• Friday, April 12, 2024
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BusinessDay

The free world and the danger of a Trump presidency

US Appeals Court rules Donald Trump has no immunity from Jan 6 prosecution

Nigerians are exultant at the prospect of Trump returning to the White House, those living in the U.S. say they will use their votes to punish the President Joe Biden for endorsing an illegitimate government in Nigeria and turning a blind eye to the serial elimination of Christians by expansionist Islamic groups in the Middle Belt.

In the U.S., Trump continues to divide opinion among Republicans and Americans at large. Some say the former president should not be on the ballot because of his connection with the insurrection of January 6, 2021 and the litany of litigations which he withered but damaged the reputation of the Office of the President, others threaten never to vote again if U.S. law is applied to prevent the New York born businessman from standing for election.

Read also: Trump inches closer to Republican ticket with Iowa caucuses win

Like him or hate him, the possibility of Trump returning to the White House looms larger with each passing day, and with it comes a foreboding for the free world which America has championed since the end of World War 2. In the past, the U.S. managed to stave off the enemies without, today, the source of the threat to America’s hard won democracy is from within.

In June 2015, when he announced his readiness to run in the 2016 presidential election, Trump promised to “make America great again,” but for four years he chipped away at the edges of America’s democracy and the core value that makes America unique, the American Creed.

Many lovers of democracy around the world heaved a sigh of relief when Trump was voted out of office in 2020. Can America and the democratic world which America leads afford at this time, an American president who is “like no other president in U. S’s history”?

The danger of a third world war is very real. The U.S. is heavily involved in ensuring that the Israel-Palestine war does not escalate. The operation requires hard and soft power with calm heads at the wheels in the face of serial provocations by armed militant groups. Ukraine continues to be at the receiving end of aerial bombardment by Russia, while citizens across the world were celebrating Christmas/new year holiday, Ukrainians were picking the bodies of their loved ones from the rubbles of buildings felled by Russian missiles. Without U.S.- led support, Putin will overrun Ukraine and make good on his description of the invasion as “military exercise.” North Korea continues its provocative missile test, heightening tension with its neighbor, South Korea and attempting to draw the U.S. into the fray. Iran is determined to be a nuclear nation, and history tells us, as Kenneth Waltz affirms that when a country is determined to be a nuclear state, they usually achieve it, no matter the obstacles. The task of Israel and the U.S. is to delay that occurrence for as long as possible. Then there is China, eager to take advantage of any slip from the U.S. and challenge the Western-U.S.-led present world order. All these countries listed have something in common, they are autocratic, non-liberal states and hostile to the U.S. and its Western allies.

Therefore, the U.S. needs a president at this moment that unites Americans and infuses courage in its allies, President Biden may not be the best man for the job, but he has united Americans and continues to manage extremely difficult situations really well, that requires experience, and tact; these are attributes that even supporters of the former The Apprentice star will not associate with him. So what will a Trump’s presidency bring to the U.S. and the free world? Controversies, conflicts and chaos.

Trump courts controversy and thrives in chaos.

The trajectory of his life from an early age, understudying his father, Fredrick Trump, a sharp real estate developer prepared him for the dark art of relentless boardroom deal cutting that prioritized survival and self-interest above all other interests, including national interest. After he graduated from college in his mid-twenties, young Donald Trump joined his father’s business, and at 28 in 1974, he became president of a conglomeration of Trump-owned corporations which he christened Trump Organization.

For young Joe Biden, in his twenties, first it was college, law school, service in New Castle county, and U.S. senate at 29. It is the path of many American presidents, standing on solid educational footing to learn on the job the ropes of American politics, international relations and the demands of the office of the leader of the liberal democratic world. George Washington in 1789 to Joe Biden in 2020, there is a common pattern, love for learning generally and law in particular, service to the Union and sacrifice for her prosperity.

These outstanding qualities in American leaders made the U.S. unique among nations; for instance, James Monroe, the 5th president of the U.S. may be renowned for the Monroe Doctrine, but not many will remember that he fought in the American Revolution war at the age of 18, side by side General George Washington, and sustained a near fatal shoulder injury that required his evacuation from the warfront. John Quincy Adams, the 6th president of the U.S., at 13 was at Leiden University in Holland, and at 14 accompanied U.S. envoy to Russia as private secretary; like many who graced the White House, almost his entire life was devoted to the service of the state. Andrew Jackson, the 7th president of the U.S. wore the scar of a sabre across his face for refusing to shine the boots of a British soldier, this incident, and loss of members of his family due to British invasion of western Carolina, propelled him in his military service to the state to deal decisive blows on the enemy and made him war hero. Martin Van Buren, one of the founders of the Democratic party was the 8th president of the U.S., he was placed to study law at 14, and made his first court appearance at 15.

Like those before him and many who came after him, he went on to represent New York state in the Senate, was appointed attorney general, elected governor, appointed vice president before his election as president.

The road to the U.S. presidency is a life-long process of service, sacrifice and submission to the state; these are the attributes that make America great, and sadly, Trump does not possess any, it was lacking in his upbringing, and he didn’t care enough to acquire these qualities, perhaps, the U.S. presidency was not on his shopping list of acquisitions until later in life. Today, President Trump leads an army of supporters, who are unmindful of America’s priceless heritage, purchased at great expense by the blood and bow of patriots through many centuries.

A Donald Trump presidency would be dream come true for states currently expressing hostility toward the U.S. As was the case in 2016, Trump through his antics, maneuvers, unfounded and deliberately provocative utterances will set Americans against themselves, before, during and after the elections. These cracks will be exploited by states hostile to the U.S. but that will not matter to Trump if he gets his cherished prize, and should he become president, U.S.’s support for Ukraine will wane, then cease. It will be Putin’s delight. Cracks will appear in the relationship between the U.S. and its traditional allies, as Trump rail at them to shoulder more responsibilities for the alliance. America’s leadership of many international organizations will gradually disappear as the president makes a rash of executive orders to assert his authority.

Concerning North Korea, Trump will first blow hot about who has the bigger toy (nuclear weapon), then he will befriend the reclusive leader to the chagrin of liberal democrats around the world and refined Republicans at home. Far right elements in Israel will be further strengthened to take a harder stand on Palestine, and any hope of achieving a two-state solution maybe damaged irretrievably. Iran and China will be further contained, with help of new ally Russia. Deals and agreements will be reached not based on America’s long term interests or the interest of global peace, but by the interest of the “President” and his clique of “friends”.

As for my compatriots who want to vote for Trump to spite Biden, let me remind them that Trump was President of the U.S. on October 20, 2020 when our former president, Muhammadu Buhari, ordered soldiers to open fire on a group of #Endsars protesters at the Lekki tollgate.

President Trump did not call out Buhari.

Nigerians are right to be angry with President Biden, but what should concern us more is why President Biden is taking this stand. Whatever it is, what is certain is that U.S. national interest will come first before anything else. In politics, often economic interest comes first before ideological interest.

Support for Trump by Nigerians will only help to install a president with similar attributes as our president, same avowed obsession for deal cutting irrespective of the color or smell.

Nigerians are better served supporting President Biden and ensuring that we utilize all available diplomatic channels to express our dissatisfaction with our “democracy” which have been hijacked by a few entrenched powers. We should all prepare to do more for democracy around the world. The cure for the defects in democracy is more democracy. This is the time to give more to democracy, not less which support for Trump signifies.

Soni Gold is a Pioneer Student of the School of Politics, Policy & Governance, founded by Dr. Oby Ezekwesili