For about half an hour President Trump looked like he was right. And then …
Maybe he was right to criticise and withdraw funding support for the United Nations. Except the U.N. General Assembly is now fast isolating the United States about Gaza, in the absence of any sense coming out of the Security Council.
Maybe he was right to threaten withdrawal of U.S. support for NATO. The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation formed under the real threat of Soviet Communist expansion into Europe in the late 1940s. After the decline of Soviet-supported regimes it did a lot of good. But there’s certainly still very good reasons for European and NATO members to be protected from Russia. The U.S. Pentagon and its budget are very clear that Russia, and China, are its two greatest military threats.
So no, the kind of threats NATO was set up for have not gone at all.
Maybe he represented a necessary discursive readjustment of western hyper-liberal hegemony into a more accurate, baser truth that reconciles our trade and exploitation ethics with our kinds of capitalism. Maybe Trump is forcing a new reality to replace out perpetual pining for something that just ain’t ever going to happen.
In reality the rest of the world simply carries on without U.S. diplomatic leadership just fine. It is the same with the Paris Climate Accords.
Maybe he was right to withdraw U.S. influence in the Middle East into fewer states. Nothing the U.S. have done in the last 30 years either directly or indirectly has much improved any country from Iraq to Yemen to Egypt. As ISIS shrinks away and the temporary alliances formed for and against Assad crack apart, more regional wars will start up between them – why presume peace can happen? That doesn’t mean withdraw altogether. As noted by this exchange of very experienced U.S. diplomats, just narrow the focus and strengthen the specific results.
But again, U.S. withdrawal is simply inviting other alliances to form, as they should.
Maybe he was right to engage directly with the North Korean regime. Surely President Trump is already making more diplomatic headway with North Korea than any U.S. president since North Korea’s formation.
Maybe his threats against Chinese trade practices including steel, aluminium, and intellectual property are appropriate. Maybe compared to U.S. Presidents since Ronald Reagan he is actually braver and more accurate about trade than we have cared to admit. It’s possible to benefit from China’s rise and send strong signals against its wrongdoing at the same time – if you are also a very powerful country.
Actually the U.S. markets have not on balance cared.
Maybe he will delete the Munro Doctrine and bring back the United States to a more neutral military and diplomatic agent in our world. If the world is going to remain in such a politically settled state, it’s appropriate to withdraw that propulsive manifest destiny of perpetual U.S. expansion.
In fact the best and most intuitive answer is that his regime will shrink U.S. influence to that which he can immediately comprehend – a decreasing realm that has not yet right-sized itself.
He’s definitely the most corrupt U.S. president of the 20th and 21st centuries.
Also for the record, Donald Trump is disgusting. His domestic policies are uniformly shit. But the U.S. economy is so strong it just doesn’t seem to matter. The U.S. economy surges irrespective of what international arrangements Trump forms or breaks.
Trump has had a few months of being lucky. His polls are rising. We should prepare ourselves for a world in which President Trump gets another term. But his wreckage-trail of his consequences is now longer and clearer.