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President Trump's Presidency: Results and Perspectives

November 20th, 2018

We need an objective evaluation of the President's foreign and domestic polices - the means, the goals, their results and consequences. The Trump performance requires we discuss the style and substance of foreign and domestic policies.

We will ignore the fly swatting by Trump critics who ply peripheral issues - the state investigation of the fading Russian conspiracy tales — and focus on strategic issues that purport to transform global economic, political and social relations.
'Trump at Work': Foreign Policy

President Trump has a strategy and he works hard at realizing it.

High on Trump's agenda is, first and foremost, asserting US global supremacy by word and deed.

In pursuit of world power, he utilizes multiple weapons: he believes in the magic powers of weapons and words. He asserts that prior Presidents 'were weak and allowed others to exploit us'. Today, under Trump's leadership, he claims we are strong and flexing our power everywhere at all time.

How does the President reveal strength? Through multiple wars, severe sanctions, increased military spending and greater concentration of wealth, in strategic locations. As a result, according to Trump, we intimidate rivals, competitors and adversaries.

Trump cites numerous examples. In Syria, we occupy regions, build new military bases, hire and arm more mercenaries and drop larger bombs on more Syrian cities. Trump boasts that he weakens Iran by ending the nuclear agreement, increasing sanctions precipitating an imminent collapse and regime change. Trump trumpets the success of the economic trade war against China and the downfall of Russia by encircling them with nuclear missiles, military bases and economic sanctions.

Trump hails new political successes and military allies in Latin America. Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile and Ecuador are viewed as Trump's market successes and providing a vassal army to overthrow the governments of Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua.

Trump brags about his success in 'renegotiating' NAFTA, renaming it and claiming more favorable trade 'deals' with Mexico and Canada.

The European Union and each of its members have felt the wrath of Trump's threat of trade wars, and his demands for greater military contributions to NATO.

He has demanded the Germans buy US oil and gas instead of Russian; he threatens to sanction European corporations who dare to abide by agreements with Iran; Trump boasts of hundred-billion-dollar arms sale with Saudi Arabia, while affirming US supremacy in the Middle East and North Africa.

President Trump, according to his bluster and boisterous self-acclaim, has won every war, conquered all competitors and has laid the groundwork for an 'American Century'.

How many of Trump's foreign policy twitters correspond to the real world and how many are empty-handed ejaculations?

President Trump: Claims and Reality

Trump's foreign policy strategy is mostly bluster than conquest, more boisterous than business, more bluff than success.

Let's start with Russia. Trump's sanctions and military encirclement have failed to weaken Russia. Berlin deepens trade ties with the Kremlin - buys more oil and gas, builds pipelines and affirms EU autonomy in dealing with Russia. Military encirclement involves third rate Baltic partners, and missile bases stationed in Poland. In contrast Russia has deepened multi-billion-dollar military and economic agreements with China, a world power.

Russia has responded to Trump's ending of nuclear missile agreements by building superior weaponry. By any measure, Russia has defeated Trump's sanctions and military threats.

Despite Trump's bombast about 'squeezing China' with tariffs, China's trade surplus with the US has increased, while the US trade deficit has risen.

The US has grown by 2.8%, China's by 6.5%. The US has failed to convince any of its Asian allies to join its trade war against China. On the contrary, US so-called trade war has encouraged Asia to replace US exporters. While Trump's economic advisers threaten Wall Street's largest bankers to stop making billion dollar deals with China, most have brushed Trump off. The bankers ignore Trump's 'trade war' because profits count more than gaseous rhetoric.

Saudi Arabia signs a $110 billion-dollar military agreement with Trump and then buys only 10% ... 'fake deals' to paraphrase the President.

Trump claims that the Saudi monarchy is a great ally, despite its boycott of Qatar, home of the biggest US military base in the region. Israel, Trump's Middle East ally, ignores Trump's economic sanctions with Russia and trade war with China, two of its biggest high-tech trade partners.

