Category Archives: Trip around the World

A blog for current affairs

My Opinion on President Donald J. Trump

*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.

Red Wall of China

Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Tibet and what is in store for the Red Nation

Bonus: Kashmir

Relentless courage, determination and sacrifice there is nothing more I have to say to the brave protestors in Hong Kong that gave nostalgic feelings to the year of 1989. This parallel is important to look at, both instances recount democratic protests that were supported by the West, but one ended with violence and broken hopes of democracy. Yet with this large similarity, there is one glaring difference, influence. The events of Tiananmen Square marked 18 years since the People’s Republic of China (PRC) admission into the UN, at this time China was growing into an economic superpower due to Chairman Deng’s capitalist reforms, but now we see China as the second-largest economy in the world and a nation with widespread influence in every continent.

China’s rise to stardom has been in my opinion predominantly due to the Nixon administration’s willingness to accept China much to the distaste of Taiwan. Former National Security Adviser was one of the first diplomats to openly accept China into the diplomatic world, forgoing the numerous human rights atrocities that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has committed. Since then, China is now considered a superpower equal to the United States and this means that there are frequent occurrences of conflict of interest in Asia, Africa, and Oceania. It is unnerving that many nations are succumbing to the temptation of China’s wealth in exchange for deals that undermine the security and stability for certain nations. Take the small nation of Djibouti as an example, since 2017 China has operated on a military support base in Djibouti a vital geographical point as it is near the Horn of Africa, but what is hardly mentioned is the fact that Djibouti owes China about $1 billion dollars and China has paid for 40% of the funding of projects such as the Doraleh Multipurpose Port, the Ethiopia-Djibouti Railway, and the Ethiopia-Djibouti Water Pipeline. This a common strategic ploy that China has put on nations not only in Africa but in Oceania to not only keep a tight leash on them and manage their internal affairs from the outside, but to also ensure that if ever foreign superpowers object to China’s policies or affairs, China will have a large support group of nations that will stand by them. An article by the Telegraph talks about China and Australia’s ongoing fight over influence in Tuvalu an island nation with less than 12,000 inhabitants. A looming point that I would like to bring up is the reason that China looks to nations like Tuvalu is that during the voting session in the United Nations every nation holds one vote, this means that a nation like Tuvalu can just as much change the outcome as a nation like the United States and if China is able to become strong allies with nations that are similar to Tuvalu this entails them to perform any action with little resistance from the United Nations. The turn of the century has seen China use its economic power to bolster nations towards their side, a similar tactic the US implemented in the 20th century, but with this new set of allies there is growing resentment in the West and internally that the actions undertaken by the CCP have to come to a halt.

What is apparent in China is that minorities will never feel part of the nationalistic identity that so many Han Chinese resonate with and this creates the sentiment for greater autonomy or independence. There are 3 regions in China that continue to oppose the policies from the mainland (4 if you count Taiwan), Hong Kong, Tibet and Xinjiang and this is not only because they do not feel included in Chinese policies it is also because their lives are subject to constant unwanted change, surveillance and violence simply because they are different. The ongoing protests in Hong Kong are just another example of the deep divides China still faces, along with the 2008 Tibetan Protests and ongoing humanitarian crisis in Xinjiang. What is extremely disheartening is the few nations to come out and support the struggle of each of these regions and acknowledge the human rights abuses that China has committed in all 3 regions. The top 4 countries with the largest Muslim populations that being Indonesia, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh did not sign the joint statement criticizing China’s treatment of Uyghurs showing a reluctance to unite with their Muslim brothers yet when Israel commits horrendous acts against Palestinians they are more than ready to go to war. Unfortunately, the despairing truth is that nations that were once unbreakable allies choose to forgo their dignity in favor of economic benefits. If we see these same type of responses to Hong Kong and Tibet as we have seen in Xinjiang the respective problems will not be solved any time soon.

