Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
Opinion Editorials, August 2016
A Discussion of Trump's 10 Main Policy Ideas Mentioned in his Acceptance Speech
By Hassan El-Najjar
August 2, 2016
A Discussion of Trump's 10 Main Policy Ideas Mentioned in his Acceptance Speech
By Hassan El-Najjar
July 23, 2016
The main policy ideas in Donald J. Trump's speech, which he delivered at the end of the US Republican Party Convention, on July 21, 2016, reflected the internal conflict in how he and many other Americans look at the United States. Some of his policy ideas seem to emanate from the premise that the United States is a nation state. However, other policies he is suggesting are based on the status of the United States as an Empire.
The following is a discussion of the ten main policies suggested in Trump's speech, for the benefit of American voters, as well as students and researchers of the American society, the American Empire, and international relations.
1. Hillary Clinton's legacy
He started by mentioning that the death and destruction in the middle East are Hillary Clinton's legacy!
This is a reference to the destruction of the Arab nation states of Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Yemen, to the deaths of millions of Arabs, and to the forced immigration of tens of millions of them, as a result of the destruction of their cities and villages.
To say that an American Secretary of State is responsible alone for American foreign policy is not true.
So many institutions are responsible for formulating American foreign policy. These include the various agencies and departments of the executive branch of government, such as the intelligence agencies, Department of Defense, National Security Council, the President, in addition to the State Department.
More important is that the main actors in these government agencies and departments are connected directly or indirectly to the influential actors in other institutions, such as industrial and financial corporations, the media, AIPAC, Council on Foreign Relations, Congress, and the Federal Reserve.
2. Associating the increase in gun violence in the American society with illegal immigrants
The United States has the highest incidence of gun violence in the world. This includes the highest number of deaths and injuries, as a result of individual attacks as well as mass shootings. The main reason for this is the availability of guns. Period.
Instead of settling their disagreements by discussions or even fist fights, like other people around the world, some Americans use their easily available guns to do that. Americans kill Americans, and most likely those close to them, such as family members, relatives, and neighbors. To say or imply that gun violence is perpetrated by illegal immigrants is not true.
During the first six months and 16 days of 2016, there were 7,449 Americans who were killed and 15,420 who were injured by other Americans, in 28,898 incidents of gun violence, including 193 mass shootings.
In 2015, there were 13,415 Americans who were killed and 27,000 who were injured by other Americans in 53,226 incidents of gun violence, including 330 mass shootings.
In 2014, there were 12,588 Americans who were killed and 23,035 who were injured by other Americans in 51,811 incidents of gun violence, including 280 mass shootings.
This American holocaust has been perpetrated by the weapon industry and its advocates, such as the NRA, which endorsed Trump. Gun violence in America will continue as long as guns are easily available to everybody in society.
3. Islamophobia, war mongering, and false terrorism scaring tactics
In the past 15 years, there were only four gun violence incidents perpetrated by Muslim Americans, resulting in the killing of less than one hundred innocent people. At the same time, hundreds of thousands of Americans were killed by other Americans in gun violence. However, beneficiaries of the war industry, including the media and politicians like Trump, have kept mentioning these four incidents as terrorist acts, in order to justify the continuation of the Empire wars in the Middle East.
The four incidents were perpetrated in Fort Hood, Chattanooga, San Bernardino, and Orlando. These were all related to workplace problems or mental illness, not to international terrorism. But because the perpetrators happened to be American Muslims, the war industry beneficiaries in the media and politics focused on their religion, which has nothing to do with their crimes.
Thus, Islamophobia has been used as as a scaring tactic to get the acquiescence of the population for the continuation of the American holocaust by gun violence in the United States and the continuation of US wars in the Middle East, which siphones trillions of dollars to the coffers of the beneficiaries of the war (including gun) industry, who have endorsed and backed Trump so far.
4. Obama and Clinton are responsible for the emergence of ISIS
Trump claimed in his speech that President Obama and former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, were responsible for the emergence of ISIS!
This was simply not true.
It was the 2003 US invasion and occupation of Iraq, which enabled Al-Qaeda to come to that country, part of the Iraqi resistance to the invasion. ISIS came out of Al-Qaeda after that.
In every case of an invasion, the invaded people resist the invaders. This was the case in Korea and Vietnam when they were invaded by the US and this was the case in Afghanistan when it was invaded by the Soviet Union. This was also the case in France, when it was invaded by Germany during World War II, citing just few examples.
5. Rebuilding the depleted US military and the proposed largest tax reduction
Trump promised that he would give the American people a larger tax reduction than any other politician would do!
He also repeated saying that he would rebuild the "depleted" US military, to become the strongest in the world again!
First, the US military forces are still the strongest in the world in quantity and quality, and to say anything else other than that is not true.
Second, how can he rebuild the "depleted military" when he proposes the largest tax reduction?
Where is he going to come up with the money to do that?
6. NATO is obsolete
Trump mentioned that NATO is obsolete, implying a threat to withdraw from the organization, if NATO members do not pay for the US to continue its occupation of Europe.
The huge US military spending, including the US NATO liabilities, is not part of defending the US as a nation state. Rather, it is a function of the US as the police of the world, the world Empire.
This has cost the American people more than $19 trillion as the US national debt.
While the war industry beneficiaries have looted these trillions of dollars and will transfer them to their children and their grandchildren after them, most Americans are left with the debt, which they will also transfer to their children and grandchildren after them.
