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President Trump and future of US foreign policy

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[yt_dropcap type=”square” font=”” size=”14″ color=”#000″ background=”#fff” ] U [/yt_dropcap] pon successfully facing the presidency poll challenge from a senior politician Hillary, now Trump has to face and decide the issues in foreign policy. When Donald Trump became a serious contender for the presidency many eyebrows were raised but when he, against all predictions, trounced the establishment candidate Hillary Clinton, many doubts were raised too about his capabilities to the USA and world.

While some of the doubts could be valid, there is no solid proof to say Trump would fail himself, America and world. As for his foreign policy, Trump is likely to embrace some variant of the policies that have been pursued for the past few decades by the nation’s foreign policy establishment. Trump would choose a few elements as reference and consider his own ideas to change the format of US policy.

President Trump may break sharply with the establishment consensus that the USA as super power must play the lead role in imposing order on the world, many signs indicate that Trump will continue to ensure that the USA plays the dominant role in policing the world.

Trumpophobia

On the eve of presidency poll, Hillary and pro-Hillary media outlets let loose Trumpophobia – fear of Trump- essentially to terrorize the voters and defeat Trump. However, that strategy backfired as people saw through the ugly democratic strategy and Trump was elected to presidency. Now she is trying to cast doubts about the poll itself. . . .

Certainly, many Washington insiders feel differently about Trump whom they consider dangerous. On Election Day, former State Department official Daniel Serwer presented the standard view of the foreign policy establishment that the “dramatic differences” between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton made Trump a problematic candidate. Trump “prides himself on unpredictability” while Clinton “has a long track record well within the post-9/11 foreign policy consensus,” Serwer explained, adding that Clinton “wants to maintain the stability of the international system and restore American authority.” With his remarks, Serwer indicated that the foreign policy establishment could trust Clinton but not Trump to use American power to actively enforce a system of global order. The New York Times captured the basic establishment concern that Trump would no longer enforce the system of postwar order that his predecessors had maintained throughout the postwar period.

Trump, making the latest stop on a so-called “thank you” tour of states critical to his 8 November election win, introduced his choice for defense secretary, General James Mattis, to a large crowd in Fayetteville, near the Fort Bragg military base, which has deployed soldiers to 90 countries around the world. He vowed a strong rebuilding of the US military, which he suggested had been stretched too thin. Instead of investing in wars, he said, he would spend money to build up America’s aging roads, bridges and airports.

Critics say Donald Trump’s win foreshadowed an America more focused on its own affairs while leaving the world to take care of itself. They issued more serious warnings about Trump presidency 4 long years, saying Trump would reverse decades of foreign policy practice by withdrawing the USA from its deep engagement with the world. The basic establishment concern is that Trump would no longer enforce the system of postwar order that his predecessors had maintained throughout the postwar period. For the first time since before World War II, Americans chose a president who promised to reverse the internationalism practiced by predecessors of both parties and to build walls both physical and metaphorical but that has never happened.

Leftist scholar Noam Chomsky supported Bernie Sanders during the Democratic presidential primary but Sanders himself was a proxy working for Hillary. Chomsky had a message for voters who refused to cast their ballots for Hillary Clinton to prevent Donald Trump from winning the White House: You made a “bad mistake.” Chomsky insists that voters did not have to ignore Clinton’s serious shortcomings in order to recognize Trump as the much more serious threat. “What it means is now the left, had Clinton had won, she had some progressive programs. The left could have been organized, to keeping her feet to the fire. What it will be doing now is trying to protect rights…gains that have been achieved, from being destroyed. The GOP “is dedicated to racing as rapidly as possible to destruction of organized human life. There is no historical precedent for such a stand.”

Chomsky is too naive not to recognize the act that now since Sept-11 there is no difference between Republicans and Democrats as both are eager to justify the illegal invasions from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Libya to Syria and legalize crimes against humanity in Islamic world where millions of Muslims have been slaughtered by US led NATO and Israel..

As he toured the USA in the wake of Donald Trump’s devastating electoral victory last month, senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders used his growing influence within the Democratic Party and among the voting population at-large to outline how the country can prevent slipping backward and in fact can move forward—even with Republicans soon in control of both the White House and Congress.”We can beat this guy. We can beat this agenda, but we have to do it in a way that we have never done it before. We have got to bring people together because we are fighting for the future of this country.”

Indeed, Chomsky further warned in the aftermath of the election: “The outcome placed total control of the government—executive, Congress, the Supreme Court—in the hands of the Republican Party, which has become the most dangerous organization in world history.” Chomsky refuses to admit that Mrs. Clinton now controls the White House and entire system and President Obama is just a puppet. Had she won she would have strengthened Israel to attack Palestine. She would defend the Israeli regime and its crimes against humanity. She would oppose any move for credible peace in the region and support all Zionist schemes with UN veto.

