I am convinced that after only 50 days in office there is now a universal belief that the USA with Donald Trump and the Republicans in control are not only very hostile to free trade agreements but even more hostile and sceptical of their existing military alliances especially within NATO
It is becoming increasingly clear that the USA is now entering a time of economic isolationism as Donald Trump advocates that the USA retreat and internally retrench from a role on the global stage.
The problem is that this contention is all about economics and trade when perhaps the far worse problem is that Donald Trump isn’t so much an isolationist but rather a militarist with ambitions to turn the USA into the global colonial power.
Throughout his campaign Donald Trump very clearly and often stated that he would be a military president and that when he was younger the USA fought to win and actually were militarily successful
I suspect that he has forgotten the outcome of the Korean and Vietnam Wars, or that he successfully refused to serve in the military by avoiding the draft not once but five times.
It is for the reader to decided whether his reasons were genuine or simply the actions of a coward who thought that his inherited wealth brought, or should that be bought him entitlements not available to other USA citizens who did serve
However this oversight did not prevent Donald Trump from constantly using the names of two of the greatest US Generals, Douglas MacArthur and George Patton and talking of them as if he was their equal.
Which by the way he most definitely isn’t.
What we are now seeing is Donald Trump increasing the already huge USA defence budget by $54 billion in the mistaken belief that what he talked about throughout his campaign that it would Make America Great Again.
The presumption of course is that America was Great in the first place which is a question to be debated
What is more important is the question of where is the additional defence money going to come from?
Well it is coming from the other Federal Agencies including the State Department which if the reader of this doesn’t know is the department that is responsible for the USA diplomatic service and diplomacy
In response to being questioned on the increase Donald Trump said that
“Hopefully we’ll never have to use it, but nobody is going to mess with us. ‘NOBODY’. It will be one of the greatest military build ups in American history”
“Our military will be given the resources our brave warriors so richly deserve”
As an ex-armed services person of course I will always agree that service personnel should and deserve to be well equipped and even more so when there is a threat of having to go to war
And therein lies the problem of Trump’s militarism that unless he intends starting a war there isn’t one readily available for the USA to join or at last not one that will bring him the respect he craves so he is limited to involvement in places such as The Yemen.
What is of concern to many is that to pay for his toys Trump is cutting other initiatives such as Americas Foreign Aid programmes which anyone with any level of common sense realises is a precursor and essential element in supporting military success.
I have to agree with the comment in 2013 by Marine General Jim Mattis when he said “if you don’t fully fund the State Department, then I need to buy more ammunition”
At least he recognised, as a military commander that if you fail on the diplomatic front the chances of having to send your people into a shooting war are greatly increased
Perhaps we underestimate the intelligence and motives of Donald Trump and that he has embarked on his military expansion in preparation for such an outcome that he and his Republicans in Congress are going to engineer?
The fact that there wasn’t a deficiency in the USA military capability doesn’t seem to have crossed the mind of Donald Trump?
Perhaps therefore the answer lies in Donald Trump himself who is attempting to create an ethos around his own personality.
He often refers to the top military as “his” Generals, not the USA Generals, but “his”, “my” Generals (except of course when he is blaming then for the death of personnel whilst on operations he approved of before going to dinner).
Trump is a man who is fixated on and obsessed by his own sense of entitlement and self importance which he projects through a unilateral declaration and belief that the USA, “his” USA have the military might to be able to dispense with diplomacy.
After all if you have the might you have the right don’t you?
Or at least that is the philosophy and mindset of a bully and there is nothing more dangerous than a bully who believe his entitlement allows him to do what he likes, to whomever he likes, whenever he likes without any repercussions or consequences.
Donald Trump and the USA have effectively set out on a journey of ultra-nationalist, alt-right wing policies driven on by his key advisors who like him see the world in very simple, stark and terrifying terms
Donald Trump himself is an ill educated empty vessel who lives in the cloistered world of the sound bite, hence his addiction to Twitter and inability to distinguish between truth and lies, facts and fiction.
He genuinely believe that it isn’t necessary to even try to understand what other nations and people think and certainly thinks a world of universally accepted values and rights is nothing more than liberal weakness and that the USA on its own can and will become the leader of the world
As history shows there was another leader who believed the in same militarism and patriotism rather than diplomacy and understanding.
So whilst Trump is looking to withdraw from the world into economic isolationism he is at the same time looking to expand and exploit it, (well he is a dodgy businessman so are we really surprised) by threatening military expansion against what he sees as global adversaries
We only have to look at his pronouncements about China’s expansion in the South China Sea and threats against Iran.
They are the policies that brought about political, economic and military destabilisation across the world at the start of the 20th Century and rather than create a new empire led to the fall of the existing ones.
So whilst the Trump policy is currently casting a shadow of fear and apprehension across the world we can at least look to the history of the early 20th Century and say with some comfort that the last leader who tried it found out that “It didn’t work out too well for him”
The major problem is something that Donald Trump either cannot or simply refuses to see because of his own paranoia is that he is being laughed at and worse still perhaps is the whole world, or at least those who aren’t run by dictators, fascists and racists are laughing at the United States of America
This of course in itself fuels his paranoia, the paranoia of a man who is so consumed by his own need for status that the world laughing at him will, can and in fact is leading to even more extreme behaviour.
The problem is that his advisors are all of the same ilk believing that they, and only they are right and at the forefront of a new American Revolution that will make America Great Again.
They of course will not be the ones who have to face the enemy on the battle field, or see their loved ones returning home in a box covered by the Stars and Stripes which is the inevitable conclusion of increased militarism and scorn for diplomacy may bring
Donald Trump talks of there being another World War.
Commander in Chief of the USA armed forces he may be but one thing I believe is certain and that is if he starts a shooting war he will expect the English speaking countries of the world to support him and in that he may well be extremely disappointed.
Or at least I very much hope it is the case.