US Elections : What is on Trump’s Card?
Speculation of uncertainity prevails over the US
The odyssey from being candidate Donald Trump to President elect Trump is not an inconsequential one and it is definitely not about fear and unrelenting hatred. The sepia tinged spectacular figment is more than well pronounced in the grandiose, red and blue sparkle events, backdrops and the grandiloquent speeches which audiences worldwide tend to witness throughout the panning out of the quintessentially American event which the US Presidential elections are. It’s tantamount to the race which the watchman-horseman ran near the precariously placed Potomoc and the towns such as Lexington and Medford stationed beside the historic river. A stereotypical Presidential candidate has to run the whole hog taking all the discrepancies, posing partisanship and virulent divergences in one’s stride. Past political experience and expedient work-ex seemingly, did not work up enough enthusiasm for her in the run up to Super Tuesday especially in her Firewall states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Colorado, etc. Is it the “America First fullisade” along with a protectionist tilt of Trump’s economics which did Hillary, the establishment candidate, in? The entire agenda which President elect, as I write, was harping on the age-old and quintessential American fear of the “unknown and the other” which nations in South Asia too tend to accentuate. The Star Trek theme, track, too resoundingly ends with the verbiage that, “Where no man has gone before”. Thus, the Civilisational thrust against the unexplored and unfathomed “Other” was the prime element of the Trump campaign. In the light of his heady tirade against Islamic Fundamentalism and the terror dragnet, the “Fear” element ought not be equated as the primeval factor
serving as the never ending fuel to the campaign engine of Donald Trump. The rise of ISIS and the post Vienna fracas of confusion with the Russian, Iranian, Saudi Arabian and Turkic lines soured the pitch for the Obama Presidency as Syria, the rise of ISIS and the avalanche of misery of Refugees across West Asia was ably and naturally ‘inked’ by candidate Trump as the dark night of American foreign policy in West Asia. It is an intentional and conspiratorial over-simplification, which, has downed the drone of rationality amidst the entire Mediascape. The traditional third worldian trend of positing United States and its open ended Politics as being mired in fear, violence and oppression of the marginalised tends to momentarily take away the sheen off the American Experiment as the nation began its journey in the aftermath of the new world’s own Revolution. Thus, if perceived in a mature and an objective manner, the American strain of talking about deporting undocumented aliens which number somewhere around 11 million people along with preparing for building a wall across the states of Mexico and Texas served up enough grist for the critics mill, to begin with. Nobody was permitted to perceive, the Trump’s persona as being trustworthy and with a sharp shooter’s eye for sane and mature foreign policy decisions. As events panned out, Hillary’s gaffe with the e-mail scandal and the morality baggage of Bill Clinton did damage to her electoral fortunes. On the other hand, her espousal of her, “Asian Pivot” theme as part of Washington’s Look East Policy, was picked up diligently by the Bannon and team, (Trump’s campaign team) and her gaffes in West Asia were targeted amicably by them. These strivings did not let Trump’s chances to completely dissipate out. Team Trump did succeed in developing a myth of an established privileged halo around Hillary whose, “ease and comfort of talk with the Corporate America” was pointed out poignantly by the Trump juggernaut which took the sheen away from the “Change module of Michelle Obama” and the straight from heart verbiage of Bernie Sander’s the other Democrat contender during the Primaries.
Those folks who don’t know about the halo and the functionality of the American Dream reverberate with folksy diatribes against the American Republic. The hallowed portals of any nation state are populated by its chirpy and diligent denizens all making the ordinary moments and skits of life into symbolic and larger-than-life going by the innate homestead nature of the acts. The wonder years in any American generation reflect a genuine civil societal urge to be egalitarian and just. It is here that the sustenance of the American myth of power and pelf gets its nutrition from, from an
inclusive matrix of leading lives and racing ahead on an “otherwise much beaten track”. This enunciation does not amount to a conspiratorial glorification of what United States does and what the nation is all about. Since the global recession and much before that, United States had begun to take in the Global brickbats because of its interventions abroad which can be dexterously labeled as anything from an, “Overarch to a humanitarian intervention”. Iraq and Afghanistan policies had backfired and the time to reach out for a protection against the Boomrang had been sadly reached. The Frankenstein had struck back. Apart from it, the productivity issues of immigrant labour force, the role of Hispanics, Puerto Ricans and the Mexicans in nation building and the iota of illegality attached to their illegitimate existence, were other stupefying orbs creating a miasma out of an “America First re-invention”. This earmarked a Revisiting of the Grandiloquent American Dream where the culture of mayhem and teenage mutating into gun-law –violators, had brought worried creases on the brow of the American establishment.
