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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Op-ed: Trump’s dark era, will Biden’s be any different?

Would Joe Biden learn from Trump’s wayward and negligent behavior and offer hope for change and better global relationships including Russia, China and the Arab Middle East?

We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping-jacks; they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes.” – John Swinton, editor of the New York Tribune, in the 1880s, at a banquet of his fellow editors.

After the 8-year rule of Black Barack Obama, Donald J. Trump managed to defeat his competitor Hillary Clinton and win the presidential race in November 2016. His victory was owed to his hatred he espoused against the immigrants, the Muslims, and other minorities in America and his pledge to make America great again. His pro-white rhetoric won the hearts of the white Christian evangelic and others who had been marginalized by the corporate-controlled globalized world. Above all, he gave bigger commitments than Hillary to the powers that matter.  

Trump claimed ‘America First’, and vowed to make America great again. His penchant for fascism and racism exacted dissonance and racial discrimination against the black and brown Americans and the immigrants. Never before the USA stood so sharply divided and politically polarized as was witnessed during his 4-year rule.

Would Joe Biden learn from Trump’s wayward and negligent behavior and offer hope for change and better global relationships including Russia, China and the Arab Middle East?

Making America great again by isolating

Trump emasculated his predecessors’ policies of globalization, multilateralism, and international agreements signed under WTO and instead promoted unilateralism and despotism. Obama’s Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) initiative that accounted for 40% of global GDP and aimed at containing China’s economic surge was scrapped. In December 2019, the appellate body of WTO was dismantled.

The dissolution of TPP gave an open field to China to boost its economic power. It hastened to form Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a free trade agreement, which has morphed into the world’s largest trading bloc and marks a significant achievement for China as it battles the U.S. for influence and economic supremacy in the Asia-Pacific region. The RCEP, which excluded the USA together with the BRI project, the ECO, BRICS, and Asian Development Bank have paved the way for China to substantially enhance its trade and to become the leading economic giant.

Read more: Trump imposes trade restrictions on Chinese, Russian firms over military ties

While China expanded its influence through the policy of peace, friendship, connectivity, and shared profits, Trump intensified trade war with his chief rival China and levied tariffs as well as imposed sanctions. He strained relations with the EU and NATO asking them to increase their share of expenditures. The construction of the wall strained US-Mexico relations. He used tariffs as a tool to bring supply chains to the US, reduce the deficit, boost local industry, create jobs, and improve the lives of the American working class. He viewed imports as a threat to national security and imposed tariffs on all the US trading partners, which were contested and a tit-for-tat response given.

The trade war didn’t help Trump in achieving any of the objectives. The thoughtless tariff policy coupled with the pandemic hit the American economy and the US industries hard. Trump added $ 7 trillion to the country’s deficit. The country faced the worst ever unemployment crisis with 10 million unemployed. Trump will be the first American president to leave behind over 3 million jobless. Till Dec 20, the Covid-19 deaths have risen to 316, 202, and infected cases to 17,659,271, which are highest in the world. Figures could be much less had the Trump administration combated the disease seriously. So far, the vaccine has not been manufactured to cure the disease. His tax cuts given to the highest earners in 2017 made the wealthy wealthier and the poor poorer. Never before the US had landed in such a big mess.  

POTUS or Israel’s puppet?

Trump bent over backward to fulfill the illegal demands of Tel Aviv and kept Israeli interests above American interests. Concessions granted to Israel were at the cost of Palestinians. Trump’s son-in-law Kushner and pro-Israel billionaire Sheldon Adelson played a big role in extracting extraordinary favors from Trump in favor of Netanyahu at the cost of Palestinians. Sheldon also had a role in provoking Trump to adopt an offensive posture against Iran.      

Deficient of rationality, paranoid and vengeful Trump and his team of hawks’ acted irresponsibly in dealing with global affairs and failed to resolve any conflict.

Trump subjected the Syrian airbase to cruise missiles attack and upped the ante in Afghanistan by increasing troop level and dropping the mother of all bombs on Nangarhar. He blamed Pakistan for the instability in Afghanistan, threatened dire action, and ceased payment of CSF. Like Bush and Obama, he also overlooked India’s cross border terrorism and disinformation campaign against Pakistan and further buttressed its military strength.

Trump claimed ‘America First’, and vowed to make America great again. His penchant for fascism and racism exacted dissonance and racial discrimination against the black and brown Americans and the immigrants.

While Obama succeeded in rolling back Iran’s nuclear program, Trump provoked Iran to restart fissile production after he canceled the nuclear agreement and re-imposed sanctions in 2018 in his bid to please Israel. The policy of maximum pressure backfired. So did the killing of IRGC commander Gen Qassem which was promptly retaliated by Iran in the form of a missile attack on an American airbase in Iraq. Playing upon the security fears of Saudi Arabia, he made it sign a $100 billion defense deal and used its influence to make UAE, Bahrain, and Morocco establish ties with Israel. He blamed China for Covid-19 and kept flexing muscles against Iran. His unsuccessful saber-rattling with North Korea’s Kim Jong reduced his stature and enhanced Kim’s stature.

Giving the devil his due, as opposed to Bush and Obama who ransacked several Muslim countries, Trump didn’t take the US war into any country. Obama couldn’t take peace talks with the Taliban to a logical end but Trump opened peace talks with the Taliban and succeeded in inking the historic peace agreement at Doha in February 2019. He pledged to bring home all American soldiers from Afghanistan by this Christmas. He took this initiative in spite of strong opposition from the Pentagon, CIA, US military Commander at Kabul, the Kabul regime, Israel and India.