The US wars are losing propositions. Afghan rebels control most of the country, surround the provincial capitals and force US generals to seek withdrawal. US allies in Syria have retreated. He relies on Kurdish separatists who have their own agenda, not Trump's.

In Latin America, Trump collects kudos from far-right regimes in Brazil and Argentina which hover on the verge of economic collapse, social crisis and political upheaval.

Domestic Success of Dubious Value

Trump trumpets his big tax cut for billionaires with overseas holdings. He claims it is a success story - creating jobs and producing growth. In fact, over three quarters of the returned profits have resulted in buy-backs increasing corporate dividends not investment in productive activity,

Trump's trade war with China has not added jobs - it has added cost for consumers through higher prices.

His pro-business policies have strengthened the leverage of corporations in securing multi-billion-dollar concessions from local and state governments. Jeff Bezos the mega-billion dollar owner of Amazon, received over $10 billion dollars in tax exemptions, in addition to state financed concessions.

In effect Trump's large scale, long-term income transfers benefit the rich over the poor, increase inequalities and lowering public funds for education, health and welfare.

Trump's opposition to public health for all, international climate change agreements, national infrastructure investments and regulation of bank oversight, has increased the risk of natural disasters, financial crises and transport breakdowns.

Despite his retrograde domestic program, Trump retains electoral support and does not face an immediate political threat —for one basic reason: The Democrats offer no alternatives.

The corporate Democrats who lead the Party, back all of his retrograde policies: they support Trump's increases in military spending; support tax reduction for the rich; oppose a national health program for all.

Moreover, during Democratic President Obama's two terms in office, trillions of dollars bailed out the biggest banks while 3 million households suffered foreclosures; minimum wages remained below the poverty level; inequalities widened ,as did racial disparities.

Under President Obama 2 million immigrants were seized and expelled, establishing a precedent for Trump's anti-asylum policies.

In other words, Trump's policies are a continuation and exacerbation of the Obama regime.

Conclusion

Trump's domestic and foreign policy demagogically capitalized on the failures of the Democratic Party's corporate socio-economic programs and multiple wars.

As a result, Trump's exploited popular discontent and attracted big business support by promising lower taxes and the end of regulations. In practice Trump's aggressive foreign and domestic policies contributed and added to Washington's isolation and decline. None of Trump's original objectives have been achieved. The US has multiplied adversaries who have grown stronger and more unified. Washington has lost established markets without gaining new ones. His original electoral support has declined without gaining new adherents. Trump's reliable 'allies' (Israel, Saudi Arabia Germany, etc.) have undermined his aggressive trade policies to China and Russia. Anti-Iran sanctions have exempted the biggest buyers of Teheran's oil exports. While Trump failed to secure his domestic and foreign policy objectives, these failures have not led to any major loss of influence.

Europe is internally divided and unable to formulate any consequential alternatives. Latin America faces economic crises which precludes any joint military intervention despite 'paper agreements'.

But the biggest failure is Trump's policies to China. Each and every one of Trump's major Asian allies has retained and increased trade agreements with Beijing. Trump's premature celebration of diplomatic victory over North Korea has evaporated. North Korea has returned to and extended ties with China and Russia.

Trump's strategic decisions have failed to secure his objectives. Not a single world-shaking change has taken place. Trump's generals may abandon Afghanistan but no thanks to the Democrats or Europeans.

Trump trade wars with China has failed to secure more jobs in America, but his Wall Street critics have negotiated bigger and more lucrative financial deals.

In a word, Trump's failures have not led to greater and better conditions for global markets, nor ended wars or improved living standards. Nevertheless many progressives are pleased by Trump's failures even though they are not beneficiaries.

homepage: homepage: http://dissidentvoice.org/2018/11/president-trumps-presidency-results-and-perspectives/
address: address: DissidentVoice


You Act like they give a fuck about improving the Human Condition You Dumbass! 23.Nov.2018 00:59

Tracy Mapes

Wake the Fuck Up!

