Is he on the right track and doing the proper thing for his country which he promised to “make great again”? Should that be correct, then the world we have known so far is on a new bend. The beginning of the end of an era?
First, he creates chaos and wreaks havoc on the established order of things, be it in the economic, political, cultural or human domains. Then he pumps his chest out and slurps back in the saliva expelled in spitting out the venom he aims at friends and foes alike! Suddenly, the world’s trajectory, hitherto more or less predictable, is thrown in disarray to the extent that even the most learned pundits of political science and international relations are wary to foretell what the international scene would possibly look like not in the next century or beyond, but in the near future.
In more normal and accommodating times, one could have described him as a maverick, unbranded as he is, but that would be conferring upon him an honour that he does not deserve. At best, he could be likened to an aggressive elephant let loose in a China shop.
The guy must surely be made of a rare kind of mettle. Any other person with so much authority and such consequential national and international responsibilities would surely think more than twice and would listen to expert advice from the array of specialists at his disposal before venturing in on any issue of importance. What he construes as very bold policy is merely illusionary which, no sooner announced, is almost immediately subject to a justifiable outcry and evidence-based criticism. And before his outrageous utterances evaporate into thin air and the ink on his decrees goes dry, he makes a complete u-turn. Fortunately, we no longer live in a febrile world shrouded in suspicion, easily resorting to guns to settle matters.
Whenever one hears him, in his pompous self, pontificating at various fora or within his own temporary premises, one cannot help but see a certain gun-slinging scene of the far-west unfolding in one’s imagination. His official trips abroad practically always end up in near awkward and embarrassing situations when they are not simply overbearing, short of being flippant. A recent clip of his Windsor Castle trip in the presence of Queen Elizabeth demonstrates his utter disregard for Protocol and etiquette. The viewers were aghast in front of a behaviour verging on uncouthness. Front stepping the monarch, he gave the impression that he was oblivious of the latter’s presence while inspecting the guard of honour!
The staunchest of his country’s allies have been qualified as foes. He needs no expert twist of language to make his entourage feel embarrassed. He does not hesitate to be judgemental, irrespective of the circumstance, offering unsolicited brash advice to his fellow peers to the point of being abrasive. He does not even spare his own institutions whose conclusions, based on hard facts, he brushes aside in favour of a potentially unfriendly foreign rival leader.
Indeed, he has mastered the art of blowing hot and cold in the same breath! He is apt to shower superlative praise on anybody after having publicly belittled the person. The Prime Minister of the UK has experienced this unabashed behaviour from the man. In the past two years, by the sheer power of his acts and the tapestry of lies that he thrives so much on but in which he probably genuinely believes, he has managed to send practically all political observers in a state of absolute confusion. He has shown a propensity to throw those who have been closest to him out on the pavement without batting an eyelid. And, of course, he probably holds the record in terms of resignations.
He has no concern for the stress and distress he causes around him among families he tears apart with his policies. Nor does he care for the untoward repercussions his own version of the Great Wall along his country’s border might have, a wall he is bent on erecting to quell the inflow of migrants from across his border with a neighbouring country. Yet, his own mother was an immigrant.
The trade war he has unleashed has already upset the established order though, in one instance, he has, yet again, backtracked, at least for the time being. Protectionism seems to be his preferred course of action in total disregard of the laid down international rules. He has no time for procedures, least of all in the diplomatic field. Despite the seeming lowering of tension in the Korean Peninsula, he has managed to alienate the international community over his brash action of shifting his country’s representation to Jerusalem. Similarly, his stand-alone action to withdraw from the Paris Climate Change Agreement and the Iran Nuclear deal are simply incomprehensible, even to the most indulgent mind.
While the above is by no means an exhaustive list of his actions that are turning the world topsy-turvy, one has to acknowledge that the ratings in his own camp have not faltered and his country’s economy has been posting some rather positive results. So, is it that he is on the right track and doing the proper thing for his country which he promised to “make great again”? Should that be correct, then the world we have known so far is on a new bend. The beginning of the end of an era? No one can, with any degree of certainty, predict an outcome.
So, walking disaster or enlightened leader?
This is not a ‘question pour un champion’ and therefore, sorry, no prize for identifying the character!
* Published in print edition on 10 August 2018