President-elect Donald Trump’s unexpected victory in the 2016 presidential election is, without a doubt, a bloodless revolution.
Mr. Trump’s feat is a clear sign of the American people’s disdain for America’s political elite and the totality of the American institutions—the Washington political establishment, financial organizations, and the media.
The country’s establishment completely misjudged the depth of nationalism which Mr. Trump’s simplistic one-liners had aroused among a large sector of the populace.
What the political elite and traditional analysts viewed as raw presentations of complex situations in reality was a new and highly nationalistic way of looking at America and its relations with the rest of the world.
Mr. Trump repeatedly sullied the hard-fought-for Obamacare as utterly unacceptable, promising to replace it with a better system that would take care of the American people’s health needs. He never explained to the American people how he would do that.
The outcome of the vote quite loudly announced that Mr. Trump’s supporters didn’t much care for the dearth of information about how he would achieve that goal and whether the country’s finances would afford the cost of his plan, if, indeed, he’d had a plan at all.
Also, Mr. Trump never convincingly explained his plan how he would send back twelve million people from where they had come to the U.S. Americans remain in the dark as to how he would handle a family of illegal parents with children who were born in the United States and are American citizens. Is he willing to rip apart families and traumatize innocent children? He also didn’t explain how he would cover the enormous expense of expelling such a mass of people and whether financing that enormous undertaking would make any sense.
The “wall” doesn’t need introduction. During the long and somewhat bleak campaign, the wall has gained nationwide and international notoriety. According to Mr. Trump, it will unassailably and forever separate the U.S. from Mexico.
While no one is, and should be, propagating a chaotic and uncontrolled border, the total separation of two neighboring nations, even if possible, would translate into a hostile gesture. Mexico would hardly agree to pay for it. Would the estimated cost of about $ 10 billion really be worth making a neighbor angry and giving the international community cause to disdain the United States for a xenophobic action?
His suggestion that the U.S. pays an inordinate share of NATO’s expenses is correct. This large discrepancy in the financial contribution by the U.S. and the other member-states is a leftover of the immediate post-World War II period, a time when America had emerged from the war as a rich and powerful nation while most of western Europe was poverty-stricken and lay in ruins.
In the meantime, Europe has successfully overcome its post-World War II collapse and emerged as a rich conglomeration of many nations which could, if the U.S. pressed the point, pay more for its membership in NATO. Should Mr. Trump pursue the matter during his presidency, he would have to follow a realistic approach. He must balance his expectations against what the other members would be willing to contribute financially. Only then, will he be victorious. Otherwise, he may well cause the dissolution of this arguably successful military alliance.
Mr. Trump’s disagreement with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) might be rooted in an old-fashioned, mercantile policy that seems popular with his core supporters.
NAFTA itself may survive a Trump onslaught in one way or another. However, with mocking previous administrations for being flawed negotiators, he has put squarely on the table the problem of the rapid dismantling of U.S.-based manufacturing plants and producing goods in cheap-labor countries—a challenge his or future administrations must deal with.
The ever-increasing impact of globalization and the resulting escalating of competition require the global spread of production facilities. However, there must be a measure of reciprocity in the process.
At the present stage of our understanding of economics, labor is an integral element of economic life. America needs an adequate and state-of-the-art production base to provide secure and adequate-paying jobs for over 100 million people.
Whether a Trump administration can succeed in his promise of returning at least some of the industries that have settled abroad is an open question. However, it is to Mr. Trump’s credit that he has drawn attention to a vitally important and long-neglected economic particular that needs to be talked about one way or the other.
Mr. Trump’s openly-displayed islamophobia is unacceptable for the president of the United States. If Mr. Trump wishes to hate someone or a group of people, he is, of course, free to do so as a private person.
As president of the United States, he must restrain himself and let not his personnel preferences cloud his judgment. The U.S. is a global power. As such, it has worldwide interests and responsibilities. It would not serve the financial and security interests of the United States to make 1.5 billion peaceful Moslems as enemies of the United States. As a minimum, such enmity could intensify acts of terror against Americans and American interests.
As far as I know, neither Candidate Trump nor President-elect Trump has addressed the growing income gap between 98 percent of the American people and 2 percent of Americans who control most of the country’s financial and business interests.
History tells us that the general population of a country tends to accept a measure, possibly a large measure, of income distribution to and financial control by a small sector of society. However, the various past and present bloody and destructive revolutions are clear indication that the majority will rebel against an inordinate discrepancy in the distribution of wealth and income in favor of a small minority.
It appears that the present growing gap in the income of the great majority and a miniscule minority of the American people is a part, perhaps a major part, of the 2016 American revolution.
The bloodless American revolution of 2016 is both a harbinger of the depth of the American people’s aversion for the present social and financial conditions in their country and a clear and urgent call for action.
Will we take notice? I, for one, believe we must.
Nasir Shansab has maintained homes, business interests and dual citizenship in both the United States and Afghanistan for the past three decades.
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