*The first time I am explaining my thoughts and perceptions on President Trump and analyzing his actions through his first two and half years of his unexpected presidency
He is known as a controversial figure and his opinions are sometimes thought to be for show, with seemingly outlandish proposals such as proposing to ban all Muslims from the United States for a period of time or suggesting that if he was not Ivanka Trump’s father, perhaps he could be dating her. Yet with the American media and public laughing at his comical figure, this man unexpectedly landed a seat in the oval office, foreigners and possibly half of Americans would be confused as to why someone would vote for someone like President Trump, as a Canadian citizen I thought it would be interesting to give my opinion on President Trump and while there are several qualities I loathe about him, but there are some traits that make me like him.
What are Trump’s policies? His actions through his presidency have changed the identity of the Republican Party it has become a party that has doubled done on the Second Amendment, forged closer ties with White Nationalists, has a tough immigration stance, and is intent on isolating nations like China, DPRK, and Iran from the rest of the world through economic means. As a brown Canadian, I most certainly do not approve of his reluctance to denounce White Nationalism – until the arrival of the El Paso, and his inability to understand humility, empathize with human beings and his limited apologies. His domestic actions have not resonated with me as well as I believe the majority of non-white residents in America feel too. Let us face it, Trump’s base is predominantly white, have a lack of education and are conservatives. His tendency to support right-wing policies such as minimal gun control, implementing extremely low taxes and restricting the number of immigrants resonates with his base but leaves many people excluded from his vision of America. Credit to President Trump and his cabinet that the unemployment rate did reach a 40 year low (3.3% in April 2019) and the American economy is doing extremely well, coupled with the fact that the Democrats still seem to be divided it is not far-fetched to envision Trump in the West Wing until 2024. However, his immigration policy I think is extremely flawed, not only because it is racist, but also it logistically does not make sense. The majority of illegal narcotics are usually smuggled in through border crossings/checkpoints. Trump’s notion that drug trafficking happens when smugglers jump over border fences is false, though a wall may reduce drug trafficking by a fragment, the costs outweigh the benefits as the billions spent on the wall do not reap large benefits, those billions could have instead been diverted to mental health recovery programs which Trump regularly mentions after a mass shooting occurs. The second point that I do not think make sense is Executive Order 13769, in other words, his ban on Muslims which lasted for almost 2 months, after that he replaced it with Executive Order 13780 which instead replaced Iraq and Sudan with North Korea and Venezuela. This order banned people from Muslim-majority nations with the objective of stopping radical terrorists to enter the US, but everyone knows that radical terrorists make up a very small portion of Muslims. One of the nations Trump chose to ban citizens from was Syria, Syria has arguably been the world’s most violent country since the end of the 20th century, years of civil war have resulted in the displacement of 6.5 million. Tens of thousands have applied for asylum in the United States, but due to Trump’s decision, their requests were denied. This ban also affected American citizens with dual citizenship, several Americans returning from overseas trips were not allowed in the country, to return to their families because Trump’s Executive Order included American citizens with dual citizenships from one of the listed nations. Trump’s domestic policies have not hit a high note with me as I feel they are not intended to help America, rather they are stunts used by him to rile up his base.
On the contrary, what I do like is Trump’s Foreign Policy (Besides the Middle East). As I am partially Tibetan it feels really good to see nations, especially a superpower finally standing up to China, China’s unfair practices have allowed their firms to receive substantial profits, thus allowing rampant innovation amongst Chinese firms ensuring competition stays far behind. By implementing trade tariffs Chinese firms lose their influence and their brand image gets downgraded, thus allowing firms that operate in capitalist nations to prosper through innovation and hard-work, not grants given by the government. Additionally, by spending more on defense the US remains the most dominant power in the Pacific, by ensuring strong ties with Asian neighbors such as the Phillippines, Singapore, Taiwan. Furthermore, by referring to China as the only country that can convince North Korea to give up its nuclear ambitions I one hundred percent agree with this point. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has been a thorn in the US’s side since the Korean War and with the emergence of their nuclear program, the world has begun to take North Korea’s demands more seriously. The only way that the DPRK will forgo its nuclear program is if Kim Jong Un is guaranteed to be the ruler of his country and that all sanctions are removed, and economic grants are given to them to support their starving population and a crumbling economy. As of now, Supreme Leader Kim does not trust the United States and with good reason as the US has always been at the forefront to undermine the Kim Family Regime and actively works with South Korea, the only nations the DPRK has good relations with are Russia and most importantly China. The DPRK relies on China from everything to intelligence to economic aid, if China threatens to stop economic aid if the DPRK does not cease their nuclear program that could be one way of eliminating the nuclear threat, another way would be if China doubles down and incentivizes the DPRK even more to try and get them to move away from their nuclear program. I see the second option being more likely, but nations such as South Korea and Japan definetly would not like it. The DPRK has committed numerous human rights crimes and for them to be rewarded with economic benefits does not set a good precedent, additionally with the rise of developing North Korea that creates a competitor to South Korea and Japan. Within South Korea it would be increasingly likely that they would fear North Korea’s economic rise as a potential threat to their security, therefore would not take too kindly to such a diplomatic and economic action.
Though there are some aspect in Trump’s foreign policy such as his view on Israel, Saudi Arabi and Iran I still believe that his decisions have made the US much tougher which is something we need in today’s world with a powerful China and lurking Russia. By being a no-nonsense president he is willing to go to extreme lengths to get what he wants which I deeply admire. Praising his foreign policy at the same time his domestic policy is one that is extremely disturbing, based off recent reports that the White House rebuffed attempts by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to make combatting domestic terrorism a higher priority is extremely disturbing. With the numerous mass shootings that have taken place in the last year it is extremely hypocritical for Trump to enact such drastic measures on Muslims since radical Islamists were a major issue two years ago, but not do anything on domestic terrorists even not condemning them until a few days ago.
Now, would I vote for Trump in 2020? I really do like the tough-guy policy and his foreign policy is one of the most aggressive amongst US presidents since George Bush/Reagan. As a non-American, I do not give much importance to his domestic policy if I am thinking about if I had the chance to vote for him, would I? The reason I cannot vote for him is his behavior, though some may love him for his behavior, I feel like it is just too much for me. His bigotry and sexism of women shock me, choosing to label countries in Africa as “sh**hole countries” does not present himself as a good role model to the millions of young Americans.
Whatever you might say, it is clear that Trump is a controversial figure. He does not follow international norms, but he is a populist who acts on beliefs similar to that of realpolitik. He acts sometimes without considering the long terms effects and doesn’t build his hand but plays it immediately. This attitude resonates extremely well with white, low-income Americans, but it will not make America the country it should be – A land that welcomes people of all cultures, ethnicities and religion and offers them a chance at success if you put in the work.