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Repairing the ruinous era created by Trump

29th Jan 2021
Repairing the ruinous era created by Trump

(Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/WikiCommons)

Donald Trump left the world stage in much the same way as when he appeared amid an apocalyptic vision of an ‘American carnage’, a phrase he frequently used to conjure a dark vision of a country deeply divided. The entertainment mogul’s inaugural address four years ago was a grandiose bluster of populist, anti-establishment messages dismissive of facts, from a man who relied on social media at the expense of disparaging traditional media. His departing legacy earned him the distinction of becoming the first American president in history to be twice impeached.

His final public acts as outgoing president underlined how much of a threat he could be. After repeatedly refusing to accept his defeat in the elections, Trump incited violent MAGA mobs to storm the US Congress in the most abiding image.

Trump’s presidency was signed off with a long list of clemency pardons for numerous corruption-convicted former allies and fundraisers, including his former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, facing fraud charges.
He has shown little interest in governing throughout his term; instead, he concentrated on building a faux patriotism often undermined by his words and actions.

He coddled dictators, far-right leaders, tore up plans to avert climate disaster, scuppered the international deal on Iran’s nuclear programme and created a particular hostility towards Muslims in a background of racist policies. Relinquishing power, his legacy, in every sense, is one of destruction, leaving behind a country reeling from the devastating effects of his misrule. He fed and exacerbated deepening divisions and gross inequalities so long neglected.

On foreign policy, Trump went much further than any of his predecessors ever dared to go. He supported the supremacy of Israel’s usurpation of Palestine and other Arab lands. Not only was his snap decision to hand over Syria’s Golan Heights that were illegally occupied by Israel for 52 years, but his tearing up of all international conventions by moving the US embassy to Jerusalem and backing the holy city to be the capital of Israel, contrary to its special status. Elsewhere in the Middle East, Trump unilaterally withdrew from the Iran nuclear pact, so painfully negotiated by his predecessors.

Biden signed a series of executive orders in his first days in office, attempting to roll back the damage done at home and abroad, but faces a mammoth task in healing the divisions. More than anything, the game show presenter brought the level of the US down from the most powerful country in the world to a virtual banana republic, a feat which many fear Boris Johnson is doing in the UK.

With Capitol Hill turned almost into another Tiananmen Square, there are all the implications it holds for the self-proclaimed leader of the free world. Much of his term was turned into typical grandiose bluster from a man who disparaged the media and dismissed facts as fake news.

Apart from returning the US to the Paris climate accords and reviving the Iran nuclear deal, his successor has much else to do in the Middle East in reversing the stray policy decision to restore an equitable balance to Israel’s victims of aggression.

At home, Biden repealed Trump’s travel ban against some Muslim-majority countries, restrict evictions and foreclosures under the Covid-19 pandemic. It will take years to not only repair but to improve America’s image on the world stage. Even more difficult is the healing of the country’s racist divisions.

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