Recovering faith in the White House


By Tim Potier

Donald Trump found fame as host of the US version of The Apprentice. Running a country bears no relation to a game show. The media is coming to focus much more on the theatre generated than the strategic priorities of the administration.

Thus, the sincere hope of millions of Americans is in danger of being frustrated. Few would deny the experience of those appointed to the highest offices of state. However, their patient work and dedication is undermined by a focus on those who appear to be more concerned about being the news rather than responsible for it.

The President has had a successful career in business. In this respect, his more recent media profile only obscures his undoubted earlier achievements. Nevertheless, he has chosen to promote to positions of prominence persons with no experience in the fields entrusted and thus risks creating a clique of his own; something he had accused his opponent of building her entire career around.

It was obvious from the start that many would never accept the result; others (myself included) were willing, if only because of their appreciation for the United States, to wish the new administration well; but, there is an increasing prospect that this so far sorry tale could end prematurely in catastrophic failure.

There is much that the United States must fix. It has spent the decades since the fall of the Berlin Wall trying to govern the world alone. Young men and women, often from challenged neighbourhoods, have served with customary loyalty and distinction; many giving their lives in the process.

Those they left behind have had to face up to their loss while watching their communities slip into further decline. Such people do not hail from polite society.

Therefore, their labour is expendable, making their condition (even at the best of times) precarious and, thus, vulnerable to all the known vices mankind has spent the past millennia commodifying. This is the constituency that secured Trump his victory, the type who had often long since ceased voting or whom the Democrats took for granted, and so could then afford to ignore.

Their horizons being limited, they are much more likely to find pride and reassurance in guns and God; too poor and uneducated to appreciate the value of a balanced diet they are more likely to be obese and thus depend on the world-leading healthcare that only the wealthiest can afford.

They are mainly of European descent and vulnerable to the temptation of finding familiar scapegoats.
It is one thing to speak, endlessly, of ‘making America great again’. To be fair, jobs appear to remain the pre-eminent policy priority of the White House, but this will require a different, less global America and take decades to engineer.

Since the pronouncement of the Monroe Doctrine, the United States has suffered from a schizophrenic desire to set sail from the old world, whilst circulating its own promised land to every distant corner of the globe. At some point the current generation of leaders will have to decide what it wants America to be, because it can’t be both.

Free trade requires sacrifice. Advantage will be promoted, the commonplace allowed to fail. Such openness purchases influence beyond a nation’s frontier and brings riches for a few. However, for those unfortunate decimation results and dependence on government ensues, in the hope of new industries and skills being imported and absorbed.

The alternative is a level of social security, which erects barriers to trade, fossilises sectors of the economy from foreign predators and protects jobs. It is possible that an innovative and mobile society can obtain the best of both worlds, but the global marketplace is a fickle one and thus reinvention becomes the key to longer term success.

Parts of the United States have already endeavoured to emulate such a path. California and Silicon Valley, in particular, leap to mind. However, such people and places have little if any time for Trump, and nature has probably denied West Virginia and Oklahoma from ever being able to rival, on equal terms, the Golden State.

It is easy to trade slogans, if not goods, during election campaigns, but much harder to dislodge what has developed deep roots.

No doubt the tweets will continue, dreams swirl with the words “you’re fired”, but there is a country, if not a world, to govern, President Trump, and all I ask is that you recall the pledges you made back in January for the sake of those millions who reposed their trust in you.

  • The writer is Principal Lecturer in Law at Coventry Univeristy

Article source: In-Cyprus – Read more..