Donald John Trump has been sworn in as the 45th President of the United States of America. President Trump in his 20 minute speech mostly focused domestic issues but also highlighted some other issues such as America First, Protectionism and eradication of radical Islamic terrorism. Therefore, following paragraphs endeavor to make a dispassionate analysis of Donald Trump’s worldview focusing on his inaugural speech.

Protests

Like Donald Trump’s election victory, his inauguration was also marked with surprises. Around 200,000 people attended the inaugural ceremony at the Capitol Hill, about 70% less than 2009, when President Obama was sworn in. Although, after the elections are over, the Americans regroup as a united one nation but this time around, the Americans remained divided.

The inauguration ceremony was marked with protests that turned violent. More than 50 cities across the United States witnessed the demonstrations, which were attended by celebrities such as Madonna and Michael Moore. More importantly, in the next two days around 5-700,000 people came onto the streets of Washington in an anti-Trump women rally, which turned violent. Though the protests are not unprecedented in the United States, as there have been protests previously against George Bush in 2001 and Richard Nixon in 1969, but it also marked a clear message that Trump’s anti-women policy would not go unchallenged.

However, protest against Trump was unique; it was ‘Million March’ with slogans of ‘Dump Trump’ and was attended by 50% more people than his inauguration ceremony. In the next two days of his assuming office, there were more than 2.9 million people across the United States, who came out on the streets. This protest found its reverberations across Europe in Paris, London, Berlin and Sydney, when hundreds of thousands of people voiced their support to the anti-Trump rallies in the U.S. Therefore, the very first day of Donald Trump as President was resented not only in the United States but across the world, giving a clear message that he has more opposition than his support.

America First

Trump in his speech talked about America First. He said that ‘From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this day forward it’s going to be only America first, America first.’ Usually, every American president starts with the same slogan and ends up with that unfulfilled dream. Trump is a ‘Super Rich Leader’ his assets are estimated to be between $3.5 billion to $10 billion. On the other hand, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, total US FDI stock in 2016 was $2.9 trillion and official U.S. sources reveal total U.S. debts at the end of 2016 at $18.94 trillion, out of which only China has $1.1 to $1.4 trillion. Moreover, being a businessman, he is not allowing his taxes to be revealed, he also wants his own business to remain under protection. Under these circumstances how the notion of ‘America First’ rhetoric is going to be a reality, seems most improbable.

Protectionism

His second issue is protectionism on trade, taxes, immigration and foreign policy. He stated that ‘every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs will be made to protect American workers and American families. We must protect our borders, from the ravages of other countries, making our products, stealing our companies, and destroying our jobs.’ He further stated that ‘protection will lead to great prosperity and strength.’

How this is going to be implemented when the U.S. strategy of ‘containment’ has failed and is being replaced with protectionism. Many U.S. corporations are outsourcing their labor, marketing, servicing and branding from across Asia, would these Multi National Companies reshape their profits by undoing practices of decades. The U.S. is considered as a ‘Nation of Immigrants’ who have a major contribution in building the U.S. as it is today, then how the protectionism against immigrants is going to be successful. Moreover, in the realm of foreign policy, the U.S. has remained a global hegemon since the end of the Cold War, and is considered to be a ‘Global Sharif’ dominating the global ‘war and peace.’ How the U.S. can suddenly reshape its approach from ‘unilateralism’ to ‘protectionism.’ This again is self-contradictory as Trump wants to reinforce old alliances and build new ones against the Radical Islamic Terrorism.

Radical Islamic Terrorism

Trump’s most alarming rhetoric is against radical Islamic terrorism when he stated that ‘We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate from the face of the earth.’ Given the history of creating proxies and the rise of Non-State Actors in the global politics, his promise of eradicating radical Islamic terrorism may only fuel its own flames. The epicenter of global terrorism in the shape of ‘Islamic State’ was never mentioned in the inauguration speech of Trump, and the root-causes of terrorism were never highlighted. Therefore, it seems more of rhetoric than a real promise.

Unfortunately, his bringing in of religion in the speech undermined the very notion of radicalism; he said that ‘There should be no fear. We are protected and will always be protected. We will be protected by the great men and women of military and law enforcement. And most importantly, we will be protected by God.’ This depicts that the theory of ‘Clash of Civilization’ is still in practice as the world may witness war of nation states on religious bases during the presidency of Donald Trump.

War with Media

Since his election campaign, Trump is not happy with the US media and the vice versa. After his election victory and to the inauguration ceremony leading to the Anti-Trump women rallies, the media is being seen as opposed to the Trump’s policies. Trump has said that ‘As u know, I have a running war with media. They are among the most dishonest human beings on Earth.’ In the latest turn, the White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, criticized the media for not reporting the inauguration ceremony accurately. Therefore, the media being the fourth pillar of the state would remain hostile and critical to the Trump’s policies, denying him a crucial support in the US socio-political system.

Conclusion

Donald J. Trump’s surprises have not ended with his assuming of office; he has increased the uncertainties for the US, its European allies and the world at large. However, despite Europe being baffled and Japan in silent mode, it is Russia that seems happy. Nonetheless, the Trump Card is being perceived as dangerous by the US establishment and Trump is being seen as too much nationalist like John F. Kennedy. In 1960s, Kennedy bypassed the CIA and created his own Executive Committee and now Trump is critical to the role of CIA. Trump has annoyed the US establishment, women, media and the immigrants; therefore, Trump has become dangerous to both the US system and to himself by reversing the US worldview from hegemonic unilateralism to inward protectionism with a polarized American people leading towards uncertainties.

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Dr. Nazir Hussain is Director at School of Politics and International Relations, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad. He has to his credit a Post-Doc Research Fellowship from the French Institute of International Relations (IFRI), Paris-France (2010). He has Post Graduate Diploma in Conflict Resolution from the University of Uppsala-Sweden (1991). He was Visiting Fellow at the Henry L. Stimson Centre, Washington DC., (2000), Research Associate with the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) (1996-97) and Visiting Researcher at the Institute of Political and International Studies (IPIS), Tehran-Iran (1995). He specializes in international security affairs and remained associated with the electronic media both as a host and expert on current affairs since 2000.
  • Carin Fischer

    This
    is a good summary with very accurate perceptions. Only one correction:
    while there was some violence during inauguration day, there was no
    violence at all during the Womans March in Washington or any of its
    avatars elsewhere on the next day. It was remarkable to have millions
    congregating across the US and the world and not a single violent
    incident being reported. It was particularly amazing for me after living
    in Kashmir for nine years and for an additional six years in other
    parts of South Asia. The police/ authorities were facilitating the
    protests instead of obstructing/ crushing them. It is a new world for
    me! But then most of the cities hosting the demonstrations were
    anti-Trump and philosophically aligned with the protestors……