Many of you may know Tibet from the Dalai Lama or it being referred to as the land of snow, monasteries and peaceful people, similarly you may also know Xinjiang for being the heart of the Silk Road. As I am half-Tibetan I take the subject of Tibet very sternly when discussing the seriousness of the issue there. Since the 1959 Revolution, Tibetans have seen their culture, religion, history slowly being wiped out, additionally the numerous human rights abuses that Chinese soldiers commit is on staggering feats. There is widespread support for the Tibetan independence movement and that has been because of western governments publicly sympathizing with the Tibetan cause and denouncing China for their human rights abuses there, this same energy is required from all countries in order to support the Uyghur cause. The reason Tibet is so vital to China is that it supports freshwater to half the world’s population giving China huge leverage with South Asian nations. Furthermore, Tibet is extremely rich in minerals, thereby with control over Tibet, this allowed China to be much more self-sufficient. Before moving to my last point on why Tibet is vital to the stability of the CCP, I would like to go back to the year 1950 when Tibet a sovereign state was invaded by the newly formed PRC, China’s purpose for Tibet was to use it as a strategic geographical location which military exercises could be performed on. With its valuable land border with the Indian subcontinent and its harsh environment made for a perfect buffer state between the Soviet Union, India and the Chinese mainland. The future for Tibet is in a precarious place, as every year passes Tibet loses more and more of its unique culture and China becomes more and more stronger, but hopefully with the rise of an aggressive west a socialist state like China will allow a degree of freedom in Tibet.

It is no secret that India and China are bitter rivals, each one vying for influence in the Asian continent, a battleground between these two nations is the region of Kashmir and this is where Pakistan also comes into the picture. Again like Tibet, Kashmir is an important strategic location for all three of these nations, additionally the region also is a popular tourist destination and has several rivers such as the Sutlej and Indus rivers. The Kashmiri conflict is nowhere close to being resolved and ever since the intervention of the Chinese during the Sino-Indian War in 1962 tensions remain extremely high. Access to Kashmir allows one nation to have a military advantage over the other as the high altitude region provides a great location for military bases.

Jammu and Kashmir Dispute

It is undoubtedly hard to make the CCP change, international condemnation from the Tiananmen Square Massacre has done nothing to make China change, but to ensure the CCP changes from its authoritarian ways, it should be every country’s forefront mission to support those oppressed whether it be the Uyghurs, Tibetans, or people of Hong Kong. This will be the only way for China to change and for the world to regain its cowardly face in the image of the Red Wall of China.

The Persian Chessboard

It has become a common norm amongst world leaders to refer to Iran as an enemy of liberty and a threat to world peace, with the rise of populism and nationalism it has become a recurrent theme that rising politicians use to seemingly strengthen their base. In light of the recent events surrounding Iran’s seizure of British-flagged oil tanker it has come to my attention that there needs to be a consensus on why Iran has become the nation it has, why do other nations perceive Iran as a hostile nation – in the words of President Donald J. Trump a “Nation of terror“, what are the side effects of this conflict and what are the chances that the west is drawn into another Middle Eastern Conflict?

Iran has been a dominant and rich civilization since the greeks, their development and widespread influence has been largely due to the fact that Iran boasts the world’s largest natural gas supply and fourth-largest oil reserve enabling them to be a beacon for Shiite Muslims. Iran has a very unique history, it is one of the only Islamic Republics in the world and used to be a close ally of the west. Following World War II the West sought to undermine Soviet influence in the region by instilling a leader that would ensure communism would not rise, despite the protests of the public. The tension between Iran and the west was created during this time, the people felt that the United States was protruding themselves in affairs that did not directly concern them, many of the conflicts that we see in the present is due to all the proxy-wars that the United States supported during the Cold War. Throughout history the same pattern is present where nations choose to fight over resources, ignoring the sentiments of the local people and the irony of this increases when the west does not understand why people from these regions hate the West. As a child who has been on this world since the fall of Saddam Hussein I understand the global need for resources, but what I do not understand is why the United States refuses to have formal diplomatic relations with Iran when it wholeheartedly considers Saudi Arabia a close ally. Iran does support terrorist groups, but it is a known fact that Saudi Arabia also provides aid to extremists and is the main perpetrator in one of the largest humanitarian crises plaguing the world, the Yemeni Civil War. Again to deduce this issue we must look directly into the middle east to understand the true rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran and why this conflict affects the west.