Certainly, many Washington insiders feel differently about Trump. Warnings have been given out by many about the Trump’s uncertain regime without a solid agenda.

Now that Hillary is gone, almost forever, the focus is on Trump’s policy as he has declared to make peace between Israel and Palestine obviously by supporting the establishment of Palestine with his UN veto.

Obama insisted that much of the media commentary about Trump missed the fact that most US officials continue to share the same basic foreign policy goals. Certainly, “there’s enormous continuity beneath the day-to-day news that makes us that indispensable nation when it comes to maintaining order and promoting prosperity around the world,” Obama stated. “That will continue.” Citing the meeting that he held with Trump at the White House after the election, Obama said that Trump expressed a great interest in maintaining “ our core strategic relationships.” Trump, in other words, appeared eager to continue working closely with US allies to enforce a system of global order.

US national interest and core strategic position

Trump’s win took the supporters of “status quo” by shock and foreshadowed an America more focused on its own affairs while leaving the world to take care of itself. The New York Times captured the basic establishment concern that Trump would no longer enforce the system of postwar order that his predecessors had maintained throughout the postwar period.

Certainly, many Washington insiders feel differently about Trump. On Election Day, former State Department official Daniel Serwer presented the standard view of the foreign policy establishment that the “dramatic differences” between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton made Trump a problematic candidate. Trump “prides himself on unpredictability” while Clinton “has a long track record well within the post-9/11 foreign policy consensus,” Serwer explained, adding that Clinton “wants to maintain the stability of the international system and restore American authority.” With his remarks, Serwer indicated that the foreign policy establishment could trust Clinton but not Trump to use American power to actively enforce a system of global order.

More serious warnings were issued by pro-Clinton sources. For example, on the day after the election, The New York Times, having failed to get Hillary elected, warned that Trump would reverse decades of foreign policy practice by withdrawing the USA from its deep engagement with the world. “For the first time since before World War II, Americans chose a president who promised to reverse the internationalism practiced by predecessors of both parties and to build walls both physical and metaphorical,” the newspaper reported, Trump would weaken US power.

Although the foreign policy establishment of Bush-Obama-Hillary remains concerned with Trump’s unpredictability and perhaps even his neglect of decades of establishment thinking, several high-level officials in the Obama government have recently begun to suggest that the USA will continue to play the lead role in enforcing a system of international order. President Obama himself has made the case that Donald Trump would not be able to simply dictate a new strategy to the vast bureaucracy that manages the nation’s foreign policy.

The foreign policy decision-making process, according to Obama who seeks continuity in full so that the permanent war agenda of Bushdom reign continues, is the result not just of the President, it is the result of countless interactions and arrangements and relationships between Pentagon and other global militaries, and US diplomats and other diplomats, and intelligence officers and development workers. Obama insisted that much of the media commentary about Trump missed the fact that most US officials continue to share the same basic foreign policy goals. Presidents simply cannot change the course according to their individual fancies. Certainly, “there’s enormous continuity beneath the day-to-day news that makes us that indispensable nation when it comes to maintaining order and promoting prosperity around the world,” Obama stated.

Do Obama and Trump share objectives, values?

Obama wants Trump to maintain the existing world order. Citing the meeting that he held with Trump at the White House after the election, Obama said that Trump “expressed a great interest in maintaining “our core strategic relationships.” Trump, in other words, appeared eager to continue working closely with US allies to enforce a system of global order.

Trump and the Obama have always shared many of the same foreign policy objectives, even though Trump made every effort during his campaign to condemn Obama’s policies as dangerous and destructive to both the United States and the world. For starters, both Trump and the Obama have made it clear that they intend to ensure that the USA remains the most dominant military power in the world. In March 2016, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter presented the basic position of the Obama government when he assured the Senate Committee on Armed Services that the Department of Defense “will keep ensuring our dominance in all domains.” The following month, Trump declared his support for the same objective. “Our military dominance must be unquestioned,” Trump stated.

Trump has displayed similar commitments on other fundamental issues. Trump has made it clear that he intends to prioritize the interests of the USA above everything else. Trump announced during his campaign that America First will be the major and overriding theme of his government. Indeed, Trump insisted that he would base his foreign policy on the premise that the USA should only take actions in the world that work to its own advantage. “We’re going to finally have a coherent foreign policy based upon American interests, and the shared interests of our allies,” Trump stated.

President Obama has confirmed that his government has adopted an America First strategy. When he recently commented on his decision to commit the US to the Paris Agreement in order to address the threat of global climate change, Obama confirmed that he was primarily motivated by the US interests at stake. Although Obama has not used the same slogan, he has adopted exclusively an America First strategy. Vice President Joe Biden pointed to Obama strategy when he toured Asia in July 2016 as part of “rebalance” to Asia. “It’s overwhelmingly in our interest”. Two months later, State Department official Antony J. Blinken provided more direct confirmation of Obama’s strategy. “We don’t work with other nations as a luxury, or as charity,” Blinken explained. “Our national interest demands our global engagement.”

