The issue addressed in this report concerns the Trump presidency and the multitude of international and domestic issues it has created, in conjunction with the apathy and complacency exhibited by the international community in regards to it. Since 2016, the Trump administration has been involved in various scandals and caused grave damage to the economy and human rights. Such events include but are not limited to: the U.S. – China trade war, U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate deal, rollback of Medicare, Russian meddling in the U.S. election, and most recently, the disastrous handling of the COVID-19 health crisis.
What I will be analysing in the report is the complacency shown by the West. The lack of condemnation or even reaction to the President’s comments and actions is highly concerning. Social pressure exists for the sole purpose of condemning inappropriate behaviour, so that humans learn to refrain from such actions. President Trump, very obviously avoids such pressure, with the most recent example being him storming out of the room once questioned by female reporters.
The absolute lack of condemnation on a social, political and even legal level, is certainly a large contributing factor to his behaviour. A behaviour that without a doubt, is hindering and jeopardising global efforts for peace and prosperity. For example, the first weeks of his presidency were marked with large scale protests, making a stand against the narrative he peddles. The administration’s response was to present fabricated images showcasing a higher attendance to the president’s inauguration speech than there actually was, thus avoiding and ignoring the criticisms and stigmatisation of his leadership by the people. There was never an official response, neither from the president, his staff or his party regarding the fabrication of evidence. Most importantly, however, there was never an opposing party or candidate, or even a foreign state, to have a reaction of an appropriate scale.
In this manner, the status quo was created. A state where the president can and will make any claims he sees fit for his own personal interests, take actions that are decidedly damaging for the country, with there being little reaction and push back from experts, politicians, and common people. Tensions are obviously running high, especially between the U.S. and China, Iran, North Korea and even the Taliban. The list of events and actors is obviously incomplete, but they all have one common factor. Donald Trump’s involvement led to a crisis, putting millions of lives and global security at risk.
The reason why this issue is extremely persistent and keeps arising over the course of the Trump presidency is that there has been no person or organisation who has taken a powerful stand against the administration’s actions. Excluding a number of officials who protested against the president’s policies and actions, some of which also took part in the failed impeachment trial, there has been little resistance. That can be ascribed on the fact that anyone who made comments that did not align with Trump’s views, was promptly replaced.
A prime example of complacency, both within the U.S. and abroad, was the aftermath of the Mueller investigation. The FBI investigation was a large-scale attempt to uncover Russian meddling with the 2016 election and uncover any potential links to the president, of which he was being accused of. Mueller was appointed following the dismissal of the former FBI director, James Comey, by the president. The grounds for his dismissal were that the president disagreed with the director’s handling of the Russian issue as well as investigations on his opponent, Hilary Clinton.
Despite several questionable actions surrounding the entire topic, Mueller was assigned the task of looking into potential collusion and anything else that may have arose from it, with the backing of a small number of democratic lawmakers. The report found several instances of hacking, undeniable links between the Trump campaign and the hacking itself, and at least ten cases of obstruction of justice. The investigation ultimately concluded with the impeachment trial, for which key witnesses, including the president himself, never testified.
In this event, despite the house voting to impeach Donald Trump, it never passed the Republican-majority Senate and as such, none of the culprits faced any sort of consequences. At the same time, the lives of countless people, both in the U.S. and abroad were affected. Policies like the travel ban, escalation in North Korea, refusal to rectify the Iran nuclear deal, and even the continuation of funding for coal energy and withdrawal from the Paris agreement, have had disastrous consequences on an individual, state and international level.
World peace and prosperity in particular are being threatened, not only by the core cause, the various short-sighted policy moves enforced by Trump, but are exacerbated by the enablement of the international community. The apathy displayed by countries that are directly or indirectly affected is truly baffling. Reactions never go beyond a stern press release, with occasional empty threats of retaliatory measures. No other state except for China has actually followed through, and China only did so due to its own agenda, as well as being able to bear the brunt of the economic consequences.
At the same time, the president’s approval ratings have remained fairly steady for the past few years, indicating that his core voter demographic is approving and encouraging his actions, without this reflecting the overall sentiment in the country. Despite this, neither side of any conflict, observer or international body has made any sustained and worthwhile effort to put a stop to it. Another prime example is the current health and economic crisis. The mismanagement and fake news spread by the president has already cost tens of thousands of lives, as well as disrupted the diplomatic and economic relations of the U.S and the rest of the world.
Despite the irresponsible actions of the president and various state governors and officials pleading for help, the government is refusing to take a stand and impose controls that would save human lives. To this, unsurprisingly, there has been little pushback from people and organisations with positions of power. This responsibility has been assigned to the people, who are largely unable to take action. Similarly, no government so far has imposed restrictions on goods or travelers from the U.S. on public health grounds. The European Union has barred travellers from outside the union from entering, but that was not specifically to address the issue that is unfolding across the ocean.
In my view, it is clear that it is time for stronger and more consistent reactions to President Trump’s actions, whether these are harming a state directly or when they are against his own people. The time for politeness and western self-absorption is long gone. Time and again it has become clear that what a country may seem as a slight and unimportant problem, can evolve into a global catastrophe. There have been plenty of times where such catastrophes did occur, with nobody being prepared to handle them. We are currently in the midst of one.
Chances are, that by receiving pushback from abroad and actually facing consequences would lead officials to think twice before implementing certain harmful and discriminatory policies. The potential economic consequences in particular would definitely act as a preventative barrier. The lengths to which the American government will go to preserve and further economic prosperity have been made clear in the current circumstances. For this reason, in an ideal world with no underlying interests and corruption, it would be plausible to permanently solve this affair through escalating economic and trade sanctions.
In conclusion, the solution to this topic is fairly straightforward. International pressure that will be analogous to the specific problems that do and will arise from U.S. international policies, would do wonders for the mitigation and control of possible damage they may have. Similarly, pressure from within the country about domestic policies, in the form of strikes or other large scale response that can harm the economy, can indeed provide adequate change.