Iran as said before is a beacon for Shiites around the world, on the contrary Saudi Arabia sees itself as the leader of the Sunni faith, both nations see the other as a direct threat to their version of Islam. Moving off a bit, in the past the main conflict was Israel against the rest of the middle east a common issue that united the Muslim world, now we see the Arab world (including Israel) against Iran and their allies. What I find extremely absurd is how some of these Muslim states choose to side with a Jewish state to fight another Islamic state. Iran is perceived as a hostile nation because of the fact that Saudi Arabia has the second-largest oil reserves and is allied with Israel in this conflict, this is why the west supports the latter side in this conflict. What I really admire about the Obama administration is that they let go of their support for the Saudis and chose to help lift Iran out of seclusion with the hopes that they let go of their nuclear ambitions with the Iran Nuclear Deal Framework in 2015, this unfortunately, was practically dismantled after the Trump administration withdrew from the deal and Iran restarted their uranium enrichment facilities. Now it is no surprise that tensions are escalating as Iran again feels isolated and under threat by western and Sunni forces.

Whenever a major conflict occurs millions of innocent people have their lives caught in the crossfire, this conflict with Iran will be no exception if it comes down to that, but a battle between the west against Iran will solidify the sphere of influence in the Muslim world. If Iran forces the US to a cease-fire that will be considered a victory and ensure Iranian dominance over the middle eastern region for years to come, this in turn will strengthen Syria, Hezbollah, Iraq, and Qatar and ensure that Sunni dominance will be severly weakened. What could possibly emerge is a new middle eastern order where Saudi Arabia and Turkey are not the dominating partnership, but instead Iran with the support of Russia projects itself as the next global superpower. With a large population the removal of sanctions will allow Iran to once again reach for the glory that was once within reach during the days of the Obama administration, the question is whether President Trump will come to his senses. With the rise of Iranian dominance it is possible that the middle east again focuses its attention on Israel this time with more truculent aims, Israel could be facing a similar situation to what it faced before the Camp David accords and this time the Arab world would be prepared with a strong force. I would not count out the possibility of a reemerging Iraqi or Irani kingdom with the possible reacquisition of Kuwait or growing influence in the Persian Gulf/Caspian Sea respectively. However, if the west does defeat Iran swiftly extremism and guerilla warfare will spread as we saw in Afghanistan. If the war is drawn out public opinion domestically and internationally will go against the war creating the exact same situation as we have seen in other middle eastern countries the US has interfered in. At this stage the safest decision in my opinion would be to create a nuclear deal similar to that of 2015, this should be done with several amendments in order to appease President Trump who represents the biggest stakeholder in this conflict.

Coming to a conclusion on the brewing conflict, we have established several key features of these events, but what are the actual chances that this conflict breaks out into a full war. Firstly, if there was a war the nations most likely to be involved would be the US, Saudi Arabia, UK and Iran with Russia and Syria providing aid to Iran and NATO and most of the Arab states providing aid to the US, UK and Saudis. In reality, I doubt a war does break out, moreover what I see happening is one of the two paths. One, a similar approach is undertaken with Iran as was done with North Korea though I doubt that the Saudis would approve of this. Or secondly, the more likely option is that worldwide sanctions are increased, Iranian airspace is closed off and the US increases Iranian espionage operations in order to cripple the country from the inside by trying to garner US support and increase dissatisfaction with the Shah. The next steps that world leaders take, specifically President Trump’s will be essential to the middle eastern hierarchy of the future.