Currently, “the biggest threat when it comes to climate change and pollution isn’t going to come from us — because we only have 300 million people,” Obama explained. “It’s going to come from China, with over a billion people, and India, with over a billion people.” With his remarks, Obama indicated that the USA needed to join the Paris Agreement to prevent countries such as China and India from harming America with their pollution.

Both Trump and Obama have also made it clear that they intend to completely destroy the Islamic State (ISIS or IS). In November 2015, Trump outlined his position during a radio commercial in which he pledged to “quickly and decisively bomb the hell out of ISIS.” Secretary of State John Kerry took a similar position. The USA has an interest in “terminating ISIL/Daesh, as fast as possible,” Kerry stated.

In fact, the Obama government has been busy working to fulfill its Syria mission. In the time since it began its air campaign in August 2014, USA and coalition forces have conducted more than 15,000 airstrikes against IS and have killed more than 45,000 ISIS fighters. In the end, the outgoing Obama government will soon hand over power to a Trump government that generally shares some of the very same foreign policy commitments.

Trump team

Trump is now getting ready with his team by appointing his future ministers one by one. Gov. Nikki Haley has been appointed by him as ambassador to the UN. Donald Trump’s critics say he is not a unifier, not a moderating voice, a darling of the Republican mainstream. As governor of South Carolina, she’s been an outspoken opponent of white supremacists, a proponent of immigration, including properly vetted Muslim refugees. And, obviously, a woman, one who sharply criticized him during the presidential campaign. In that light, her nomination as ambassador to the UN marks something new for the coming Trump government.

Some of the president-elect’s previous picks have been beset by claims of racism and bigotry. Governor Haley represents a hairpin turn. Those who have seen Gov. Haley’s improbable rise say the daughter of Indian immigrants is a force to be reckoned with, who has earned considerable respect among black South Carolinians, most of whom are Democrats. It is a kind of symbolic appointment by Trump, to beat back charges of bigotry and misogyny and to be able to make the case that he doesn’t hold grudges against those who stiff-armed him during the primary.

Haley has also triumphed in becoming the first female governor of a state where women have traditionally been marginalized from the political process. “She is an Asian-American woman governor of a state whose constitution was written to weaken the governor’s office just in case a non-white man won the office one day, a state that still has one of the worst records of female legislative leadership in the country. She was the first to breakthrough, has made her mark and ended up being the governor to bring the Confederate flag down.

Trump has decided the persons for many important posts and positions to support his government.

Despite the fact that the foreign policy establishment remains uncertain about Trump’s intentions, the president-elect has provided many signals that he intends for the USA to continue playing an active role in enforcing a system of global order. As Trump has put it, using the standard language of the foreign policy establishment, his government would mainly be “focusing on creating stability in the world.”

Trump’s foreign policy

President Trump is likely to make his own foreign policy while retaining basic structures of it developed for years cutting across the bipolar politics. He would strive to break with the post-9/11 foreign policy consensus of Bush-Obama- Hillary that focused on securing energy and route requirements and considerably reducing Islamic population by murdering millions of Muslims world over with help from countries like Germany led EU, Israel.

Experts the world over express predictions about President Trump’s possible policies, both domestic and foreign. Many argue that he would just continue with Bush-Obama policies. Although the foreign policy establishment remains concerned with Trump’s unpredictability and perhaps even his neglect of decades of establishment thinking, several high-level officials in the Obama administration have recently begun to suggest that the USA will continue to play the lead role in enforcing a system of international order.

Amid all the uncertainty prevailing about what a Trump presidency means for the future role of the USA in the world, one possibility is that Trump will embrace some variant of the policies that have been pursued for the past few decades by the nation’s foreign policy establishment. Although Trump may break sharply with the establishment consensus that the USA must play the lead role in imposing order on the world, many signs indicate that Trump would continue to ensure that American superpower plays the dominant role in policing the world so that it does not appear to be weak.

The standard view of the foreign policy establishment is that the “dramatic differences” between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton made Trump a problematic candidate. Trump “prides himself on unpredictability” while Clinton “has a long track record well within.

Foreign policy, though made by the president and his foreign ministry, it is the foreign minister who is responsible for applying foreign policy stipulations. Hence foreign minister plays important role in implementing foreign policy. Trump is seriously considering many names for the coveted post. His supporters are split in a big factional fight over this premier Cabinet position.

