By Owei Lakemfa
PRESIDENT Donald Trump is a joke carried too far. He is a problem child the United States imposed on the universe. There is an African saying that if you give birth to a problem child, it is your responsibility to keep such child in check. Americans formally performed that onerous responsibility this Monday when its Electoral College voted 306-232 for Joe Biden as the incoming American President. In other words, Trump now has less than five weeks to vacate the White House.
Aberrations like Trump litter the landscape of history. Cultured Germany that produced famous philosophers like Georg Hegel, incredible human minds like Karl Marx and matchless cultural icons like Bertolt Brecht, also produced Adolf Hitler. The same France which produced Rene Descartes, Voltaire, Albert Camus, Auguste Comte and Simone de Beauvoir, and gave humanity the inspiring slogan of ‘Liberty, Equality and Fraternity’ was the same that produced mass butchers in countries like Vietnam and Algeria, exterminating people for making similar demands.
I am not sure how many people saw the possibility of a racist, tax-dogging, playboy with questionable deals and lack of respect for women, emerging an American President in a highly globalised world. As the 2016 primaries progressed, the focus of some in the Republican Party was not winning the elections, but stopping Trump.
He was clearly on the rampage accusing Mexicans of being criminals and rapists and Muslims of being Jihadists who: “have no sense of reason or respect for human life.” He campaigned for the legalisation of torture on the international scene and a repeal of Obamacare.
He saw women as play objects and spoke of the Democratic Party candidate, Hilary Clinton in sexual terms: “If Hillary Clinton can’t satisfy her husband what makes her think she can satisfy America?” For him, the media are devils who report falsehood.
Trump believes he is ordained to win any contest he engages in and in 2016 declared that if he lost to Hilary Clinton, the results would be unacceptable as the elections must have been rigged. This delusion he still manifests by refusing to concede defeat to Biden even after the Electoral College votes. Four years of Trumpism has turned many aspects of world politics upside down and in some instances, reduced America to a laughing stock.
Imagine a non-scientist who relies on beliefs, declaring in a magisterial manner that Climate Change is a hoax. He eventually withdrew America from the Paris Climate Change Agreement.
Trump approached the COVID-19 pandemic in the same cavalier manner even joking that it is a “Chinese Virus.” He discouraged the wearing of masks and encouraged civil resistance against the lockdown programmes of states in the country designed to slow down the rate of infection. This doubtlessly contributed to the American infection rate which as at December 15, 2020 stood at over 16,700,000 with 304,000 COVID-19-related deaths.
The highest casualty figures in the world. Unfortunately, he influenced the copycat actions of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro which has seen that country record 737,597 infections and 181,402 deaths.
Trump also withdrew the US from membership of the World Health Organisation thereby weakening the joint human response to fighting the pandemic. He has also been busy re-drawing the maps of other countries and awarding non-American territories to other countries. For instance, he has recognised illegal Israeli settlements in the seized Syrian Golan Heights.
He encouraged, recognised and campaigned for international support in moving the Israeli capital from Tel Aviv to disputed Jerusalem including East Jerusalem which is indigenous to the Palestinians. He has also recognised illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank which even the racist Zionists in Israeli acknowledge as not being Israeli territory.
Trump has also been involved in getting some Arab countries to reject the fundamental human rights of Palestinians to a homeland and self-determination by ditching Palestinian rights in favour of being in bed with the racists in Tel Aviv. Not satisfied with re-drawing the map of the Middle East, Trump this week decided to redraw the map of Africa by inserting the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic also known as Western Sahara into Morocco.
In this, the out-going American President in the manner of colonialists and imperialists, seeks to reduce the member countries of the African Union, AU, from 55 to 54. It is instructive that Western Sahara was admitted into the Organisation of African Unity, OAU in 1982 and is a founding member of the AU.
As part of its global destabilisation acts, the Trump government had repudiated the multi-national Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action better known as the Iranian Nuclear Deal. It followed this up with more sanctions against Iran including on drugs needed to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. To provoke Iran into a war, Trump in January 2020, ordered the assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani while on a diplomatic mission in Iraq. He had tried a similar tactic on Syria in 2016 by ordering a missile attack on a Syrian air base.
Also, he tried provoking its neighbour, Mexico by declaring it criminal and swearing to build a wall between both countries with the bill going to Mexico. The Igbos of Nigeria say if a madman picks your clothes while you are having a bath in the river and begins to run, it will be unwise to give chase because passers-by would assume both of you are crazy. So those countries wisely ignored the Trump provocations.
The Trump government has almost pushed the opposition in Venezuela into oblivion first by encouraging it to carry out a coup against elected President Nicolas Maduro. When this failed, it in a quixotic manner, declared then Venezuelan Senate President Juan Guaido as President. When this gambit failed, it encouraged the opposition to boycott the December 6, 2020 parliamentary elections thereby giving the ruling Socialist Party, a clean sweep of the Congress.
Trump makes no distinction between allies and enemies; his government has engaged in trade wars with China just as it has done with its Canadian and European allies. Africans say no matter how bad a person is, he must have positive aspects, so is it with Trump. As President, he has helped to greatly degrade the Islamic State, ISIS which the Obama administration had inadvertently created with its allies in the Gulf.
He has pursued dialogue with the Afghanistan Taliban which previous American administrations had striven to present as Islamic terrorists. Trump has also ordered the further reduction of American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq from 4,000 and 3,000 respectively to 2,500 each by January 15, 2021. At its peak in 2007, America had 170,000 troops in Iraq and in 2011, over 50,000 troops in Afghanistan. On balance, Trump is leaving the world significantly worse off than he met it.