Easternisation replaces Westernisation as the world order!

Dhaka,  Sun,  24 September 2017
Published : 05 Aug 2017, 20:18:01
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Easternisation replaces Westernisation as the world order!

M. Serajul Islam
US diplomats serving in the developing countries in the pre-Trump period were often condescending and snooty with governments and governance in their host countries because they considered that the system of governance led by their president based on the rule of law and democratic institutions to be intrinsically superior. In fact, American diplomats and government officials often openly ridiculed the governments in the developing countries because of the arbitrary ways their respective heads of state/government behaved by comparison with their president. It would be interesting to find out what these diplomats are thinking these days with the way their president is behaving and leading the US Government.  

A major ridicule the US diplomats used to make was about sycophancy where government officials in the developing countries treated their prime ministers or presidents like royalty of the days past. In an event at the White House recently that was televised where President Donald Trump was meeting with all the members of his cabinet, each and every one present was given the chance to speak. They did and each one ashamedly described the president in terms that made the millions that watched wonder how these cabinet-ranking members of the US Government went home that evening and faced their wives and children after such shameless sycophancy! It made the biggest of modern-day dictators like, for instance, Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe, or Russia's Vladimir Putin or even the North Korean who demand unadulterated sycophancy from those around them, look like amateurs.

President Donald Trump is finally showing to Americans what he meant by the world of alternative facts. The world has now taken shape and it is putting every right thinking Americans to shame. It is the world where President Donald Trump is himself claiming and his hardcore sycophantic supporters cheering that there has never been in the United States a president more successful and loved by the people than him. He blames the "fake" media as his major election promises are failing one after another as if these failures have not even occurred!

The Republicans had never been as motivated against anything a Democratic President had done as they had been for the last seven years with the healthcare policy that President Obama had enacted as the law known as Obamacare. The Republicans in the Congress and Donald Trump as the candidate for the presidential election had vowed that the moment they had the chance, they would make Obamacare history and in its place, enact their own healthcare policy. Thus since assuming power in January, President Donald Trump and the Republicans in Congress did everything possible to repeal Obamacare and introduce a new healthcare policy in its place.

They tried first with a proposal that the Republican majority in the House passed that the President hailed as the best healthcare bill ever proposed without even reading a line of it.  The Republican-dominated Senate dismissed it summarily. Thereafter, urged, cajoled and threatened by the President, they tried three bills, the last one a scaled-down "skinny" repeal of Obamacare and failed thus leaving Obamacare to remain the official healthcare policy of the Trump administration. And the failure of repealing Obamacare and saving US$ 726 billion from the Medicaid component of Obamacare, President Trump's other big election promise of tax reform is looking likely to be still-born. Those US$ 726 billion was supposed to be the heart of the proposed tax reform that would have given tax breaks to the rich to encourage them to invest further for economic growth.

And in the midst of these major failures, President Trump and his close family members and White House officials are facing a Special Prosecutor, former FBI Director Bob Mueller, for Russia's involvement in their favour in the presidential election. The Special Prosecutor's investigation has all sorts of dangerous possibilities, including the President's impeachment and jail terms for his family members and White House officials both serving and fired.

A number of key White House officials have come and gone - the last one, Communications Director Anthony Scaramuchi lasted just 10 days. The president brought the four-star general John Kelly as Chief of Staff, a move that clearly underlined that the White House needed military discipline to restore the utter and total disarray there. Many suspect that there would be none of that discipline because the President himself is at the root of the dysfunctional nature of the Trump White House.

The President's family is adding to the dysfunctional nature of the White House. The US Presidency is no royalty but the Trump family members, particularly his daughter, his younger son and son-in-law, are acting as would PrinceMohammad Bin Salman of Saudi Arabia who at least has the nomenclature of Crown Prince to use his father's influence in government. And none of these family members have any basic knowledge about how a modern-day government works. Encouraged by the president, they believe that anyone who succeeds in business needs no knowledge or experience of running a government for to a successful businessman, running a government or a part of it is child's play.That claim of being successful in business however is suspect in case of the President and his family. The President has had to seek protection under Chapter 11 a number of times because his businesses had failed. And for the son-in-law, the father, whose business he inherited, had spent time in jail for business malpractices.

If messing up the administration like no president in recent memory has not been bad enough for Trump, his preference to run the government by tweets mainly is beginning to unravel grave dangers for not just the administration but also for the country. In his twisted love affair with Tweeter to pass instructions to his administration, he is more often than not contradicting his own and his government's positions on key domestic and foreign policy issues. Further, it is well-nigh impossible that within the 300 characters that Tweeter permits for each post, anyone would be able to pass decisions of a government that happens to be the most powerful in the world.

Thus, it is not failure to implement key election promises that is haunting the Trump presidency. The White House is working under dark and threatening clouds of legal action because of the eerie ways of the President. Almost all the key officials in the White House, including the President, have employed private legal counsels to protect themselves from possible conflicts with the law something that has never happened in US history. True Trump has rolled back a great deal of regulations of the Obama era to the delight of the business sector that would help the rich of the country. A great deal of the regulations rolled back have been made in the areas of the environment, women's health, education and in assuring better quality of life for the disadvantaged and the not so rich people of the country.

President Trump's slogan was "make America great again." No one cared to tell him that until he became the President, America was unquestionably the number one world economic and military power. His statement would have been logical if he had said that his presidency would keep America great with China and Russia breathing down its neck. The eerie nature of the Trump administration has been heaven sent for both Russia and China. Russia was focused on succeeding the USSR as the other Super Power of the World. And China's efforts are to gain the number one spot of the world both economically and militarily; it was the USA that it had to beat for that top spot. With the USA now in the hands of President Trump, China now feels that in the US president it has an ally not an antagonist.

Thus, a new phrase is fast gaining prominence in international politics in the Trump era. In place of Westernisation, it is now Easternisation that is gaining ground with China as the focus that seems to be the outcome of President Trump's misguided and surreal ways of making America great again. In reality, if President Trump lasts this term and gets a second one, America would be on course for dividing the Western alliance and alleviating China and Russia to stronger positions than they were before he assumed power.

The writer is a former Ambassador.  

serajul7@gmail.com

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