Who should be Donald Trump’s Secretary of State? It’s the followers of establishmentarian Mitt Romney versus those of loyalist Rudy Giuliani. To the winner goes Foggy Bottom and its prestige. It’s possible the spat will end with a third candidate stealing the prize. But one important part of this struggle may be the manner in which it’s being conducted. Perhaps surprisingly, Trump invited Romney to a meeting last weekend at Trump’s Bedminster, N.J. golf course. The two men seemed to hit it off as the confab lasted longer than expected. Afterward, word leaked that Romney was a secretary of State candidate as well.

Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway publicized it via Twitter, perhaps as way to undermine former Massachusetts Governor Romney’s chance. Giuliani was the early favorite here. Following the election he reportedly told associates he was set for the Secretary of State post, since he’d told Trump it was the only thing he wanted. He’d been a loud and strong Trump surrogate throughout the campaign’s ups and downs. He deserved a reward, he thought. That hints Trump government internal discussions may play out in public on social media, in real time. Buckle up – the Trump years may be dramatic, and exhausting.

But the announcement wasn’t forthcoming. And as any veteran of the Washington appointment wars knows, to linger is to suffer denigration by a thousand published cuts. The press started chewing on Giuliani’s business ties with the government of Qatar and other foreign entanglements. Obviously, as far as President-elect Trump was concerned the former New York City mayor wasn’t “set” for the job. Specifically, the loyalists within Trump’s political operation who think Romney an apostate have turned up the dial on their disapproval. And they’re waving their hands to get Trump’s attention the best way they know how: in public.

Trump needs an efficient and honest person to deal with the world as foreign minister. Henry Kissinger, a Jew chosen to boost the criminally fanatic Jewish nation in Mideast, whatever his accomplishments as Secretary of State to Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, had spent considerable time crossing the globe in shuttle diplomacy, continually spilled internal gossip to journalists.

US presidents have the privilege of maintaining multiple specialists to decide the course on an issue. That’s a quick hook that all the current claimants to the Secretary of State office might be wise to keep in mind. George Shultz, though, was indeed such a Secretary of State to Ronald Reagan. Loyal, phlegmatic, wise in the ways of government, he gave Reagan lots of good advice. Some was ignored – he hated the operation that morphed into the Iran-Contra scandal, for instance. But Shultz was Reagan’s second Secretary of State. The first was Al Haig, a former general who was also a loud, proud international business operator and skilled bureaucratic infighter who thought he knew best about international affairs. He exhausted Reagan’s patience, and when offered Haig’s resignation after only 18 months in office, Reagan accepted it.

However, going by his latest statements, Trump now is seen taking new positions on foreign policy of USA.

Observations

Domestic policy is a settled matter for USA but not its foreign policy, especially when in order to showcase its military prowess as advertisement for orders for its new terror goods from across the globe, it has unnecessarily committed the people a core part of cause of deeply involved in terror wars to perpetrate genocides of Muslims and deduction of their assets.

However, as the superpower it has a role to guide the world by a positive foreign policy. Without a credible policy abroad, incumbent president Obama has not been able to positively and successfully assert its global leadership role due mainly to its prolonged and illogical support for the Israel in Mideast and its misuse of UNSC veto facility to shield the Israeli military crimes against humanity.

Bush-Obama duo promoted not only Israeli regime in Mideast to threaten energy rich Arab nations but also the occupation of the American mind by outsiders, especially Israel and US Jews, and process must end.

President-elect Trump maybe inexperienced and lacks the nuanced knowledge of the complex crises the world is passing through but he as a businessman can comprehend the problems particularly in the areas including the US-NATO led terror wars in Islamic world, Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Sunni-Shiite war, and the civil war in Syria.

Reports suggest, Donald Trump has laid out a US military policy that would avoid interventions in foreign conflicts to engineer destabilization and regime change. We will stop racing to topple foreign regimes that we know nothing about, that we shouldn’t be involved with,” the president-elect said on in Fayetteville, near Fort Bragg military base in North Carolina. “Instead our focus must be on defeating terrorism and destroying Isis, and we will.” Trump’s remarks came a few hours after Barack Obama delivered what was billed as the final national security address of his presidency.

President Obama, in spite of efforts, has thus far failed to solve the seven-decade old Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Mainly because he refused to support the Palestine cause at UN and refused to vote for the establishment and thereby only to indirectly promoted Israel and its crimes by gifting huge pile of terror goods. He is also not serious about credible peace talks. That is the reason why his chief mediator Secretary of State John Kerry failed to end the crisis and Israeli aggression and expansionism because he also does not take into account the psychological dimension of the conflict, the agony and pains of Palestinians under Israeli brutality.

Notwithstanding intensive negotiations in 2009-2010 and 2013-2014, the gulf between the two sides has become even deeper and wider, and Palestinians continue to suffer while Israel gain support of all anti-Islamic nations, getting high precision terror goods from USA and EU.

