23 March 2018
By: Karsten Riise
One year into his term, the world must prepare itself for the fact that President Trump seems to get on with what he wants to do. Prepare for a profound change in the structure of the world.
With his replacement of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and National Security Advisor McMaster, President Trump seems to be lining up for some big moves on his national and international agenda:
1. A showdown with Iran, N.Korea – and in the end, China !
2. A final Palestinian “solution” together with Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, which will be 110% according to the deepest wishes of the current Prime Minister of Israel.
President Trump’s steel tariffs may end up by being insignificant tariffs for two US allies, Canada (actually the biggest foreign steel supplier to the USA) and the EU. Hence, only China may be really affected by the tariffs. This pattern may also apply, if Trump chooses to ‘blow-up’ the whole World Trade Organization (WTO): President Trump can replace the WTO with bilateral and regional US agreements with Canada, the EU and other traditional US partners in such a way, that ‘incidentally’ only China will be kept out. President Trump’s trade policy towards China may be thoroughly calculated: More production of products in China for the USA will be relocated back into the USA. President Trump probably also calculates, that US high-tech exports to China may not be greatly affected by the foreseeable Chinese trade-retaliation, as these high-tech supplies will still be strategically important for China. Curbing China’s growth by means of a trade-war can also affect China’s economic capability to build up the military – a military rightly or wrongly designated by many in the USA as a serious competitor for world domination. A trade-showdown with China may therefore look very promising to President Trump – and to his new National Security Advisor John Bolton.
Ex Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and ex-National Security Advisor McMaster were both standing in the way of President Trump’s visions, including his plan to divide the Middle East with Israel and Saudi Arabia. A policy, for which President Trump has designated Jared Kushner as informal but plenipotentiary envoy, and Jared Kushner has successfully obtained the closest possible confidence with the leaderships of Israel and Saudi Arabia. Rex Tillerson’s diplomacy was actively undermining this, by trying to soften Saudi Arabia’s blockade of Qatar. And McMaster was also undermining President Trump’s Middle East policies, by denying Trump’s special envoy Jared Kushner the necessary top-secret security clearance to do this job. Now Tillerson and McMaster a both out of the way, and a strong signal has been sent to everyone not to repeat Tillerson and McMaster’s political mistakes of not following President Trump’s intentions closely.
Surprisingly, with a possible top-level meeting with N.Korea, President Trump may even on this issue have at least a slight chance to achieve something his way. Clearly, the dynamics of US-China relations are key to this. Though talking ‘fire-and-fury’, President Trump has even still managed so-far not to start any new US war, a ‘feat’ which stands in stark contrast to some of President Trump’s more big-media applauded predecessors, or even in contrast to his once opposing presidential candidate.
You may (even strongly) like or dislike the policies, President Trump pursues. With the appointment of a former torturer-in chief to lead the CIA, you may probably strongly disapprove of some of the means he is willing to apply. Many American presidents have pursued policies not approved by large segments of the American people. You may also have your own ‘mainstream-private’ and politically ‘correct’ gender views about President Trump’s private life, though these opinions are mostly colored by political sympathies and by outright ‘liberal’ and conservative bigotry - and females seeking fame and money through litigation against wealthy and disputed male individuals is an ordinary phenomenon, and not automatically sympathy-inspiring.
All this does not touch on the fact, that one year into his term, the world must prepare itself for the fact that President Trump seems to get on with his idea of ‘putting America first’. This will profoundly change the structure of the world. ‘Putting America first’ may sound akin to ‘global leadership’, but it is in fact antithetical to the outlasted idea of ‘US global leadership’. In fact, ‘putting America first’ this way may result in something, I have seen for long, namely a thorough unwinding of the US global empire and a world more fragmented into regions and criss-cross relations.
Partner & Editor
CHANGE NEWS &