Monday, April 22, 2024
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Promises made, promises kept: Trump’s no chump


THE world of politics is throwing up some interesting questions. How can Labour hold on to their place as the fourth party in UK politics with the Official Monster Raving Loony Party snapping at their heels? Do the Liberal Democrats just pick and choose the election results they will honour? And the biggest question of all: if Donald Trump is a racist, misogynistic ignoramus, how did he win a presidential election and how is he on course to win a second term? Perhaps we are getting too much information about the President’s tweets and not enough information about the President’s achievements.

‘Let’s make Iran great again’: with those five words President Trump expressed an approach to foreign policy sorely lacking from the powerless EU. Whereas the EU looks keen to appease the Iranian state, Trump’s approach is to take a different, more difficult, yet effective path, not just papering over the cracks and trying to contain a hostile state, but create a massive change in the region. Unlike the impotent EU, the USA has the power, the economy and the leader to achieve its objective.

President Trump does not do half measures. As with North Korea, he has a vision of what can be achieved in these regions; he also understands that to enact change tough decisions have to be made. His decision to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) proved to be effective. The pessimistic predictions that the President’s decision would leave America weakened and isolated have been proved false. It is Iran which is losing foreign investment, its economy is being squeezed and it has started to show the behaviour that reinforces President Trump’s view that it is a hostile and destabilising actor in the region. Other countries will follow America’s lead. The pressure from the Trump administration will lead to Iran’s return to the negotiating table, but this time under circumstances highly favourable to Trump and his team. What if that doesn’t happen? The worst-case scenario is that a confrontation with Iran will happen, an Iran that has been weakened by Trump’s actions; compare that with the EU approach of appeasement and Trump appears to be in yet another one of his win-win situations.

Withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal was one of Trump’s campaign promises. You remember that campaign: it was the one where pretty much every commentator said he had no chance of winning. The same commentators are still making predictions – you should check them out: they can be quite hilarious. Unlike the commentators who are still ploughing the same furrow, Trump has found a novel approach to politics. He made campaign promises and now he is going around the country and telling his voters which promises he has kept. For a man who is often denigrated for what many believe is a lack of linguistic skill, he certainly creates some great campaign slogans. My favourite is ‘Promises Made, Promises Kept’.

One of those promises was to build a wall along the southern border. That promise has not been kept, but the continued focus on illegal immigration has given President Trump the best route to a second term. Once again it is hard for me to believe the ‘Trump is stupid’ line when I see the President pick the one issue that is capable of tearing the Democratic Party apart. Not only did he pick the issue, he is relentless in keeping illegal immigration at the top of the newsfeed. The runners in the Democratic Diversity Steeplechase, otherwise known as the Democratic Party presidential primaries, have to make a decision: do they follow the sensible route of agreeing with Donald Trump on illegal immigration or do they let the noise from the ‘the Squad’ dictate their stance? It appears that the Democratic nominees are playing right into Trump’s hands, taking their cues from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib; while that situation holds it is easier for Trump to paint the Democratic Party as soft on illegal immigration. This allows Trump to communicate his achievements on immigration. These include an increase in removals by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), increased funding for ICE, a partnership with Central American countries to arrest and charge 4,000 MS-13 gang members, and an 83 per cent increase in the arrest of MS-13 members in the US.

The wall has not been built but a clear choice has been created. In one corner American voters have the so-called racist, misogynistic ignoramus Trump, whose policies are keeping Americans of all races and gender safe; in the other corner they will eventually have the most diverse candidate who will feel obliged to argue against the effective policies President Trump has put in place. That will be another win-win situation the ‘stupid’ President has engineered.

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Michael Walker
Michael Walker
Michael Walker is a professor at Dongseo University in the Republic of Korea. He teaches classes on US History and The Civil Rights Movement.

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