Wednesday December 08, 2021

Trump’s departure

January 20, 2021

Donald Trump, the erratic incumbent of the Oval Office, is finally out of the most powerful office in the world. His presidency was marred by a number of controversies that not only popularized him among his right-wing supporters but also damaged the prestigious political position that he held for four years.

The 45th president will go down in history as someone who attempted to divide American society, making attempts to tear its social fabric, driving a wedge between the various sections of the mighty state, and trampling the norms of decency during his tenure as the chief executive of the country. He is the only president who faced a second impeachment during his tenure as the head of the state.

With his departure, his critics are evaluating his legacy – which they call brimming with hatred, idiosyncrasies, imprudence, opportunism, callousness towards the plight of poor Americans and irrationality at the diplomatic fronts. He has been described as one of the worst presidents of the mighty state that has dominated various parts of the world. Unlike some Republican Founders of the country who battled separatism and insurrection, Trump is being dubbed as someone who encouraged a shameful insurrection that not only jeopardized the lives of congressmen but his close aide Vice President Mike Pence as well.

The mob attack brought disrepute to the office of the president, making a mockery of American democracy across the world. The appalling incident also provided an opportunity to the rivals of the global power to cast aspersions on the very system of the government.

The controversial American president will be viewed differently in various parts of the world. The clergy in Tehran will likely heave a sigh of relief over his departure. Trump greatly damaged Iran in various ways. He dashed the hopes of Iranians for the revival of their economy by slapping crippling sanctions on the theocratic state. The murder of Qasem Soleimani was a devastating blow to the Iranian hardliners who want to extend the tentacles of Iranian revolutionary ideas across the region. The pro-Israeli Trump also turned a blind eye to Israeli attacks not only on Palestinians but against pro-Iran militia inside Syrian territories.

On the diplomatic front, he accorded carte blanche to the Zionist state that not only continued establishing more settlements but also undertook a number of other actions that were flagrant violations of international laws and norms. The assassinations of Iranian scientists, which Tehran blames on Israel, were also ignored by the Trump administration.

The hapless masses in Yemen may also have a reason to celebrate Trump’s departure. Trump had a dogged determination to sell American arms without any regard to the human cost of such arms deals. He showered a number of weapons deals on the conservative kingdoms of Saudi Arabia and the UAE. International laws were violated in the attacks on Yemen, which by has one of the highest child mortality rates in the world. Such actions have created a humanitarian catastrophe for the unfortunate country. Many believe such actions would not have been possible had Trump not given his support. So, the Yemenis might have a bit respite if Joe Biden sticks to his promise of promoting human rights, respecting international laws and preventing war crimes.

For the Afghan Taliban, the Republican leader emerged as a saner voice among the war mongers sitting in the power corridors of Washington. They view his decision of pulling out American troops from the war-torn country as positive, hoping that this would put an end to the American occupation of their country. But the administration in Kabul was appalled by the alacrity that Trump demonstrated during the peace move. They seem to have a sense of betrayal, asserting that the landlocked state is going to lose all the gains that it had made in education, democracy, state building and human rights.

Many in Afghanistan believe that the decision of Trump to hold talks with the Taliban would turn out to be a big disaster, which might possibly plunge the country into a civil war again. The peace moves on the part of Washington have also seen to have encouraged the Taliban to carry out more attacks. It is not only Afghan troops now that are being routinely targeted; ordinary Afghans, including female journalists, cops and judges, have also been targeted.

For Beijing, Trump’s departure will not make much of a difference. Maverick analysts in the communist country believe that what Trump was trying to do alone will also be done by Biden – but in a more refined and sophisticated way. Hardliners in the power corridors of Beijing assert it is not only one president or chief executive in the US that is hostile to the rising economic power but it is the American state on a whole that views the communist country with contempt and is hell bent on preventing its rise on the global stage. After all, it was not Trump but Obama who announced the Pivot to Asia that many claim was meant to encircle the second largest economy. However, Trump will be missed in New Delhi where he had a great hawkish friend Modi who was ready to do his bidding against communist China.

Trump’s departure is not a cause of joy for Russia which had found the Republican leader less hostile towards Moscow than other incumbents of the Oval Office. Trump tried to hold an olive branch to Russia soon after coming into power. The Republican leader tried to normalize ties with America’s cold war rival, infuriating the American deep state and media that has been rabidly anti-Moscow for many years. A lack-luster response from the Trump administration over the issue of Crimea convinced many in the American establishment that the president was soft on their arch enemy. Even the scrapping of various international arms treaties by Trump, which hurt Moscow, could not appease anti-Russia elements in Washington that wanted more tough actions against their cold-war rival.

The EU might be more comfortable working with Joe Biden than it did with Trump who publicly mocked at the European leadership, accusing them of ripping off the US. He forced them to pay their share of the military budget in Nato; Trump believed that they had been dodging their due because of pliant leadership in Washington.

The mob attack in Washington stunned European leaders who assert it has brought disrepute not only to the American system of government but also to the overall Western system of politics and governance. The EU and the US both sought global dominance during the cold war through the rules-based system. Brussels is of the opinion that this system was greatly damaged by the American unilateralism championed by Donald Trump.

Many in European capitals assert that the Trump administration also undermined European Union’s power by scrapping the Iranian Nuclear Deal in which the EU more or less appeared as a guarantor. Trump’s unilateral action on this treaty damaged the credential of the EU as a global power and one of the biggest stakeholders in world affairs. So, the departure of Trump is also a source of blessing for Brussels which hopes to regain its global role as one of the biggest power centers in the world.

The writer is a freelance journalist.

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