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Political leaders, media moguls and journalists have saturated the public throughout the world with claims and accusations that President Trump is destroying the World Order, undermining historic alliances, western values, the world trade organizations and violating national and international constitutions and institutions.
In the United States, legislators, judges and leaders from both parties have accused President Trump of being a traitor for fraternizing and serving as a tool of Russian President Putin.
This paper will analyze and discuss these claims and accusations. We will begin by comparing and discussing the actions and reactions of President Trump’s predecessors to determine whether there has been a ‘break’ with the past. This requires an examination of his ‘inheritance’ – what actions preceded his Presidency.
Secondly, we will evaluate what President Trump has said and what he has done and their significance.
We will conclude by examining whether the conflicts are of world historical significant or a tempest in a teapot and whether President Trump has acted against the current World Order in search of a new world order.
President Trump’s Inheritance: What ‘World’ what ‘Order”?
To speak of a “World” is an abstraction – our life is built around many micro, local, regional and macro ‘worlds’ which are connected and disconnected. The world of President Trump is the imperial world, centered in US supremacy; the regional world is centered in its allies and satellites. In so far as Trump has forced divisions with the European Union, and threatened China he has called into question the existing world order. However, he has failed to construct a new ‘world order’.
Trump inherited a world disorder riven by prolonged regional wars in Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. Under the previous four presidents imperial values replaced democratic ideals as witnessed by the millions slaughtered in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Palestine over the past two decades.
President Trump is attempting to reconfigure a world order based on economic pressure, military threats and political bluster.
In the process of ‘remaking’ a US centered world order Trump generates chaos and disorder in order to strengthen his hand in future negotiations and settlements. Trump’s so-called ‘craziness’ is a tactic to secure a ‘better deal’, as is the case today in the agreement with the EU . An approach with short term gains unforeseen middle term consequences.
In fact Trump has done little to unmake the existing order. The US militarily surrounded China under ex-President Obama a policy Trump follows to the letter. Washington remains in NATO and trades with the EU. The Pentagon continues wars in the Middle East. Treasury finances Israeli ethnic cleansing.
In other words, Trump has been un willing and unable to extricate the US from the political mess of his predecessors.
He has increased the military budget but has not been able to project power. Trump has threatened trade wars across the globe but in fact trade has increased and deficits remain in place.
Despite Trump’s claims of a ‘great’ transformation and his enemies’ charges of systematic destruction, the question remains —what has really changed?
Rhetoric is Reality under Trump and Anti-Trump
Few signposts changes have taken place despite the bluster and the rhetoric in the political ‘playpen’.
Despite changes in personalities the underlying political structures remain in place and promise to continue, despite elections and unending investigations and revelations.
The so-called ‘trade war’ has failed to reduce world trade; employment remains unchanged; inequalities persist and deepen.Policies threatening war alternate with peace overtures.Increases in military budgets are spent by and for armchair generals.
Democrats and Republicans denounce each other ,and share coctails and dinner, believing they have done an ‘honest day’s work’…
Immigrants are seized, interned and expelled to nations run by death squads funded by elected US politicians from both parties.
Trump threatens a catastrophic war against Iran while sanctions fail to deter Teheran from developing ties with Europe and Asia.
Domestic agendas promising ‘transformations’ come and go, while trillion dollar infrastructure promises disappear down the memory hole.
Rousing denunciations echo in the legislative chambers but are suspended, to secure bi-partisans’ approval, so that multi billion dollars can be added to the military budget.
Tax giveaways to the very rich provoke inconsequential debates.
Armchair assassins pretend to be journalists and direct the Pentagon to disobey the ‘traitor’ President and launch a war, evoking a response by the President— threatening new wars. Neither of whom will risk their own skin!
Employers claim there is a shortage of skilled workers, forgetting to fund vocational education or raise wages and salaries.
Candidates for office spend millions but the more they spend, the fewer the voters.
Abstention is the majoritarian response to phony trade wars, fake Russian meddling, bipartisan charades, porn politics, and tweets as hand shaped turds.
The overwhelming reality is that ‘chaos’ is like foam on a stale beer: very few, if any, changes have taken place.
The World Order remains in place, unmoved by inconsequential trade tiffs between Europe, and North America .
Washington’s angry voices are hollow farts compared to China’s multi- billion dollar infrastructure expansion of the Belt and Road across West Africa.
In the ongoing world order, Washington increases its Israeli handouts to 38 billion for the next decade and budgets 4% of its GNP to robotize the military-industrial complex.
The President alternates tweets commands on war and peace, to his trusted and disloyal cabinet members,and honest and dishonest intelligence operative.
Under the same tent, investigators investigate each other.
All of which is not a bad thing – because nothing changes— for the worst at least up to now: no treason or impeachment trials; no peace or new wars in the Middle East, no trade or nuclear wars!
But there is no reason to believe that threats could not become a reality.
Netanyahu can lead Trump by the nose to a catastrophic war against Iran.
Trump can provoke a trade war with China.
Climate change can lead to the seven plagues of Biblical proportions.
Economic bubbles can burst and central banks may be unable to bail out the banks too big to fail.
Every disaster that has been promised and not happened can become reality.
In the meantime, prophets of doom and gloom cash their weekly checks and tick off the list of inequities of their chosen adversaries. The ten percent who defend or opposes the world order still determine who rules the rest of the ninety percent. No wonder there is bipartisan support to increase police powers!
Prof. James Petras is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.
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