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TRUMP IN THIRD WORLD POLITICS

Published: 
Sunday, March 19, 2017

“Irony of Ironies”, the 45th President of the United States of America, Donald J Trump, is doing everything possible to turn the US into the kind of political backwater typical of “Third World” countries, the kind which the showpiece of Western democracy, the US, has warned against, and sought to purge of the malady.

There can be little that is more third “worldian” than a just-arrived president charging, without the slightest shred of evidence, that his predecessor had him “wire tapped”. But even before he got into office, Trump’s Third World politics was evident. He promised to establish a special prosecutor to investigate and jail his opponent, Hilary Clinton. His ego, bruised by Clinton’s winning of the popular vote, Trump claimed voter fraud (again without evidence) by the exact number, three million votes, that he had been beaten by.

That’s the kind of political behaviour characteristic of Third World leaders and politics. And I am using “Third World” in the pejorative sense as used to describe politically backward, developing countries of the South.

The off-beat, unscripted tweets, often lacking in substance, credibility and technical composition, have made this President of the United States infamous, and sent his aides scuttling to create “alternative facts” to disentangle him from his lies.

President Donald Trump has outdone any Third World leader antagonistic to the free press with his anti-democratic rants, and his penchant for branding any news item or news analysis critical of him as “fake news”. His blanking of certain media establishments from his news conferences, at best, refusing to take questions from journalists representing television networks such as CNN, MSNBC and the like is Third World behaviour at its sharpest.

The often practised trick of Third World leaders to berate investigative journalists and make them vulnerable to the blind horde of fanatical supporters of the leader for special treatment is another step along the road President Trump is walking.

Up until the present, the phalanx of the printed and electronic media (of course, bar the right wingers led by Fox and Breitbart) have shown resolve, have continued along their historical path of defending freedoms and, in doing so, have ostensibly been supported by their private owners—not always a given.

However, MSNBC journalist Lawrence O’Donnell has suggested that the President’s continuing style of telling “lies” is working at “defining deviancy down”, so much so that presidential lies and distortions are being accepted by the political culture and can soon become normative behaviours. O’Donnell went as far as saying if President Obama had told such blatant lies he would have been impeached.

If Rachel Maddow, on her show on MSNBC, has any substance to her many excursions into the financial dealings of President Trump, the 45th President of the USA, when all is investigated and revealed, could be exposed to charges of alleged financial fraud.

Such allegations can dwarf the efforts (surely in scale and value) of the Duvaliers, the several African leaders who have siphoned off hundreds of millions, Latin American Caudillos and the chain of American law makers who have been convicted over time for various types of financial fraud.

President Trump, in his soundings on international trade, has promised to adopt protectionist international trade policies similar to Third World governments struggling against the system of international trade sewn together by the World Trade Organisation and advocated by the Washington Consensus.

In his election campaigning and subsequently, Donald Trump set himself up to returning one of the most technologically advanced economies in the world to coal mining and smoke-stack industry production typical of Third World-type production. Along the same line of “ third worldism”, President Trump has promised to ignore rulings that may be made against his government by international trade arbitration bodies for breaking trade rules.

Like so many Third World leaders faced with populations divided along race and tribal lines, President Trump’s policies and governance systems could exacerbate and inflame those fault lines in American society in a manner similar in nature to Somalia, Rwanda, Northern Ireland, the old Yugoslavia and others.

Another hallmark of Third World politics has been depicted in the appointments of President Trump. So far, Trump’s appointed national security adviser, Michael Flynn, has been caught in at least two episodes of lying and double-dealing, even Trump was forced to fire him—and there are other allegations piling up against the former army general.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is walking down the same road having lied to the Senate Judicial Committee about his pre-election contacts with the Russians. Meanwhile, his boss, the President, has fired New York attorney Preet Bahara, this is after the President asked Bahara to stay on; the suspicion is that the Indian-born attorney, who has prosecuted over 100 Wall Street executives for various forms of corrupt practices, had planned to continue “draining of the swamp”.

Above all, investigations are ongoing as to whether or not Trump in his campaign assisted the Russians in reducing the US to the political status of a banana republic, in which an enemy “imperialist” power installed a puppet government in Washington.

President Donald Trump has embarked on a course, consciously or not, that will negatively infect the American political system and affect its reputation internationally. It’s a political system which has historically been portrayed as democratic and fair, and an America, in its modern incarnation, as being part of the international multilateral system.