Yes, as a nation state, the US does not need NATO. It is in the best interest of most Americans that the US pull out of Europe, close down all US military bases around the world, and bring all our troops back home. Then, we will be able to fund our military easily, without any borrowing of fiat money from the Federal Reserve and other war beneficiaries.
Trump does not seem to have a clear vision about the distinction between the interests of the US as a nation state, and interests of the rulers of the American Empire, who use the US to police the world for them.
So, if Trump is genuinely interested in restoring the US to its right status, as a nation state, he needs to pull out of the Empire as a whole, not just demanding expenses for NATO services.
7. Renegotiating individual trade agreements with China and Korea
In his speech and throughout his campaign, Trump criticized the trade agreements with China, Korea, and Mexico. In particular, he criticized allowing China to be a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Here again, Trump is not clear about the distinction between the US as a nation state and as an Empire. All these agreements are made on the Empire level, not on the nation state level.
China had to agree to the terms of the Empire before being allowed to be a member of the WTO. It's not up to the US nation state to renegotiate such terms with China.
South Korea was supported by the Empire to be a propaganda show case of the success of capitalism during the Cold War against the communist Soviet Union. Reneging on that support will open the door for the destabilization of the Korean Peninsula in particular, and east Asia in general.
Anyway, protectionism is a two-way street. If you impose more tariffs and taxes on their products, they will impose the same on yours. Then, it'll be a trade war that nobody wins.
Trump also complained that the annual trade deficit between the US and other countries reached about $800 billion!
While this is a disaster from a nation state viewpoint, it's the right thing to do on the Empire level.
Such trade deficit means that all of the fiat money produced by the Federal Reserve and loaned to the US federal government (financing its military expenses as the police of the world) is being exported to other countries, in return for their imported raw materials and manufactured commodities.
From an Empire perspective, this is an unprecedented transaction, in which you get whatever you want from anywhere around the world, in return for your fiat money.
8. NAFTA and illegal immigration
Every nation state has a right for secure borders and the US is entitled to have that like all other nation states around the world.
However, while NAFTA was negotiated to enhance the interests of the Empire rulers, it still has a lot to offer to Canada, Mexico, and the US, as nation states.
It has created a large market and made North America an economic block, which can compete efficiently against other world economic blocs, such as those in Europe and Asia.
But no matter what the topic of the discussion maybe, it should have been addressed objectively, without insulting our neighbors to the south, such as saying that they send their criminals and rapists to us, or that we'll build the wall and make them pay for it.
9. Islamophobia and immigration
Among the most seriously dangerous of Trump's ideas (potential policies) was his written resolution, which he read during his campaign, that he would impose a ban on Muslims entering the US (on the basis of the four incidents of violence which took place in the last 15 years)!
If this happens, it will be the second time in the US history in which a specific category of people is singled out to be banned from coming to the US (the first was the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, which has been regretted and never repeated or spoken about until this Trump's campaign).
If this were to happen, who would be more affected or isolated, the 320 million Americans or the 1.8 billion Muslims?
Apparently, Trump and his advisors did not think much about the reaction of the 56 Muslim states, most of whom would reciprocate by a ban on Americans to enter their countries. Then, who will stand most to lose?
In his speech, he modified this dangerous idea to become a ban on immigration from states which support terrorism.
Where are these states?
There is not a single state in the world that supports terrorism.
In the past, such label was assigned by the US State Department to the Arab states of Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Yemen. These states have lost that label because they are now failing states.
Iran used to be labeled as such until it has reached an agreement with the Empire and now fighting side-by-side with NATO forces, in Iraq and Syria.
Trump has presented himself as an Islamophobe, scaring Americans from Muslims.
But who benefits most from his incitement against Muslims?
Apparently, Islamophobia is used to justify the continuation of the Empire wars in the Middle East, and to promote sales of more guns in the US.
So, this Trump's policy idea will serve the interests of the Empire beneficiaries, not the interests of the US nation state, as he wanted Americans to believe.
9. Energy policy: Shale and coal
Trump announced that he would restore the steel and coal industries, implying that the Obama administration (and Hillary Clinton's by extension) caused them harm.
In fact, in several international conferences, nations of the world have pledged to move towards clean energy. Thus, it wasn't the US alone, or just the Obama administration, which has been encouraging this trend, as mentioned by Trump.
Concerning the growth problem faced by the shale oil industry in the US, it has been affected by the OPEC production policies, not by any US policies.
To imply that the Obama administration contributed to that is not true.
10. Repealing Obama Care
Finally, Trump promised to repeal the Affordable Healthcare Act (which he referred to as Obama Care) because it's a burden on small business owners.
This is nothing but a class warfare against the millions of poor people who benefited from the Act.
To relieve small business owners from the financial consequences of this Act, he could have promised funding from the federal government, to make it a publicly-funded program, which covers all those who don't have health insurance. This is the case in the rest of the industrial societies, which have made health care a universal right, just like the basic education.
More than half of the American people are economically hurting or economically insecure. Instead of scaring and distracting them from the real issues which affect their life, Trump could have assured them of a real change in US foreign policy, which will translate to real positive change in their life.
There will be no change with Trump's threats of trade wars or with his threat of a new war in the Middle East, using the excuse of destroying ISIS.
It's just a new style of winning elections through maximizing the scaring tactics.
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