Who would’ve thought this time last year that the Republicans would abandon such core principles as free trade and global hegemony? But just 3 weeks into the new presidency these policies are fraying at the edges and will soon lie in tatters at the President’s feet, if he has his way. Policies years in the making have, in one tweet, dissolved.
Over the last couple of weeks foreign policy pundits and policy makers have been bordering on apoplexy as the Republican President leads the GOP in protectionism and isolationism. Republican leaning publications such as Foreign Policy and Newsweek will soon be waxing nostalgic for the Obama years.
First to fall was the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement, or TPP, effectively removIng the U.S. from a leadership position in a 12 country Pacific trade alliance. Pundits claim the Chinese are rubbing their hands ready to pick up the slack. Next will be NAFTA, which originally Trump threatened to tear up though now it looks as if he’s just aiming for Mexico. The Canadian side will just be ‘tweaked’, whatever that means. Either way, American trade partners are going to have to brace themselves for the unknown.
The cognitive dissonance emanating from Washington over the relationship and natural affinity between Putin and Trump is almost audible. The President may want to get cozy with Putin, but Americans don’t give up their enemies that easily. Though these two leaders may be cut from the same cloth, Putin is much shrewder politically. The U.S. President sees no good reason to freeze out a man he admires and can benefit from; here the instincts of the business man dominate the politician.
Beware Enemies and Allies
The United States has effectively declared it’s closed for business to 7 countries. The trickle down effect of this poorly made decision will be incalculable. Rather than being a net receiver of brain drain the reverse may soon be true with Canada and Mexico being the likely beneficiaries. Mexico is reportedly trying to seduce Silicone Valley and may be more attractive than its colder and wetter neighbor to the north.
The President of the United States seems to think he can run the country as an offshoot of his business, and until recently most Americans agreed with him. This idea now seems to be wearing thin. HIs weaknesses are becoming apparent: a man with an addiction to twitter who gets his news from cable T.V., and according to reports doesn’t like to read, prefers not to attend intelligence briefings, and becomes offended very easily. It’s no wonder rational pundits and politicians are starting to panic.
Be it Mexico, Europe or Australia, no country is safe from a twitter-lashing when the President feels he or his family is slighted, or he perceives something is not in his interest. His lack of political experience and volatile personality leaves him open to the manipulation and biases of his inner circle.
Will the real President stand up?
This would have been a ridiculous question to ask before January 20th 2017, but recent headlines from such magazines as Foreign Policy and Newsweek proclaiming ” President Bannon” is in charge attests to an already developed deep distrust. Now White House advisor, Stephen Bannon, former Goldman Sachs employee and editor of the online news alt-right forum Breitbart, seems to be calling the shots. (Alt-right is an umbrella term under which the white supremacists and neo-nazis identify.)
Apparently Bannon is a self-declared Leninist whose raison d’etre is to destroy the Washington status quo through revolution. It looks like he’s well on his way.