As obsolete tanks rolled in Washington for the Fourth, and fighter planes howled in adrenal provocation, and the truculent classes reveled, besotted by in America’s eternal martial priapism, the alert might have asked: What, exactly, has der carrot-topped Fuhrer actually accomplished?
A look at Trump’s report card:
North Korea: A negligible country of twenty-five million, it made itself into a nuclear power despite Washington’s opposition. Kim Jong Un, who has more balls than a pool table, faced down Trump and his bluster about fire and fury. Trump’s repeated trips to see this micro-dictaor have given Kim importance in the world that he otherwise would not have.
American sanctions, upheld by Trump, have kept the population of the North miserable while having no effect on Kim’s luxurious way of life. They have accomplished nothing else. Kim has his nukes and would be crazy to give them up, which he isn’t. Net results: Zero.
Iran: Trump’s sanctions have accomplished nothing except to keep the Iranian population miserable and without medicines. His customary rants about destruction and obliteration have had no effect. Net results: Zero.
Venezuela: The Empire has not succeeded in controlling the country’s oil. The elected president remains in charge. Washington’s attempts at coups and assassinations have proved wet squibs. Trump has succeeded in keeping thirty-one million people in a state of privation. It is all he has done. Net result: Zero.
Cuba: He has prolonged the hardships of eleven million Cubans people who have done nothing wrong. But nothing else. Net results: Zero.
Afghanistan: His regime continues butchering large numbers of Afghans and making life unpleasant for most of the rest. This comes after his lying, as Obama did, about ending this very profitable war. Net result: Zero.
Russia: His gratuitous sanctions have coerced Moscow into doing nothing that Trump wants. Instead Trump has pushed Putin, a grown-up, to take Russia out of dollar holdings, trade in local currencies, seek an alternative to SWIFT, and ally with China for protection against Washington. Net result: Strongly negative.
Turkey: Trump’s threats against Ankara for buying the S-400 have failed, with deliveries due to begin this month. Washington presumably thought Trump’s promise of withholding the F-35, an overpriced dog of an aircraft, would frighten Erdogan into submission. It didn’t. Instead, Erdogan has said that if he doesn’t get America’s flying Pentagon subsidy, he may buy the Russian Su-57, in effect taking Turkey out of NATO. Net result: Below zero,.
And actually funny. (Funny because if he doesn’t follow through and deny Ankara the F-35, he will lose face and, if he does withhold the airplane, he will lose Turkey. Brilliant.)
Syria: Trump has managed to kill a great many people and ruin the lives of others for generations while failing to accomplish anything else. Net result: Zero.
Europe: The Continent (actually a peninsula of Asia) has ignored Trump’s bombastic orders to spend more on the military, meaning buy more of America’s expensive weapons, have met with disobedience. with Germany actually lowering its spending. Net results: Zero.
Trump’s further order, that Europe scrap Nordstream Two, thus making Europe dependent on America for energy, has met with disobedience. The pipeline has not been finished, and Europe may yet engage in its traditional boot-licking, but it appears that we will have the pipeline. Probable net result: Zero.
China: Unclear. China shows no signs of submitting and letting Washington run its economy, which is what is desired. It may buy American soybeans. Beijing continues to fortify the South China Sea, despite the US Navy’s frequent GBW missions (Grr. Bow-wow. Woof.) The Belt and Road Initiative grows apace. Net results: Probably far under zero.
Huawei: The company says that it now has fifty-one orders outside of China. Europe is getting on board. Huawei is currently installing 5G in fifteen Spanish cities–presumably Spain because it is not in NATO and thus less subject to American orders. This means that in a few months Spain will have a greatly more advanced telecommunications system than the United States. Go, Donald!
Since Trump has prohibited the use of Huawei equipment in the US, which has no competing 5G, he appears on course to lock America out of the emerging 5G world. Net result: Probably well under zero.
Immigration: In his presidential campaign, Trump promised to deport all illegals within two years. He has not. He would build The Wall. He has not, beyond bits and pieces. He would punish sanctuary cities. He has not. He has succeeded in getting Mexico to slow the transit of Central Americans to the US. Net result: Close to zero.
Jobs: He was going to bring them back to America. He has not. General Motors recently announced the transfer of more jobs to Mexico. Net result: Zero.
And he has pulled America out of the Paris climate-change treaty; the Transpacific Partnership (allowing China to fill the resultant influence vacuum); the Iranian nuclear treaty (entirely for the benefit of Israel, which seems to be his chief concern); UNESCO (because it criticized Israel); the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces treaty, (likely to start another arms race very profitable to military industry but a serious loss for everyone else); NAFTA; UN Human Rights Council, and the UN Relief and Works Agency.
On a less concrete level, he has succeeded in turning the world away from the United States. For example, he treats European countries openly as imperial domains. They are imperial domains, of course, but in the past it has been thought wiser not to make this obvious. He peremptorily tells Europe ban Huawei, block Nordstream, don’t trade with Iran, roll over, bark, beg. He seeks to cripple the economies of China, Russia, Iran, Venezuela, Cuba,and any other country that doesn’t do as he likes.
The world does not change overnight, but it is backing fairly hard away from America. Fewer countries and fewer obey Washington robotically. Even Europeans, frightened little things that they are, seek ways of trading with Iran.
China looks to make itself independent of American tech products, meaning that American firms will be locked out of the Chinese markets. If Trump pushes 1.4 billion increasingly prosperous people to find substitutes for American products, or to manufacture them for themselves, those markets will not come back when Trump leaves.
When the aging tough guy in the local saloon says, “I can whip any man in this bar,” it may be that he still can–barely, since the young bad-asses get bigger while the old fellow gets slower. But when the aging champ says, “I can whip every man in this bar all at once,” it will likely be hair, teeth, and eyeballs on the barroom floor.
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