Cult like behavior

His lackluster approach towards the pandemic and doing away with Obamacare dug the last nail in his coffin. But for the ill-effects of Covid-19, Trump could have clinched victory. He polled 8 million more votes (70 million) than he did in November 2016. Biden polled 7 million more votes than him.

Driven by cult like behavior, Trump continued to display his reckless tendencies after losing the political battle by not accepting his defeat. He sacked Christopher Krebs, Director CISA (Cyber Security and Infrastructures), for telling the truth that the presidential election was fair. Earlier on, he had fired Defense Secretary Asper for opposing the troop withdrawal from Afghanistan and launching an attack on Iran. It is feared that he may initiate some rash action before January 20 to offset the inaugural ceremony which he intends to skip. He is provoking Israel to attack Iranian nuclear sites and India to carry out a surgical strike or a limited attack in Pakistan.

Read more: Israeli military braces for possible Trump Iran strike in final days of presidency

Once out of Oval Office, Trump may not be as lucky as Richard Nixon whose downfall in 1974 owing to the Watergate scandal was one of the most dramatic events of US history. Faced with impeachment, he had resigned. He escaped prison because his successor Gerald Ford granted him pardon. But 29 of his aides were indicted and imprisoned. Bill Clinton escaped impeachment on account of the Mona Lewinsky scandal.

After Nixon, Trump is the second US President who faced such a predicament. He survived one impeachment, 26 accusations of sexual misconduct, and about 4000 lawsuits. Few people have evaded consequences more cunningly than Trump.

Trump has a lot coming his way

In the backdrop of Trump’s follies and his truculence, he may not be able to save himself from the noose of accountability. And so will be the case with Trump’s team of hawks and their fate could be far worse. He is likely to remain immersed in contesting multiple lawsuits related to criminal charges that are being pursued by Attorney Generals of Manhattan District and New York. Bill Clinton had to cough out $ 10 million for his legal fees fighting his Lewinsky case. Trump already under financial strains due to the effects of Covid-19 on his business enterprises, will have to pay much more. He is required to repay $300 million in loans that he had personally guaranteed. His $900 million real-estate debt will be due in the next 4 years’ time.

These constraints had made him hypersensitive and emotional to the extent that he stated that he will not concede defeat and will not vacate the White House. That’s why he was desperately wanting to win the election at all costs and the very thought of losing scared him. Anyone telling him that he was losing sent him into fits of anger. For him losing amounted to a death sentence and that’s why he behaved like a terrified boy. In the last polls in November 2016, once he saw that Hillary Clinton was much ahead of him, he reached his private plane to fly off to another country. This time, he might opt for a country, which has no extradition treaty with USA.

Giving the devil his due, as opposed to Bush and Obama who ransacked several Muslim countries, Trump didn’t take the US war into any country. 

Although he is still putting up resistance and is not gracefully conceding defeat, however, the Election Commission has rejected his complaints of fraud. 59 lawsuits his legal team initiated were dismissed by the courts. Recounting in some constituencies reconfirmed Biden’s victory. The Supreme Court also rebuffed his plea of fraud, since he couldn’t furnish a shred of evidence to prove his accusations. What is more pathetic is Trump’s Republican Party standing behind him.

His unwarranted resistance and blatant lies to prove that the elections were rigged have done harm to the democratic norms of the US and disturbed the transition period during which the new incumbent receives briefings from the National Security, Pentagon, CIA, and the State Department. The probability of Trump getting indicted on charges of tax fraud is high. If so, it’s to be seen whether Biden emulates Ford and pardons him, or let him go behind the bars.

Will there be a change?

The hullabaloo created by the losing Trump has subsided and the presidential transition period is a few weeks away after which Joe Biden will hold the reins on mid-day January 20, 2021. The big question is, will there be a change? Seemingly not, since the culture of the ruling government in the US governed by the Zionists, the Jewish community in the USA, the Pentagon, and Israel cannot possibly change for the good of the country, its people, and the world.

The US is beset with domestic extremism, racism, white supremacy, gun violence, and organized crime. The 1% rich having monopoly over the corporates, banks, media, film world will keep multiplying their wealth and the rest would continue to languish in poverty.

“Thank God that at this hour I am dangerous to the war profiteers of this country who rob the people on the one hand, and rob and debase the government on the other; and then with their pockets and wallets stuffed with the filthy, bloodstained profits of war, wrap the sacred folds of the Stars and Stripes about them and [about] their blatant hypocrisy to the world.”    Kate Richards O’Hare’s Address To the Court Proceedings on the Sentencing of Mrs. Kate Richards O’Hare by Hon Martin J. Wade, 1 P. M., Friday, Dec 14, 1917.

Read more: Will Biden’s strategy in South Asia be any different than Trump’s?

America is in desperate need of political change, national unity, harmony, and to replace discord, abhorrence, mayhem, with harmony, amiability, equitable justice and social order. Hopefully, the Biden-Kamala administration can begin to recover democracy and to move forward in cooperation with the rest of the world to address the many crises we face.

Would Joe Biden learn from Trump’s wayward and negligent behavior and offer hope for change and better global relationships including Russia, China and the Arab Middle East? Pakistan which has sacrificed the most and produced best results in fighting the US imposed war on terror has been given a raw deal.

Would it be compensated and treated honorably? Obama and Trump had promised to help settle the Kashmir dispute but their promise proved illusory. Would Biden do it? Would he bring a change in pro-Israel and anti-Palestinian policy? Will he end the 19-year war in Afghanistan and restore peace in the Middle East? These and many other issues which need to be tackled by Joe Biden will be discussed in my next write-up.

Asif Haroon Raja is a retired Brig Gen, war veteran, defence & security analyst, international columnist, author of five books, Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, Director Measac Research Centre, Member CWC PESS and Veterans think tank. asifharoonraja@gmail.com. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.