RE: "improving the human condition"— 23.Nov.2018 01:16

_

yes Tracy, agreed that Trump and-or the system he currently chief-executizes never, ever was 'concerned' with "the human condition"
( whatever that might be... even to the likes of Trump et al. )

Trump, furthermore, doesn't have to care.

After leaving the White House
(even if he decides to up-'n'-quit tomorrow; or is 'impeached' in the next several months and "forced to leave office"... no, <— that ain't gonna happen, but just sayin'...)
he's just going to go back to Trump real estate industries and continue with that for the rest of his life.

He already has independent wealth and a 'career' (to fall back on). That, in total to him, is the "human condition" (i.e. for all the talk about "America first" and 'populist billionaire' pandering-2-the-masses rhetoric) and all that matters in the end.

Occupation of the white house, for DT personally, ain't that big of a deal. Not nearly as big of a deal, as Occupying the White House really and truly is for the likes of Career (lawyer-)Politicians such as his predecessors.

It's a _huge_ deal to them and their cronies for the setting and course-correcting of agendas. Trump's ascendance to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue set all of that out of whack and off-track.

The Rule of Law 23.Nov.2018 05:09

Robert Reich

The Rule of Law
Donald Trump
by Robert Reich | November 23, 2018 — from Robert Reich's Blog

Democracies depend on what's known as the "rule of law." It's based on three fundamental principles. Trump is violating every one of them.

The first is that no person is above the law, not even a president. Which means a president cannot stop an investigation into his alleged illegal acts.

Yet in recent weeks Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who at least had possessed enough integrity to recuse himself from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Trump's possible collusion with Russia in the 2016 election, and replaced him with an inexperienced loyalist hack, Matthew G. Whitaker - whose only distinction to date has been loud and public condemnation of the investigation. As a conservative legal commentator on CNN, Whitaker even suggested that a clever attorney general could secretly starve the investigation of funds.

There's no question why Trump appointed Whitaker. When asked by the Daily Caller, Trump made it clear: "As far as I'm concerned this is an investigation that should have never been brought. It should have never been had... . It's an illegal investigation."

The second principle of the rule of law is a president cannot prosecute political opponents or critics. Decisions about whom to prosecute for alleged criminal wrongdoing must be made by prosecutors who are independent of politics.

Yet Trump has repeatedly pushed the Justice Department to bring charges against Hillary Clinton, his 2016 rival, for using a private email server when she was Secretary of State, in alleged violation of the Presidential Records Act.

During his campaign, Trump led crowds in chanting "lock her up," called Clinton "crooked Hillary," and threatened to prosecute her if he was elected president.

After taking office, according to the New York Times, Trump told White House counsel Donald McGahn he wanted the Justice Department to prosecute Clinton. McGahn responded that Trump didn't have the authority to do so, and such action might even lead to impeachment.

Yet Trump has continued to press Justice Department officials - including Whitaker, when he served as Sessions's chief of staff - about the status of Clinton-related investigations.

Never mind that Trump's senior adviser and daughter, Ivanka Trump sent hundreds messages on her private email server to government employees and aides that detailed government business, policies, and proposals. Or that other Trump officials have used their private email to conduct official business as well.

Breaking the rule of law doesn't require consistency. It requires only a thirst for power at whatever cost.

The third principle of the rule of law is that a president must be respectful of the independence of the judiciary.

Yet Trump has done the opposite, openly ridiculing judges who disagree with him in order to fuel public distrust of them - as he did when he called the judge who issued the first federal ruling against his travel ban a "so-called" judge.

Last week Trump referred derisively to the judge who put a hold on Trump's plan for refusing to consider asylum applications an "Obama judge," and railed against the entire ninth circuit. "You go the 9th Circuit and it's a disgrace," he said. He also issued a subtle threat: "It's not going to happen like this anymore."

In an unprecedented public rebuke of a sitting president, John Roberts, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, condemned Trump's attack. "We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges," Roberts said. "What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them. That independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for."

