9/11 has passed into common language as the 9th of November 2001 when terrorists brought down the Twin Towers in New York. But last 9th November, the world witnessed another bombshell: the coming of Donald Trump to the White House.
Everyone round the world was agog, because the polls, all famous newspaper critics, and all top experts had predicted defeat for him. They could not understand how an amateur in politics could have outwitted them. He is good or very good in business, after all he has amassed fortune and become a billionaire, but sending him to the White House was not on the agenda. How could he have done it, when Hillary had scored better in all three TV debates and encounters? But that is USA, the infamous Electoral College is there to dope and twist the democratic process.
All professionals have written about that historical enigma; we amateurs should have kept our distance. But as we read about Trump’s, the amateur politician, future plans, we also become baffled, and come to appreciate the professionals’ utter apprehensions.
The little that we know tells us that there have been nearly seven decades (after the Second World War) of gradual planning, diplomacy, serious negotiations among the big and small countries to build our present world. We thought that that would usher in stability; it was all along a constant cause-and-effect evolution among nations.
But suddenly we witness Donald Trump’s idea of throwing all that to the wind; kill all trade negotiations and treaties with his neighbours: Canada, Mexico and his allies in the Pacific Rim; he even sets his European allies and cousins’ hearts fluttering as he talks of lowering his financial contribution to NATO. He just acts as an ignoramus on world policies and well-established diplomacy. If many industries had left his America for China, it was for pragmatic economic reasons; Mr Trump wants these USA businessmen back home or face heavy entry taxation on their products from abroad. He nominates many of his rich, if not billionaire, cronies to important posts in the cabinet and another businessman as his State Secretary. Is the world turning on its head?
If he were from a poor country, we could fancy all the funny language the first world press would have used to deride that ‘buffoon’ of the third world. They would have had a nice, sarcastic comment and nickname for him. We can even have an inkling that he does resemble our Mugabe who did his best to protect his African countrymen against the connivances of other White settlers, just as Trump wants to protect his people against other nationalities’ ‘greed’. But the only difference is that Mugabe is a pauper, while Trump is a billionaire – one belonging to poor Black Africa and the other to rich USA. If Donald were Indian, then he would have heard about that BJP critic who, decades ago, had that acidic comment to make about Indira Gandhi’s sons: one, Sanjay, was a politician – but he wanted to pilot a plane in a private club; and see what happened – he crashed and died; her other son, Rajiv, did the opposite – he was a commercial plane pilot and joined politics – and see what happened: he was killed. And now we have a businessman who has turned to politics overnight. Will history repeat itself and the world suffer another type of catastrophe?
Surely someone who, against all scientists of the world, does not believe in climate change, who scoffs at the Cuban détente or the Iranian nuclear deal, must reinvent a new world. What, we ask ourselves, could that world be?
Michaele Moore, the cineaste, is outraged that every year 50,000 Americans die because of lack or insufficient health insurance cover! This is happening in the richest country of the world! And Donald Trump wants to undo the Obamacare system, whereby millions of Americans have joined health care insurance.
Reading through press comments, everyone is asking how could we have come to that state of someone so inexperienced in politics being voted to the highest post in the world, having one thumb on the nuclear trigger button? Would we wake up anytime and realize that it is just a dream or nightmare?
Common sense tells us that all heads of states around the world bring in their own changes to previous policies after coming to power. They do so gradually, tackling one problem at a time, while prioritizing them. But here we have someone who wants to upset the whole apple cart at one go, with disregard to well-established political agenda. The liberals across the world are in despair, the goal they have worked for during the past decades, after a lot of sacrifices and hard work, seems to have been nullified. These poor socialists have thought and talked about a global village, but here is Trump, the conservative, telling everyone: Go back to your own village.
If he goes ahead with his pre-electoral promises, then we can talk of a revolution, as serious as the Chinese Cultural revolution of the 1960s, affecting the lives of millions of people across the globe. The Chinese revolution was limited to China. The intellectuals were derided and humiliated. But Trump’s revolution will affect all of us across the world. It will be a new order.
Reading Robert Ludlum’s thrillers, we would suddenly come across that scenario where the author wants to create that devastating feeling, where the hero spy would suddenly realize that his whole life has been a complete lie and chaos. Being American, Trump may be addicted to those catastrophic Hollywood film scenarios and hair-raising thrillers – now he wants to live it for real. Many heads of states and even his own Republican cronies, be they enemies or allies of Trump, would be waking up every morning in a similar suspense-packed limbo world whenever they think of Donald Trump and his irrational, unscientific promises for our world.
But could he be a cunning fox? He has laid his electoral plan well – appealing to the prejudices of some of his conservative countrymen, playing on the emotional, basic instincts of the human psyche — to come to power. Will he be ready to listen to the advice of the think tank surrounding him, or find excuses for going back on all his promises? Could he be right in trying to undo all these highly cynicism, double standards of politicians who, in all parts of the world, enjoy the least trust and confidence of their countrymen and women? We hope so. But his endeavour to rub shoulders with Mr Netanyahu, in spite of UN resolutions against the latter, is giving us doubts; it will be business as usual – or worse.
Dr Rajagopala Soondron