USA and NATO instigated the conflict between brothers Sunnis and Shiite leading to Sunni-Shiite war and ISIS-Shiite wars. Russia has joined the onslaught of Muslims in Syria. The civil war in Syria will not end unless the US changes its approach to the war by putting both Putin and Assad on notice that the slaughter of Syrian civilians must immediately come to an end.

ISIS, apparently launched by USA to continue with its global permanent war project, has made the plight of global Muslims worse. Defeat of ISIS, however, is not to bring an end to the Sunni-Shiite conflict as long as Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia are fighting for regional hegemony. They will continue to wage a proxy war in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen to secure their goal.

ISIS has been invented to divide both Iraq and Syria. But the lack of natural resources (i.e. oil) in the Sunni dominated areas is the bottleneck. Maintaining a united Iraq or Syria has become problematic now. Only a long period of peaceful coexistence between the two sides will allow them over time to develop a closer, more trusting, and friendlier relationship. This would also bring an end to the bloodshed between Sunnis and Shiites and to weaken ISIS. This will greatly satisfy the Saudis as the Sunnis will maintain a strong foothold in Iraq while Iran will still be in a position to exert some influence on the Shiite government.

The USA cannot assert its commanding regional role and at the same time save the Syrian people from near-complete destruction by leading from behind and merely providing military equipment and material to the rebels. USA has put an end to 81 years of the continuous Sunni rule of essentially a Shiite Iraq and is eager to end Shiite rule of Sunni state Syria but Russia supports Iran and also supports Syrian regime. The Iraqi Sunnis now find themselves at the mercy of the Shiite governing majority, which has systematically discriminated against and marginalized them from the first day the Maliki-led Shiite government came to power.

Image of US super power would increase as genuine phenomenon. Only by creating the social, political, and psychological atmosphere conducive to peace, and with the support of the Arab states, the EU, and other major powers, can the negotiations be resumed with a far better prospect of success. Trump said USA has become dumping ground for everybody else’s problems. Trump’s entire campaign is built around the idea that foreign influences are infecting the USA. One way of understanding the different directions of Bush-Obama duo is through American exceptionalism. Sanders voters want to make America more like the rest of the world. Trump voters want to keep America a nation apart. Trump wants to build a strong honest America.

Focusing on a process of reconciliation between nations that would mitigate the profound mutual distrust, Trust must try to instill a sense of mutual security, and disabuse the strong constituencies on both sides that they can have it all.

The USA must recognize that Russia has been for decades seeking a strong foot hold in West Asia to replace USA but now USA has given that opportunity in Syria. Russia will be a permanent fixture in Syria backed by Assad and Iran. Iran will not relinquish its longstanding interest and influence in Damascus as Tehran views Syria as the linchpin to the Shiite-dominated crescent of land between the Mediterranean and the Gulf.

There could be chaos in Syria even if the war ends. Apparently, Assad alone can keep intact the bureaucracy, military and internal security apparatus to prevent a replay of what happened in Iraq following the US invasion. By the way, a replay of what happened in Iraq following the US invasion could happen in Syria after the removal of Assad or end of war. Trump must convey in unequivocal terms to Putin and Assad that they must stop the indiscriminate bombing and killing of tens of thousands of innocent Syrians while erasing one neighborhood after another. Given Putin’s desire to work closely with Trump, he is likely to be more receptive in finding a solution to the conflict.

As the super power, USA has the responsibility to bring peace to world. It is quite likely that new president of USA would decide to end terror wars and stop misusing NATO for the Pentagon’s showcasing the prowess of US militarism.

In the end, the outgoing Obama administration will soon hand over power to a Trump administration that shares some of the very same foreign policy commitments. Despite the fact that the foreign policy establishment remains uncertain about Trump’s intentions, the president-elect has provided many signals that he intends for the USA to continue playing an active role in enforcing a system of global order. As Trump has put it, using the standard language of the foreign policy establishment, his government would mainly be focusing on creating stability in the world.

President Trump has got the firmness to persuade either side to make the significant concessions needed to make peace possible. By further pursuing the neutral line of thinking, of Obama, he can make Israel realize that US support for Israeli crimes against humanity is cannot be taken for granted Israel will have to concede the reality that Palestine will come into existence with full sovereignty. Trump can persuade Israel in his talk with Netanyahu in March to make the significant concessions needed to make peace possible by whole heartedly supporting the creation of Palestine state.

Election of Trump sent warning to Israel. Israel has stopped terror attacking the Palestine Gaza strip or kill children there ever since Trump emerged victory. Israel fears Trump. The current relative calm therefore should not be taken for granted as the simmering tension can explode any time when Trump faces problems in USA or if the Palestinians see no prospect of ending the occupation in the foreseeable future. Trump must not hesitate to pressure Israel now to seek a solution and save it from its own destructive path and for Israel’s own future security and political integrity.

