Donald Trump has not made the United States less safe and he has not made the United States less wealthy. The fact is that under Trump there have not been any international terrorist incidents on US soil. Simultaneous to this, while the US economy has since 1971 been dangerously predicated on the pursuit of a fiat currency, within the confines of this terrible system, Trump has fared far better than his recent predecessors. Therefore, if one is an American, it is difficult to argue that specific policies of Donald Trump have made one’s life worse. For many, his policies have in fact made life better.
For those in Korea, Trump has made life better too. Decades of tensions have metamorphosed into a new period of de-escalation that has had a positive impact not only on Koreans but on other countries in the region.
For China, Trump has been both a blessing and a curse. Far from inventing a specifically anti-China policy, Trump merely accelerated the policies that many in Washington (from both parties) had sought to inflict on China for many years if not decades. This has if anything made it clear to Chinese that they ought to become more technologically and monetarily self-sufficient in an age when any US president could decide to engage in hostility rather than cooperation with China. China should have and in many ways did learn this after June of 1989, but if anything Trump has shook some naive people out of a state of complacency on these issues. As such, Trump should ironically be thanked by the most patriotic Chinese for making it clear that win-win cooperation is different than potentially lose-lose interdependence.
Furthermore, because of Trump’s background in business, his weapons of choice when fighting a perceived rival are sanctions, tariffs and non-tariff barriers to trade. With Trump, there is mercifully little said about taking military action due to the so-called “human rights abuses” in foreign states. Trump strikes one as a ‘live and let live’ sort of person except when money is involved. This does not make Trump ideal from the Chinese position but he does in fact represent a welcome departure from those seeking to inflict damage on China due to China’s sovereign internal social developments.
Likewise, unlike those in the west who believe they have some sadistic and ultimately racist “mission” to change the internal situation in countries like China, Trump is someone who genuinely respects China for jetting ahead of the US in many sectors and likewise, due to his good personal relationship with Xi Jinping, there is still a chance that some sort of trade deal can be struck on a win-win basis in due course.
In the Middle East, Trump has crucially failed to start a new war and in respect of Syria, Trump even has attempted to wind down a conflict started by Barack Obama. In respect of Israel-Palestine, Trump has been all talk and little action. While Trump’s pro-Israel rhetoric is more stark than that of his very pro-Israel predecessors, one has to be objective and understand that Bill Clinton was far worse to Palestine than Trump ever was.
Clinton forced Palestine to sign the crippling Oslo Accords which have resulted in a blood-soaked political quagmire ever since. Trump merely moved the location of the US embassy to Israel from one city to another – something that unlike what Clinton did was symbolic rather than materially earth shattering.
Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan and India
In respect of Afghanistan, Trump has expressed a willingness to extricate America from this disaster zone and that can only be a good thing. In terms of US policy towards Iran, Pakistan and India – Trump has merely accelerated the inevitable. Since the dawn of the 21st century, the US has taken advantage of Pakistan in an undeniable way and after 2011, tensions between the former “partners” have continued to boil below the surface.
Unlike Iran which can ultimately be contained due to the fact that it has few state allies in the region or wider world (even though it has many non-state allies in places like Syria and Lebanon), Pakistan as a more traditionally open economic and society (certainly since 1979) is more directly vulnerable to foreign meddling.
If indeed Pakistan falls under Iran style sanctions due to concocted conspiracy theories about its security situation, no one should be surprised. Foreign powers including India, the USSR, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan (in spite of its frequent states as a failed state) and now the United States have been keen to break Pakistan up into at least 5 different parts in order to remove the country as a major nuclear power in south Asia.
This began with the failure of the world to help and push for the UN mandated self-determination plebiscite in Kashmir and was made all the more clear in the 1971 war which turned East Pakistan into a separate state.
Today, the process continues. It matters not which major power seeks Pakistan’s destruction. The fact of the matter is that at various times, all major regional and world powers (except for China) have desired Pakistan’s destruction. Today, the US has merely superseded the USSR as the superpower working with India and elements in Afghanistan to destroy Pakistan. Iran is therefore in far less danger than Pakistan in the long term but Trump has had little directly to do with these policies. They date back to the middle of the 20th century when Trump was a child.
For south east Asia, Trump’s associates have often deployed harsh rhetoric but in reality, America provocations among ASEAN nations have if anything become more mild since the Obama era. Trump has not stopped Vietnam nor Thailand from increasing their economic connectivity with China. Beyond this, the US ultimately found that the recent crisis in Myanmar’s Rakhine state was not something worth exploiting in the name of regional regime change activities. Finally, in spite of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte being the most pro-multipolar/non-aligned leader in modern Philippine history, Trump considers himself an admirer of Duterte and Trump has likewise ignored the many voices in Washington who seek to overthrow Duterte.
Russia and Turkey
As for Russia, Trump has more or less allowed relations to enter a sustained period of stalemate. There is even a chance that in his likely second term, Russia-US relations will improve (however slightly) if for no other reason than the fact that Washington seeks to seduce pro-western Russian oligarchs into the American economic war against China. More importantly while Russia and the US appear to agree on little, both are steadfast allies of Israel and this could help both sides to effectively carve out regions of influence in the Middle East – so long as Israel is favoured in both.
Whilst relations between the US and Turkey continue to decline ever since Obama passively facilitated the 2016 coup against the Turkish government, Trump has recently demonstrated that unlike many of his colleagues, his personal views on Turkey are far more practical and moderate than others – especially those in the Democratic party that has traditionally failed to value Turkey’s steadfast partnership with Washington over the decades.
In terms of Latin America, the flagship projects to foment regime change in Venezuela has stalled and this is not because the US cannot easily win a “shock and awe” style war against the country. Clearly, in the age of Trump, the US does not want to invest in such destructive wars and instead opted for a cut-price coup that has embarrassingly fizzled out.
When it comes to Canada and Mexico, Trump’s hardline trade policies remain popular with working class Americans and in terms of security from drugs and gangsterism, his policies regarding Mexican border security have proved popular among millions of people in borderland regions.
When it comes to Europe, Trump is expressing the feelings that millions of Americans have for so-called allies who refuse to pay their bills to Washington (for NATO specifically), but still expect preferential treatment when it comes to trade. Here, Trump is doing something that many wish that his predecessors had done.
When it comes to Brexit, Trump has proved that in many ways, he is a better leader of Britain than Britain’s actual leaders.
Therefore, when taking his record on the whole, Trump’s unique qualities have led to policy improvements over his predecessors whilst in other areas, his biggest fault is that he has failed to change a likely unchangeable status quo.