Hopes, worries of post – Trump world - By: Mohammad Qaddam Sidq Isa | Dailytrust

Hopes, worries of post – Trump world

Donald Trump

As much as one tries not to bother unnecessarily about the United States (US) politics, one simply cannot ignore it at least to the extent to which it directly or indirectly interests one and one’s primary audience.

Since the end of World War II, the US foreign policies, actions and inactions have always had positive or negative impacts on global economic conditions, peace and stability more than any other country. This is primarily thanks to its sheer military power and economic size which remain the world’s strongest and largest respectively, and which it has always leveraged on in pursuit of its legitimate and illegitimate interests.

And until it is outpaced and overshadowed by another country, which is inevitable since, after all, it is not the first world’s superpower and woould not be the last either, the US would continue to be the most influential country in international politics.

Until then, therefore, US politics, including the identities and underlying philosophical inclinations of major players in, particularly, the White House, the Congress, the State Department, the Pentagon, the Federal Reserve and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), would remain of huge interest not only to the US citizens and residents, but also to most, if not all, foreign governments and major multinational corporations, albeit to various degrees.

That explains why lobbying in Washington’s corridors of power on behalf of foreign governments, multinational corporations and international organisations remains a multibillion-dollar industry.

In addition to traditional US allies in Europe, Asia and the Middle East, many non-US allies like Russia and China, and even some purported US enemies like Iran, maintain dedicated  firms in Washington who lobby for their interests.

With the inauguration of the new US President, Joe Biden, last Wednesday, such governments and entities are already strategising to secure US cooperation in pursuit of their respective interests. This is even though President Biden, unlike his predecessor, Trump, is already a typical Washington establishment politician, which makes him quite predictable in the light of his political antecedents over the decades. Yet, that does not downplay the need to have a clear picture of his administration’s direction on various issues involving foreign interests, especially after years of unprecedented unpredictability of the Trump administration.

Though the direction of any US administration is always primarily determined by the US strategic interests, the particularly inconsiderate approach of the former President Trump under his “America First” policy had made many foreign governments miss the pre-Trump America and wish that President Biden would revert to the status quo anyway.

China, for instance, which has been particularly hit by Trump’s largely protectionist international trade policies, is certainly pursuing an increased US commitment to international trade liberal policies under the Biden administration.

Iran also, being arguably the worst-hit country by Trump would want to see the Biden administration reverting to the Obama era situation in US-Iran politics, for, after all, he was Obama’s deputy who supposedly played a key role in the formulation of Obama’s Iran-friendly policies in the Middle East.

Trump’s “maximum pressure” policy against Iran had devastated the Iranian economy after it had begun to recover following the ratification of the 2015 Nuclear Agreement between it, the US, Germany, France and Britain, China and Russia. Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement rendered it effectively ineffective and signalled the beginning of America’s harsh measures against it that have significantly lessened the impetus of Iran’s geopolitical expansionist adventures in the Middle East.

Even the US traditional European allies would equally want to see it back to its full commitment to their collective security under the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) in the face of the Russian geopolitical ambition with its attendant security implications on the continent.

Former President Trump always blackmailed NATO member-countries for, according to him, not contributing enough in the organisation’s budget thereby leaving the US with the burden of protecting them.  He equally blackmailed US Far Eastern allies like Japan and South Korea and demanded that they paid the US for “protecting” them from the aggressive North Korean regime.

Other US allies elsewhere like the Arabian Gulf countries in the Middle East have equally been repeatedly blackmailed by Trump for “protecting” them from the belligerent Iranian regime on the other side of the Gulf.

Now, notwithstanding the foregoing, President Biden is assuming office after exactly 10 years from the eruption of violent protests that swept across many countries in the Middle East and North Africa purportedly to bring about democratic change.

However, the ensuing confusion degenerated into anarchy and bloody civil wars causing huge lost of lives and displacement of millions of people in addition to extensive devastation.  Some countries are still unable to even stop the wars let alone recover.

Given the roles that the Obama wing of radical democrats played in the instigation of that overwhelming chaos, there are concerns in the region that President Biden, being Obama’s deputy then hence supposedly involved in that strategy, may consider pursuing the same policy.

Already, beneficiaries who rode the wave of the protests to achieve their political ambitions, eg, the Muslim Brotherhood, are particularly excited that the protests would come back now that Biden has been inaugurated. For instance, when, in the course of a chat I recently had with a staunch Muslim Brotherhood apologist Egyptian friend of mine, I referred to Biden’s appointment of some of Obama’s team members, he (my friend) could not disguise his excitement that President Biden might end up adopting Obama’s Middle East policy.

Though people across the region have learned a lesson albeit the hard way, which makes the repeat of similar protests quite unlikely, it remains to be seen whether or not President Biden would follow the footsteps of his former boss, Obama, in his reckless determination to impose “liberal values” on nations regardless of their respective peculiarities.