Columns

A grave danger to the world

Linton P
Gordon

Monday, August 20, 2018

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US President Donald Trump has the world on edge. His style of governing is beyond unique. It is rough, crude, uncouth and coarse. It is indeed more than what was known in the 40s and 50s as the “Ugly American”.

While we ridicule and laugh at the United States, because of the conduct of Trump, we should never ever forget the bigger picture, and it is that the world cannot be a safe and stable place without a safe and stable USA in the hands of a stable, rational and responsible president. The same can be said of the Soviet Union — the other major nuclear power.

The bigger issue to look at is whether or not Trump's policies, be it his intention or not, are creating a division amongst the countries of the West, especially members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to the benefit of Russia.

The US has been credited with playing a significant role in the collapse of the Soviet Union, which in turn led to the collapse of the Warsaw Pact — that collection of eastern countries which were under the umbrella of the Soviet Union and was the counterforce to NATO.

Trump is now going full blast at Turkey, a very important member of NATO. During the Cold War several pieces of high-tech spying equipment were installed in Turkey to monitor movements of troops belonging to the Warsaw Pact, especially as they travelled through the Black Sea on their way to the Mediterranean Sea. It was from Turkey too that other than eastern countries, such as Georgia, Bulgaria, Romania, and what was then Yugoslavia, were monitored by members of NATO, especially the USA.

Trump has ignored the important role Turkey has played in the history of NATO and is now treating the country and its president as an outcast unworthy of his company. He has now imposed tariffs on products from Turkey. But not only has he imposed tariffs, he has done so in a high-handed way calculated to humiliate Turkey. He has also been speaking down to other members of NATO, including France and Germany. Perhaps the most significant decisions Trump has taken, where NATO is concerned, is his refusal to condemn Russia for annexing Crimea.

Trump appears to be most comfortable when in the presence and company of rulers of the ilk of President Vladimir Putin of Russia and President Kim Jong-un of North Korea.

Given the way Trump is behaving in his own country one cannot help but form the impression that he has a longing to have at his disposal unilateral, authoritative and dictatorial power similar to those now enjoyed by the leaders in whose company he appears comfortable.

Trump has resurrected racism and classicism in the US in the worst way possible. He has refused to condemn extreme racist groups. Worst yet, he has taken the lead to encourage and spread racism and divisions by calling black athletes “sons of bitches” and calling a former black female employee of the White House a “dog”.

This is the lowest any leader of any country in the world can descend to. Trump is scarring the social landscape of the US in a way that will take years to be healed. His conduct encourages persons who had their prejudice under wraps to come out in the open and publicly demonstrate their racism.

The racist elements in the US have taken their cue from President Trump and this can be seen in all areas of American life. Police officers who before Trump's presidency conducted themselves in a respectful manner when dealing with black people even though they are racist, no longer so conduct themselves. Instead, they now practise a double standard, whereby black citizens and Latinos are treated differently from the way whites are treated.

Even extreme religious leaders in the US. have now been emboldened by Trump and come forward openly declaring that the colour of one's skin will determine how he/she will be treated by God on arrival at the Pearly Gates. If there is one thing that Trump has done for the US it is to bring the county to a level at which it is being ridiculed and laughed at all over the world.

It is quite another thing for us to know that Trump has at his fingertip the most powerful nuclear arsenal on Earth. This is an arsenal that can destroy the entire human race. It is therefore difficult not to be concerned about the happenings in the US, whether we are laughing or we are saddened by the level to which the Trump presidency has brought it.

Geographically, Jamaica is not far from the United States, and we have a significant number of our citizens residing there. We cannot therefore escape the effect of the Trump presidency. Also, we cannot forget that whatever happens in America has a direct connection with us, especially since should America go to war, several Jamaicans and descendants of Jamaicans in the US, and here in Jamaica, will either be involved in the war directly or will suffer the consequences indirectly.

Trump is not only a danger to the US, he constitutes a grave danger to the world, and this requires us to constantly and closely monitor his policies so that we can appreciate what might or might not be in the making for us and for the rest of the world.

America is no longer the leader of the Western world. It is no longer the leader of the democratic world. America is now being led by a president who has no respect for his fellow citizens and this cannot be good for the democratic world.

Linton P Gordon is an attorney-at-law. Send comments to the Observer or lpgordon@cwjamaica.com.

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