Alongside, President Trump should also try a multi pronged approach in solving global problems. Occupation of Palestine and Kashmir by colonialist powers with nukes; war crimes by the Lankan military under Rajapaksha, etc should the focus of his government. Trump should not leave the Palestinians at the mercy of Israel and let it emerge as a genuine nation by ceding all criminal thoughts and plans. A credible peace situation would emerge if Israel accepts to promote the Arab Peace Initiative of 2003.

Trump can easily resolve the fake dispute between India and Pakistan over neighboring Jammu Kashmir which they jointly occupy now, brutally killing Kashmiri Muslims. Kashmir has already lost over 100,000 Muslims by Indian military brutality. Having got selfish agenda, India and Pakistan cannot be trusted to resolve the Kashmir crisis and therefore he must intervene to get peace deal done next year itself.

Establishment of Palestine and Kashmir as sovereign nations will considerably enhance the image of Trump as sensible peace maker and prestige and status of USA as the dependable ally for the cause of peace and prosperity.

Fortunately for Trump and humanity at large the Nobel Peace committee did not honor the president elect Trump with Peace Prize as it has falsely done when Obama was elected as US president as he had just became a usual American politician promoting colonialism, imperialism and capitalism.

Americans taught valuable lessons to Obama through defeating his presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Possibly Trump would be honored new year with a Nobel Peace Prize as the leader who worked sincerely and successfully for the freedom and independence of Palestine and Kashmir, and as a genuine crusader for global peace

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In Praise of the Lioness of Law: Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her Jurisprudence

Punsara Amarasinghe

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The death of the US Supreme Court Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg has created an abyss in the court for the liberal voice where justice Ginsburg was seen as the linchpin of the liberal block of the Supreme Court at a time when that block was shrinking. Especially late judge had vociferously advocated for women ‘rights, environmental issues and often came up with unique dissents in delivering her judgements which were propelled by her jurisprudence which embodied the solemn ideal in American legal system “Equal Protection under the Law “. She was on a quest to defend the delicate balance between honoring the timelessness of American Constitution and recognizing the depth of its enduring principles in new centuries and under new circumstances.

She grew up in an era where men held the helm in every aspect of social life and especially the legal profession was utterly dominated by men. Recalling her legal studies at Harvard law school in the 50’s judge Ginsburg had stated later how she was once asked by the Dean of Harvard law school to justify her position as a law student that otherwise would have gone to a man. Yet she had the spunk to overcome all the obstacles stood on her way and excelled as a scholar becoming the first female member of the Harvard Law Review.

In tracing her legal career that it becomes a salient fact, Judge Ginsburg marked her name in American legal history even decades before she joined the bench. While at the American Civil Liberties Union in the early seventies she made an upheaval in American in legal system in famous Supreme Court Case Reed Vs Reed. In Reed Vs Reed the brief drafted by Ginsburg provided an astute analysis on the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution, the Equal Protection Clause. Ginsburg’s brief changed the aged long practice existed in the State of Idaho on favoring men over women in estate battles by paving the path for a discourse on gender equality rights in the USA.

Judge Ginsburg’s appointment to the Supreme Court in 1994 during Clinton administration marked the dawn of new jurisprudential chapter in the US Supreme Court. Two terms later, in the United States v. Virginia (VMI), Justice Ginsburg applied her lucid perspective to a sharply disputed constitutional claim. The United States challenged Virginia’s practice of admitting only men to its prestigious military college, the Virginia Military Institute. Writing for six Justices, Ginsburg held this policy unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause. In reaching this result, Ginsburg adroitly cut away potentially confounding issues about women’s participation in the military or the advantages of single-sex education.

Her robust activism in securing gender equality often attracted the admirations of the feminist scholars and activists, but it should be noted that her contribution was not only confined to the protection of gender equality. She was a robust critique of racial dissemination which still pervades in American society and she frequently pointed out how racial discrimination has marred the constitutional protections guaranteed to every citizen. Especially in the case of Gratz Vs Bollitnger, she stressed on the commitment that the state ought to fulfil by eliminating the racial biases existing employment and education. Moreover, disabled citizens. In Olmstead v. Zimring, she held that “unjustified institutional isolation of persons with disabilities is a form of discrimination” violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.45 She elaborated a two-fold concept of discrimination, noting that unneeded institutionalization both “perpetuates unwarranted assumptions that persons so isolated are incapable or unworthy of participating in community life”.

In remembering the mortal departure of this prudent judge that one cannot forget her keenness in incorporating international law into her judgements regardless of the disinclination shown by conservative judges like Antony Scalia. Going beyond the mere textualism approach to the law, Ginsburg’s jurisprudence was much more akin to using international law to make substantive decisions. For instance, in her concurring verdict in Grutter Vs Bollinger, Justice Ginsburg relied upon international human rights law, and in particular upon two United Nations conventions, to support her conclusions.