Trump immediately shot back: "Sorry Chief Justice John Roberts, but you do indeed have 'Obama judges,' and they have a much different point of view than the people who are charged with the safety of our country." This was followed by another Trump threat: "Much talk over dividing up the 9th Circuit into 2 or 3 Circuits. Too big!"

Almost a half-century ago, another president violated these three basic principles of the rule of law. Richard Nixon tried to obstruct the Watergate investigation, pushed the Justice Department to prosecute his political enemies, and took on the judiciary.

But America wouldn't allow it. The nation rose up in outrage. Nixon resigned before Congress impeached him.

The question before us is whether this generation of Americans will have the strength and wisdom to do the same.


These People were never in Paradise 23.Nov.2018 05:23

Tracy Mapes

...but they are victims of a fire that has burned everyday since Our Nation was formed. The Fire of Economics.

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=poFiX-VyVYk

I asked the City of Sacramento for an appropriate response to a lack of Toilet Facilities and Garbage pick-up. The Answer?

To Clear them from the Streets, and Push them out of Public Sight. We Have No Qualified or Sensible Leadership.

I see that the People displaced by the Paradise Fire, are asked to move along after 1 week. We as a Nation Protect Dogs better.

Our Street Population appears to maintain a 70-80% Black Male Adult make-up. Disparity is most noticeable at this time in history.

Humanitarian needs should be placed over partisan political ambitions, whether at the local or national level.

Justice Roberts so-called (by Reich/leftists) "rebuke" of DT — 23.Nov.2018 12:53

_

Roberts, along with Alito,

were the ones who assented for SCOTUS approval of the Citizens United decision.

i.e. they are Corporate sellouts, who blatantly represent the Corporate Capitalist Plutocracy for life on the Supreme Court of the United States.


( now that the Mueller / "Russia, Russia" conspiracy has run its course, Democrats and centrist-leftists continue their impeachment fantasies with obsessions of : "but, but, but the courts and 'Law' are on our side" .... Trump has done absolutely zero that would even remotely justify or bring about successful impeachment and removal-from-office... further, who replaces Trump once he's hypothetically 'removed'? It's a laughably bad sequel to "Russia, Russia". )



as to Robert Reich and his blog, he has zero credibility in the twenty-first century.

for a brief moment Reich agreed (in a mid-2016 broadcast interview  http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2016/07/432859.shtml at the time of the Democrat treachery with Bernie Sanders and presidential nomination) with further-left Chris Hedges that a Third political party was required.

But unlike Hedges, Reich continues to believe that 'the Democrats are the only hope' for "opposition" even as Reich continues to rail against selected aspects of Corporate Capitalism while refusing to deal with the Plutocracy elites (such as his newfound 'friend' Justice Roberts who is a bastion of Corporate Capitalist Plutocracy on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Watch carefully the ^ July 2016 interview linked above; Reich is unwilling to condemn the Democratic Party, Deb Wasserman-Schultz etc. for their treachery and rigging of the Democratic Primary and sabotage of Bernie Sanders [<— WHICH HAS NOTHING TO DO, PER SE, WITH SANDERS as a candidate in that instance but Absolutely Everything to do with the democratic process itself, "rule of law" and "thirst for power at whatever cost" which Robert Reich purports to be so concerned with in his blog post].

addendum RE: "rule of law", Justice Roberts remarks / exchange with DT 24.Nov.2018 15:40

_

to reiterate, Robert Reich's editorial-blog post is jumping on the "See?! Trump is *outside* The Law!" / "we've got Watergate 2.0!"
bandwagon. He is also duped by perceiving, somehow, that Justice Roberts is having some sort of 'constitutional quarrel' with the president over "basic principles" and therefore is 'on his [Reich's / impeachers] side' in regards to Trump.
Reich has, characteristically (for him) and hysterically assumed that Roberts is not only on his-our "side" but also that (somehow...?) a armageddon-ish Clash of Titans is afoot, in this exchange.


Justice Roberts here is merely making the case for an independent judiciary, in the broadest possible sense (of U.S. government foundational principles).