The darker and the murkier credentials of the march of the times in any nation has always bedeviled the global and humanist prospects of any nation state such as Pakistan’s sinister designs in perpetuity. United States of America with its eternal ebullience and its umpteen ‘march-aheads’ of the International times and the Oregon trail of events, too, boasts of the geva colored but multi-colored dream of the picket fenced homeland. Be it the American Dream as expostulated by the American founding fathers or the sepia tinged lore and appeal of the Tele-serial, Wonder years, the aura of the bright invincibility with a nation on an entrepreneurial move, marks the kink and effervescent verve about America. The lore of Superheroes characterised by the icons of the order of blue blur of Superman, the Benthamite Batman and, a scurrying-around-for-cover Spiderman, too,
outlines a few super hero outliers, who, have been keenly ordained as the hallmarks and the novae symbols
of the grandiloquent American civilisation, the Dream and, all, that is there to cheer about the indubitable land of milk and honey. The Dream needs to be bright, chirpy and eye catching with a profusion of bright colors akin to the narrative of Archie’s in Riverdale with a beatific sparkle of youthful verve and not the murky broodiness of films such as, Superman Vs Batman.
Democracy or no Democracy, the comic book but sanely mature verve of the clime, environ and the comic
characters earmarks more accurately what America stands for and what US reflects. In the same context, the
colorful visage of Smallville, where the adolescent Superboy, running besides running trains, matures into the fidgety Clark Kent who swirls around in his tuxedo and metamorphoses into the man of steel in a philanthropic jiffy. All this American Jazz, reaches a
crescendo, when, chirpy baby boomer moms dragging along their Kindergarten kids to Nursery Schools, are made to divert their attention. The children dragging at her coveralls, shout out aloud in sheer excitement, “It’s a bird, it’s a plane, It’s a blue streak.” The happy-go-lucky Uncle Cop, leaning beside his jaguar, quips satisfactorily while chewing his regular gum,” No, Sunny Doll, it’s Superman.” The multi-colored insignia of “S” embalmed on the super heroes’ muscular chest, reflects the traditional tribal totem signifying hope and the “all is well” zeitgeist of the star trooper from Krypton. He is definitively akin to a society-night watchmen, sans, the clank of the wooden stick on the lamp-post. It is this Super cop visage which the Donald Trump surprisingly meant to get rid of. His agenda pinpointed the Vietnam like overkill of the American interventions and the need of the hour was to cleanse the domestic deficits of the order of unbridled unemployment, the productivity stats of the immigrants, the state of homeland security in the light of the internal security disturbances in the nation and the dwindling sparkle and sheen of the infrastructure, railroad and highways in the American homeland. The rise of the “Asian Space” through the material and economic progress of the nations such as China, South Korea, Japan, Philippines, Indonesia, India, Malaysia, Singapore and Hongkong brought the Western technological upbraiding and transactions to a jerky halt as worn out Highways, rickety drawbridges and damaged escalators at Rail stations warranted immediate attention of upkeep.
Thus, the myth and the lore of the super hero character, Superman, in this scenario being President elect Trump, reflects both the xenophobia which the nations suffer from and also the goodness of a Do-Gooder, Good Samaritan, bleeding heart and benign benefactor role model with an aggressive intent to reform. The Super being is not an unsavory intruder who destroys the Metropolis with alien vendettas unknown to mankind. Trump has triumphed not to create mayhem but to counter the forces of terror and oblivion as is explained in his counter terror policy which was wrongly portrayed by some media outlets as being predatory and less aggressive than candidate Hillary. But, Trump perceives India as the land of opportunity and as a nation which is seemingly emerging out of a long imposed geo-economic slumber.