Indeed, the demise of Ruth Ginsburg is a major blow for the liberalists in the USA, especially in an era where liberalist values are at stake under the fervent rise of populist waves propounded by Donald Trump. Especially late judge had been one of the harsh critics of Trump even before ascendency to the Oval office. The void created by the demise of judge Ginsburg might change the role the US Supreme Court if the successor to her position would take a more conservative approach and it will fortify the conservative bloc in the US Supreme Court. Trump has already placed Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh and the third pick would more deeply entrench the conservative views in the US Supreme Court, which would inevitably undermine the progressive policies taken during Obama’s administration towards issues such as the environment. The political storm appeared after the death of the late judge has already created a tense situation in US politics as president Trump is determined to appoint a judge to fill before the presidential election in November.

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The Politics of (In)security in Mexico: Between Narcissism and Political Failure

Lisdey Espinoza Pedraza

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Security cannot be that easily separated from the political realm. The need for security is the prime reason why people come together to collectively form a state. Providing security is, therefore, one of the most basic functions of the state as a political and collective entity.

Last Friday, the Mexican president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) laughed during his daily morning press briefings over a national newspaper headline about 45 massacres during his presidency. This attitude summarises in a macabre way his approach to insecurity: it is not his top priority. This is not the first time that AMLO has showed some serious and deeply disturbing lack of empathy for victims of crimes. Before taking office, he knew that insecurity was one of Mexico’s biggest challenges, and he has come to realise that curbing it down will not be as simple as he predicted during his presidential campaign.

Since the start of the War on Drugs in 2006, Mexico has sunk into a deep and ever-growing spiral of violence and vigilantism as a result of the erosion of the capacity of the state to provide safety to citizens. Vigilantism is when citizens decide to take the law into their own hands in order to fill the vacuum left by the state, or to pursue their own very particular interests. Guerrero, Michoacán, Morelos, Tabasco, Tamaulipas and Veracruz have over 50 vigilante organisations that pose substantial danger to the power of the state.

Vigilantism is not the only factor exacerbating the security crisis in Mexico: since 2006, young people have also started to join drug cartels and other criminal organisations. There are important sectors of the population who feel that the state has failed to represent them. They also feel betrayed because the state has not been able to provide them with the necessary means to better themselves. These frustrations make them vulnerable to the indoctrination of organised crime gangs who promise to give them some sort of ideological direction and solution to their problems.

As a result, it is not enough to carry out a kingpin arrest strategy and to preach on the moral duties we have as citizens as well as on human dignity. People need to be given enough means to find alternative livelihoods that are attractive enough to take them out of organised crime, Mexico can draw some important lessons from Sierra Leone who successfully demobilised and resettled ex-combatants after the armed conflict. Vigilantism, recruitment by organised crime, and insecurity have also flourished because of a lack of deterrence. The judicial system is weak and highly ineffective. A large proportion of the population does not trust the police, or the institutions in charge of the rule of law.

A long-term strategy requires linking security with politics. It needs to address not only the consequences but also the roots of unemployment and deep inequality. However, doing so requires decisive actions to root out widespread and vicious corruption. Corruption allows concentration of wealth and also prevents people from being held accountable. This perpetuates the circle of insecurity. Mexico has been slowly moving towards a borderline failed state. The current government is starting to lose legitimacy and the fragility of the state is further perpetuated by the undemocratic, and predatory governance of the current administration.

Creating a safer Mexico requires a strong, coherent, and stable leadership, AMLO’s administration is far from it. His popularity has consistently fallen as a result of his ineffective policies to tackle the pandemic, worsening insecurity, and the economic crisis. Mexico has reached over 72,000 Covid-19 deaths; during his initial 20 months as incumbent president, there has been 53,628 murders, among them 1800 children or teenagers, and 5888 women (11 women killed per day) This criminality rate is double than what it was during the same period in the presidency of Felipe Calderón (2006-2012); and 55% higher than with the last president, Enrique Peña Nieto (2012-2018). Mexico is also experiencing its worst economic recession in 90 years.

Insecurity remains as the issue of most concern among Mexicans, seeing the president laughing about it, can only fill citizens with yet more despair and lack of trusts in the government and its institutions. AMLO’s catastrophic performance is not surprising, though. Much of his failures and shortcomings can be explained by both ideology and a narcissistic personality. Having someone with both of those traits ruling a country under normal, peaceful times is already dangerous enough, add an economic crisis and a pandemic to the mix and the result is utter chaos.

