Cairo.

The Egyptians, are convinced that the Trump administration will offer its unconditional support for Sisi and drop the Bush and Obama administrations’ objections to Egypt’s abysmal record on human rights. For their part, the Turks know that the new administration will support their fight against Kurdish nationalism. Israelis are now confident of American political and diplomatic cover to continue the slow and steady annexation of the West Bank. The Arab Gulf states and Israel, outraged over Obama’s outreach to Iran, are counting on Trump to restore Washington’s adversarial relationship with Tehran.

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