The Trump Era began last Friday the 20th of January, with a nationalistic, protectionist, agitated speech given by Donald (most likely written by Putin’s team). How are we supposed to feel about Trump becoming the most powerful man on earth (after Putin, obviously)? Until Friday the answer to this question was uncertain. Today, we have sort of an idea, but first, let me tell you a story.
About a couple of weeks ago I visited the Memory and Tolerance Museum, in the heart of Mexico City. This museum presents the Jewish genocide under the Nazi regime during World War II. It chronologically informs the visitor the series of events that unfolded into one of the rawest and most violent periods in human modern history: the concentration camps, part of the final solution. Six million Jewish men, women, and children were killed during the Holocaust—two-thirds of the Jews living in Europe before World War II.
The museum also includes a recap of the genocides perpetrated in Rwanda, Armenia, Yugoslavia, Guatemala, Camboya and Darfur. According to the official museum’s website, rescuing memories and data is fundamental for a call against violence. “Never again” (“Nunca más”) can be read in the walls of its rooms, as a call to action. Its premise states that the study and comprehension of genocides like the ones showed is the starting point to develop strategies that will prevent things like the “final solution” to happen ever again.
“Walking through the horrors of the past is a way to praise the memory of its victims, but also a way to prevent their suffering from being forgotten and that similar episodes hurt human kind again. Look back to learn, learn to never repeat again”.
Why am I talking about genocide, history and dictatorial regimes when referring to Trump? Because of his speech, the regurgitation of threats thrown at anybody willing to question his stamina as national leader (or the number of people who attended his Inauguration). His words reminded me of those praised by authoritarian tyrants from our recent past. Now, as president of the USA, his executive orders are coming out of the White House one after the other, which set the path to a potential suppression of liberties and rights for the American people, as well as the cracking of an international diplomacy that has been carefully built for decades since the creation of the United Nations.
Trump combines an authoritarian political communication strategy that emulates that of the Ministry of Truth (G Orwell, 1984) , Goebbels propaganda (based on the ‘creation’ of foreign enemies, that derived into a xenophobe national sentiment) and the Monroe Doctrine (“America for the Americans”, justification for the American intervention in developing countries). Him and his team lie, profusely, without hesitation, deliberately, blatantly about anything. Well, they don’t lie, they present “alternative facts”. Why do they lie?
As Bloomberg’s article written by Tyler Cowen, Trump’s team lie as a sort of loyalty test: “the leader wishes to mislead the public, and wants to have subordinates doing so, in part because many citizens won’t pursue fact-checking. But that’s the obvious explanation, and the truth runs much deeper” the article reads.
Nationalism as the core of your rhetoric is applauded when coming from developing countries’ leaders willing to fight back globalization and neo-liberalism. Nationalism isn’t a good sign coming from a Great Power like the US (Russia, USA, Japan and China considered the four great powers in the current international arena). Nationalism leads to protectionism, which leads to economic sanctions, then to anger, finally, to the dark side.
Trump’s first steps are focused on closing economic borders, bully the private sector, discredit the media and, surrounded by white
supremacists men, make “America Great Again”, no matter what.
There are still many things Trump has up his sleeve, things that the American Congress will not be able to stop. China seems to be his main concern, and collaborating with Russia appears (as indoctrinated by the Kremlin) to be the only way to fight back Xi Jinping’s position in Asia, where China has the geopolitical balance in its favor. The not-so-dormant dragon has shown little patience to Trump’s not so tacit disobedience of the “One China” policy, and looks ready to fight back (at least on free trade) the American bully.
I have a bad feeling about this.
Ps- Recommended readings:
- Trump kills TPP, giving China its first big win (WSJ)
- White House Pushes ‘Alternative Facts’. Here Are the Real Ones (NYT)
- On his first day in office, Trump broke 34 promises (Think Progress)
- Fourteen Defining Characteristics Of Fascism (By Dr. Lawrence Britt)