AMLO embodies the prototypical narcissist: he has a grandiose self-image; an inflated ego; a constant need for admiration; and intolerance to criticism. He, like many other narcissists, thinks about himself too much and too often, making him incapable of considering the wellbeing of other and unable to pursue the public interest. He has a scapegoat ready to blame for his failures and mistakes: previous administrations, conservatives, neoliberalism, academics, writers, intellectuals, reporters, scientists, you name it, the list is long and keeps getting longer.

AMLO keeps contradicting himself and he does not realise it. He has been claiming for months that the pandemic is under control: it is not. He declares Mexico is ready to face the pandemic and we have enough tests and medical equipment: we do not. He says Mexico is on its way to economic recovery: it is not. He states corruption is a thing of the past: it is not. He says Mexico is now safer than ever before: it is not. When told the opposite he shrugs criticism off and laughs, the behaviour of a typical narcissist.

AMLO, alike narcissists, due to his inability to face criticism, has never cared about surrounding himself by the best and brightest. He chose a bunch of flunkies as members of his cabinet who try to please and not humiliate their leader. A further trait of narcissistic personalities is that they love conflict and division as this keeps them under control. The more destabilisation and antagonism, the better. AMLO since the start of his presidency has been setting states against states for resources and for pandemic responses, instead of coordinating a national response. He is also vindictive: playing favourites with those governors who follow him and punishing those that oppose him.

Deep down, narcissistic leaders are weak. AMLO is genuinely afraid to lead. He simply cannot bring himself to make decisions that are solely his. This is why he has relied on public referendums and consultations to cancel projects or advance legislation. He will not take any responsibility if something goes wrong: It was not him who decided, it was the people, blame them. He inherited a broken system that cannot be fixed during his term, blame the previous administrations, not him.

AMLO is a prime example of a textbook narcissist, unfortunately he is not the only one: Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, Recep Erdogan, Rodrigo Duterte are only a few more examples of what seems to be a normalised behaviour in contemporary politics. Every aspect of AMLO’s and other leaders presidencies have been heavily marked by their psychopathology. Narcissism, however, does not allow proper and realistic self-assessment, self-criticism, and self-appreciation therefore such leaders will simply ignore the red flags in their administration and have no clue how despicably and disgracefully they will be remembered.

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Americas

Minor Successes And The Coronavirus Disaster: Is Trump A Dead Duck?

Dr. Arshad M. Khan

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That reminder from the Bible, ‘He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone’ may give us pause — but not journalists who by all appearances assume exemption.  And the stones certainly bruise.

Evidence for the bruises lies in the latest poll numbers.  Overall, Joe Biden leads Donald Trump 50 to 43 percent, a margin that has continued to increase since January.  It is also considerably wider than the few points lead Hillary Clinton had over Trump four years ago.  It gets worse for Trump. 

In the industrial states of Michigan and Pennsylvania, which Trump in 2016 won by razor thin margins, he is losing by over 4 percent.  Also key to his victory was Wisconsin where, despite his success in getting dairy products into Canada, he is behind by a substantial 7 percent.  Key states Ohio and Florida are also going for the Democrats.

Trump was not doing so badly until the coronavirus struck and during the course of his news conferences he displayed an uncaring persona larded with incompetence.  Dr. Anthony Fauci, the man he fired for correcting Trumpian exaggerations became a hero and Trump the bully.

If that bullying nature won him small rewards with allies, he hit an impasse with China and Iran … while bringing the two closer to each other.  Then there is the border wall, a sore point for our southern neighbor Mexico.  President Lopez Obrador made sure the subject never came up at the July meeting with Trump,   Thus Mexico is not paying for it so far and will not be in the foreseeable future.

The United Arab Emirates, a conglomeration of what used to be the Trucial States under British hegemony. have agreed to formalize its already fairly close relations with Israel.  In return, Israel has postponed plans to annex the West Bank.  Whether or not it is in Israel’s long term interest to do so is a debatable question because it provides much more powerful ammunition to its critics who already accuse it of becoming an apartheid regime.  However, it had become Prime Minister Netanyahu’s sop to the right wing who will have to wait.  Of course, the reality is that Israel is already the de facto ruler.

If Mr. Trump was crowing about the agreement signed on September 15, although it is akin to someone signing an agreement with Puerto Rico while the United States remains aloof.  As a postscript, the little island of Bahrain also signed a peace deal with Israel.  Bahrain has had its own problems in that a Sunni sheikh rules a Shia populace.  When the Shia had had enough, Saudi and UAE troops were used to end the rebellion.  Bahrain is thus indebted to the UAE.

How many among voters will know the real value of these historic (according to Trump) deals particularly when he starts twittering his accomplishments as the election nears?

There things stand.  As they say, there is nothing worse than peaking too early.  Bettors are still favoring Trump with their money.  The longer anyone has been in politics the more there is to mine, and for an opponent to use to his/her advantage.  Time it seems is on Trump’s side.  

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