Trump Drags US towards the Abyss
By George Haddad
Sophia – When Donald Trump was elected president of the United States at the end of 2016, the US was still reeling from the effects of the 2008 financial crisis. Trump was a newcomer on the political stage having come straight from the business community. The street responded to his election with protests and slogans like “We Choose Death Over Trump”, “Trump Will Destroy America”, and “Trump, America’s Last President”.
The movement against the outcome of this presidential election was the first of its kind in the US. However, many analysts assert that this movement is not directed solely at Trump, but that it spawned from years of mounting public anger over social and economic grievances including rising unemployment, a decrease in purchasing power, declining social services, and rising poverty.
Trump’s rise to power was accompanied by the ‘America First’ and ‘Make America Great Again’ slogans. The former refers to a foreign policy stance that advocates American unilateralism, while the latter gave the impression that his administration’s primary concern will be an economic revival and improving living conditions in America. This brand was advanced with the introduction of laws in 2017 that are set to expire in 2021. It also required a significant reduction in interest on production, higher employment rates, investments, services, and consumer commodities in order to stimulate existing GDP and drive down poverty.
He announced the introduction of new customs duties ranging between 10% and 25% on the import of aluminum and steel, but without consulting the concerned countries, including "friends" of America such as Canada and Germany. Using various arguments and excuses, the Trump administration stepped up economic sanctions in an effort to suffocate Russia, Iran, and all parties that deal with them. It also launched a mad trade war against China. This was a desperate attempt to diminish and weaken the role that these "enemy" states play within the sphere of the international economy and global trade, especially in energy, arms, and the Hi-Tech sector.
According to many analysts, it seemed as though Trump and his team were doing everything for the sake of improving the American economy and the living conditions of ordinary citizens. Trump was hoping to capitalize on this in the upcoming elections and secure a second term. In order to achieve that, and under the pretext of saving the national economy, Trump and his advisers were recklessly prepared to sacrifice the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans, especially the elderly and the sick, when the coronavirus pandemic erupted.
In this context, Trump was prepared to accept any point of view aligned with his policy and goals. He also excluded any approach that wasn’t consistent with his opinion and any source that criticized his policy. He was also ignoring the facts that hinder his political calculations. His political agenda was very clear:
1- To make the rich richer
2- To support the radical, racist (Anglo-Saxon) and religious (Protestant, Christian Zionist) religious groups to obtain votes in the upcoming elections, despite the results of this clumsy policy.
His tactics were working until the beginning of the coronavirus crisis. The economy was moving, the already well-modified data on unemployment got even better, and the narrow core around Trump was content with this "strong man" in the White House, which shows the world how great America is when it cares only about itself at the expense of all others - enemies, opponents, allies, and friends.
Suddenly the deadly virus appeared like a thunderbolt on a clear and sunny day burning into ashes all of the Trump administration’s golden cards.
However, when the whole world was busy taking the necessary precautionary measures against the virus, Trump refused from the very beginning to admit the new reality. He looked like he was hosting a reality show on TV – one where he scripted the scenario.
Since the first day of the pandemic, Trump and the majority of his advisors seemed ready to sacrifice hundreds of thousands of citizens, especially the elderly and the sick, to avoid the return of bad economic indicators, and to ensure his success in the upcoming presidential elections. Thus, the Trump administration insisted that life continues normally as before: no stores shutdown and no economic cycle reduction. As a result, New York fell into a severe crisis.
At the time, Trump had to take responsibility and put the health and lives of citizens first. He was responsible for calling on people to wear masks and maintain social distancing, so things won't be worse. But this didn’t happen. Trump insisted on playing the role of the strong man that doesn’t know weakness, and he suggested that wearing masks was a political act against him.
Everything was used and turned into a tool that carries partisan political messages. Besides, it is not a coincidence that the majority of Republicans considered the mask as a symbol of demonstration by Democrats. As such, the pandemic spread mostly in regions dominated by Republicans.
While it was meant to help the economy, the opposite happened. Whereas the states that suffered most from the pandemic are precisely those that were more liberal and minimized precautionary measures against the pandemic. People in charge of those states received special support from the Trump administration. Finally, when Trump was forced to acknowledge the seriousness of the situation, he turned everything into a "hostile act" and made his accusations, especially against China.
In this regard, some analysts say that the spread of the pandemic was manufactured by the Americans as a development of its trade war against China into a biological war that aimed to sabotage the Chinese economy and destabilize it politically. But China absorbed the biological attack quickly with high effectiveness and countered it. Assuming that this analysis is correct, the Chinese counterattack will not stop as long as the Chinese inexpensive commodities enter every corner, every facility, and every house in America. In this case, America is now facing two possibilities, each worse than the other:
-First possibility: economic boycott of China, and a halt on imports of inexpensive Chinese commodities that are worth billions of dollars. This means the complete collapse of the American economy and society because contemporary America has no alternative to these commodities. Such a move would inevitably lead to the disintegration and demise of the American state.
-Second possibility: continued imports of Chinese commodities, the US administration's inability to face the Chinese counterattack, and the risk of turning the corona pendemic into a biological tsunami that kills millions and infects tens of millions of Americans. Thus, the tsunami completely sweeps the American economy and destroys the American state.
When Donald Trump was elected, some analysts viewed him as an outsider to the state’s existential crisis. And that he will deal with this crisis and treat it boldly and rationally "from the outside". But the current facts are proving more and more that Trump's coming is one of the features of the crisis and its reflection. And this crisis will continue with or without Trump. But Trump alongside his team and his party that pit America against the world and placed the American people in front of an unknown fate are speeding up the process of dragging the US towards the abyss.