It is his brash honesty which rears support among the Indian Diaspora. South Asia used to a mere blip on the radar screen of the US State Department till the first term of President Bill Clinton. US traditionally treats the Islamic Republic of Pakistan as a “Frontline State” in its strivings to contain the Taliban, Al-Qaeda and now the ISIS in Pakistan. Pakistan is resoundingly hurtling towards
becoming a “failed state” and US needs to keep in view Indian concerns about the Mumbai terror attack misgivings. President Trump will revolutionise America’s Pakistan policy if Capitol Hill completely stymies financial,
technological and weapons aid to Islamabad. The Russian support sought by Washington might in itself pinpoint about the unorthodox and novae Pakistan policy which the President elect might unfurl with an expectant New Delhi. Still, the
strategic and diplomatic need of Islamabad as an apparent neutral
interlocutor cannot be ruled out in the age worn regional game of Good and Bad Taliban. No West Asian nation or a station in Doha, Qatar can be as impactful as the interlocutory role of Pakistan by one reading of the stagey South Asian scenario. India needs to impinge upon the State Deptt. The domestic essentiality that containing the errant behavior of Islamabad needs to be the crux of the American policy in South Asia akin to the belligerence and aggression of, “ Boots-on-Grounds” unleashed by Pentagon on the “ most dangerous place in the world, Af-Pak” and the Mesopotamian wastes of Iraq. Trump in his hour of Triumph ought to facilitate a just playing ground in South Asia with the Chinese manufacturing and monetary might, too, walloping away the Indian benevolence in the micro dependencies of the nation. Despite the counter terror consonance with Trump, might be hobbled by the limitations of the establishment and the age old veneer of a national interest oriented policy of Washington. Still, a vignette out of the Book, Ghost wars can be cited over here which describes as part of an insidious narrative the Pakistani’s profligacy of escorting CIA operatives to fake and non existential anti-Taliban terror training camps to vouch for the fact that ISI and Rawalpindi dutifully spend the American money on spawing terror in South Asia. A “Change” in warranted in Trump’s Foreign Policy vis-a-vis Pakistan and larger South Asia but it has to be something of a policy prescription which does not reward the terror mongering state receptacles such as Pakistan and the stiffly-abled PRC which has a history of mollifying and abating Naxalite insurgency in the Indian Union.
In line with the Isolation list focus of Trump’s European policy, German Chancellor Merkel’s utterance of
keeping an “ Open mind” towards Trump does not make her a true blue leader of the Free world as some of the Fourth Estate are rushing on to forecast her as. Trump has already singled out even traditional American allies such as European and Asian nations and International Organisations to fend for themselves in the “novae” withdrawing of the American aid’s drawbridge. NATO’s chief, Stoltenberg, has quickly sent a congratulatory missive to the President elect but that may not be enough to prevent Trump from reducing succor to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. In the light of the European quagmire of assisting refugees from the Syrian waterfront, Trump has already admonished the philanthropic European nation state actors which have granted refuge to the trans- coastline boatpeople and the East European trekkers. In the same trail of thought, Islamabad might suffer in the aid fulcrum of Washington with an expected augmentation in the PRC-Pakistan ties and its dependency reflected by the Pak-China economic corridor which too might come under duress in the light of the new found verve of Modi Government to strike at will across borders. It is the new found gospel of “telling and functional bilaterals” between India and United States which might dictate the President Elect’s partisanship vis-a-vis an expectant Indian Union with
the Indian stress on the need to institutionalise a Global terror combating IO since May 2014, which can be made to gel with the Trump’s filial agenda of countering terror and its unrepentant sponsors. Can Pakistan be questioned as part of a Withdrawing Giant’s revamping, is the all pertinent question, which remains to be answered?
(The writer is Author and Political Analyst)