The Inaugural address of US President Donald Trump was harsh, offensive if not insulting to the American political class, both Republican and Democratic.
Trump directly addressed the symbols of this class, including his predecessors, decrying the practices of the traditional political establishment, and accusing it of indulging over the course of decades in idle talk. He also accused the political establishment of serving its interests at the expense of the American people to the point of marginalizing them, destroying their dreams and wasting their achievements all over the world where, as Trump sees it, many countries became rich at his country’s expense.
Significantly, Trump was earlier keen on stressing that he wrote his speech himself. Taking advantage of the solemn atmosphere of the ceremony, he purposefully presented himself as the ‘Savior’, in a strategy that we can conclude from his carefully chosen and frightening words, the likes of which were seldom used by any former American president, about the weakened US economic and military prowess. He used words such as ‘decay’ and ‘depletion’ to refer to the country’s infrastructure and its army, whose bases are spread across the world.
He painted a grim picture of America as a preamble to his objective of restoring the waning glow and glitter. From the very start, it became clear that he would not be tolerant, and that in a direct message to the Congress in which he warned them that they either go along and work with him, or that he would unmask them and reveal those who are “all talk and no action.” All are aware out of experience that he could do that with a morning Tweet, possibly beginning it with: ‘You …!’
So far matters seem somewhat obvious and an internal American affair. But there is something more sinister in the speech, which he summed up in an equally harsh message to the whole world: Listen… America first!
Since the collapse of the Iron Curtain, the world became accustomed or forced to fall into the arms of America as a caring mother, carrying out the role of both father and mother. The world paid the price of its recklessness, negligence and miscalculation in many instances. On the other hand, the world benefited from its efforts to enhance globalization and free trade driven by technological advances, in return for its hegemony and control over the decision-making of the international institutions – the financial in particular – and the direction of the world’s economy. Trump is saying ‘America first.’ That is fine, but how? What will America offer in order to continue leading the world if it is monopolizing the priority for itself? Does it want to get rich by impoverishing the world? Or will it turn inwards and relinquish its leadership?
‘Mama America’ is again bewildering us all, while no one is sure whether we should satisfy it, or be satisfied by it at a time when the world is yet to recover from the economic malaise transmitted from it, and from a human bleeding in many parts as a result of its insufficient care. Tramp is waving his stick promising it to be magical and for the better. We can only hope that we are witnessing magic, not jugglery!
Note: Mohammad Alhusseini is the Managing Editor of Al-Anbaa Daily
By Mohammad Alhusseini