This is a globalized world. There is no changing this fact. There is no changing “climate science”. There is no changing the will of the people to be fair, when fairness commands it. There is no changing the slow-moving ascent of multiculturalism, racial integration and sexual equality; and no replacement for secular Democracy. Mr. Trump and the Republicans think it all can be unraveled with the stroke of a pen.
The masters of delusion might have convinced almost half of voters, but the other half will carry the torch into the future. The Women’s March in Washington and countless American cities proved their numbers don’t lie.
America is “hard-wired” to globalism. Banking, trade, markets and supply-chains are globally intertwined. Money flows between continents each millisecond. Multinationals are citizens in each country with allegiance to none. Finance capitalism displaced industrial capitalism decades ago. China and America are economically interdependent. Should China fail, she will take America with her.
Soon, younger generations will identify themselves with global initiatives and stand by them in their respective nations. Half of Americans know this and wish to be members of a progressive, humane world community and not transfixed by fogged rear-view mirrors. And Mr. Trump, as Nation writer John Feffer sees him, “has as a wrecking ball, and ‘internationalism’ is written all over it.”
If America abandons its international role – while admitting her many past missteps, failures and hypocrisies – the vacuum left will be filled by the next Empire. Mr. Trump has indirectly invited it to enter.
At the Davos World Economic Forum in late January, Chinese President Xi had underscored Beijing’s future role in global affairs in light of Trump’s inward turn. Xi likened Trump’s “America First” protectionism to “locking oneself in a dark room” in the hopes of protecting oneself from danger, but in so doing, cutting off all “light and air”.
On January 20, it took exactly six hours after the transfer of power from Mr. Obama to Trump for Europe to react. “Assault on Europe” was the lead headline at Germany’s largest magazine Der Spiegel, followed by Commentary, “Defending Western Values: Time for an International Front Against Trump.”
Deutsche Welle opinion mirrored those of Europe’s foreign ministers, “… all in all, it was clear again this week that after Donald Trump’s inauguration as 45th president of the USA, Europe can no longer rely on Washington.”
Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post noted, “His emphasis on nationalism will warm the hearts of many who feel left out, but leave cold those Americans who are convinced that in a globalized world a simplistic psychology of ‘America First’ will wind up leaving America Second.”
His inauguration speech was prehistoric, continued the Post. “It looked back in anger, as if America was nothing more than one huge downside and the only way to go now was up – and only Trump knew how to access the elevators.”
“Trump’s supporters can blame outside forces for their feelings of economic insecurity,” wrote Dominic Rushe at UK’s Guardian, “but it is people like Trump and his cabinet, set to be the richest in history, who have been the main beneficiary of the economic forces that have reshaped America.”
Toronto Globe and Mail’s Elizabeth Renzetti noted on inauguration day, presidents always took the high road – not Donald Trump. Trump’s speech was “astonishingly dark and menacing, free of any of the poetry or joy that his 44 predecessors had summoned to inspire their citizens,” she wrote.
“Eighty years ago, Franklin Delano Roosevelt used his second inaugural address to ask, ‘Have we found our happy valley?’ No, Mr. Trump answered: We’re on the road to hell, and I’m the one who can save you from it.”
“America is a magnificent project, held aloft by optimism and resilience,” Renzetti gracefully concluded. “For more than two hundred years its presidents have marveled at the delicacy and value of the entity that’s been put in their hands. They admit to trembling at the terrible responsibility. They don’t start by saying the thing is broken, or at least they didn’t until today. If they did, it would suggest that it is not the country that’s broken, but the person doing the speaking.”
At his last press conference, President Obama spoke of his daughters. They “appreciated the fact that this is a big, complicated country, and democracy is messy … But if you’re engaged and you’re involved, then there are a lot more good people than bad in this country, and there’s a core decency to this country, and that they got to be a part of lifting that up.”
This America, beacon on the hill, will survive this challenge.
If not, America will be a 3,000-mile wide island between two oceans, and the world will pivot together toward the next world leader, for better or worse.
Michael T. Bucci is a retired public relations executive who resides in New England. He has written nine books on practical spirituality and is a contributing opinion writer at a regional New England newspaper.
- John Feffer, “Donald Trump’s Strategy? Destroy the International Community in Order to Save It.”, The Nation, January 24, 2017.https://www.thenation.com/article/donald-trumps-strategy-destroy-the-international-community-in-order-to-save-it/
- Noah Barkin and Elizabeth Piper, “In Davos, Xi makes case for Chinese leadership role,” Reuters, January 18, 2017.http://www.reuters.com/article/us-davos-meeting-china-idUSKBN15118V
- “Assault on Europe: Donald Trump and the New World Order,” Spiegel Online, January 20, 2017.http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/trump-inauguration-signals-new-world-order-a-1130916.html
- Ullrich Fichtner, “Defending Western Values: Time for an International Front Against Trump,” Spiegel Online, January 20, 2016.http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/commentary-an-international-front-against-trump-a-1130905.html
- Max Hofmann, “Opinion: Europe needs to worry less about Trump,” Deutsche Welle, January 20, 2017.http://www.dw.com/en/opinion-europe-needs-to-worry-less-about-trump/a-37217635
- Tom Plate, “Trump comes up short – for better and for worse,” South China Morning Post, January 21, 2017.
- “What you need to know about Trump’s first speech as president,” Guardian, January 20, 2017.https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/20/donald-trump-inauguration-speech-analysis
- Elizabeth Renzetti, “On inauguration day, presidents always took the high road. Not Donald Trump,” Globe and Mail, January 20, 2017.
- “Remarks by the President in Final Press Conference,” White House Archives, January 18, 2017.https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/2017/01/18/remarks-president-final-press-conference