Trump's 'beef' —> here in his Tweets is specifically with the *9th Circuit* (lower courts') decisions, many of which have had to do with immigration enforcement/law. The 9th Circuit has been one of the most, if not the most, overturned circuit by the United States Supreme Court over the past few decades (due to the politically-biased nature of so many of its rulings).

Roberts, of course, knows and is well aware of ^ this (9th Circuit's politically motivated 'legislating-from-the-bench' precedents, handed down by 'activist judges' of one-or-another political orientation); he's not going to either state it directly, or allude to it in his exchange / remarks directed at the president. Justice Roberts' job, as a Chief SC Justice is to "stand up" for the judiciary branch and judicial process itself in an overall and broad manner. Hence his remarks.



Someone on another board made the observations copied below —
( N.B. + fwiw for me, it sums up what the Roberts-Trump exchange is all about in essence... I don't happen to agree politically or Pluto-cratically with Justice Roberts, the co-enabler with Justice Alito of Citizens United, but as far as overall judicial and Law Process go I have zero problem with these remarks ) :
______________________________________


[QUOTE]
Roberts has a point; he feels his primary job as Head Judge is first & foremost to ensure that people keep looking to the courts as trustworthy arbiters --even if that's complete horseshit-- because otherwise the rule o law goes completely out the window and stuff starts happening without even flimsy legal excuses. So you have to pretend that the guy in Hawaii who makes prejudicial statements about Trump's policies before they are announced, before ruling against them, isn't a symptom of the courts failing. Because once you start picking & choosing which courts are 'good' or 'bad,' then the other half of the country will come to the opposite conclusion, and we end up with diametrically opposed, openly hostile court systems. End of days, cats & dogs living together type stuff.

Now, whether you agree that defending the courts themselves is his primary job, a separate issue. I personally think that adhering to the Constitution --which also includes blasting political hack lower-level judges out of the water-- is both his primary job and contributes to the legitimacy & authority of the court. Roberts clearly thinks that the court needs to exercise a very gentle and careful hand to maintain its illusion of authority, because he obviously does not believe high court edicts carry much weight at this point. Hard to blame him on that front seeing how blatantly Heller has been ignored since the day the opinion was issued.

If several of these problematic circuit court judges were found in contempt & relieved of duty by federal officers (ie a SCOTUS and POTUS team effort) and the effort was truly limited to the most obnoxious actors, I do believe that most of the others would tone down their activist efforts a bit out of self-preservation. I hope we don't continue down our current path, because it's going to end like (IIRC) Pakistan where a popular or military-backed strongman gets in & disbands the court system completely, and implements his own replacement without proper oversight. We shouldn't be letting things get bad enough that such drastic & permanent measures become necessary.

nah 24.Nov.2018 17:37

Clyde

By various estimates, Russia's military is usually ranked #2 or #3 in the world. They are able to extend that power beyond their borders. A failed state does not fall into that category.

Wrong again (and per usual) Clyde — 24.Nov.2018 23:52

_

List
Rank Country % of World share
1 United States 35.0
2 People's Republic of China 13.0
3 Saudi Arabia 4.0
4 Russia 3.8

______________


Russia is (almost entirely) land locked. Therefore its naval power, and projection of naval power suffers. As does its corresponding ability to have broad based and robust trade channels.

Economically, the only thing which has 'boosted' the Russian regime in the post-1980s era is access to certain oil-and-gas resources (primarily in Siberia). Other than this oil-gas "richness" Russia is not a global leader in manufacturing or high technologies (though it has just enough competence and resources in those fields to not be overly reliant on imports from other states).

Anyway, just having a large _sized_ military does not reflect accurately on the _readiness_ or wide effectiveness of that military power.
Russian military force is a dilapidated wreck, and China has become much more modernized and strenghtened in comparison over the past 3 decades.

States must _expend_ (cost) in order to keep their military forces at top readiness. This required expenditure is something that Russia has not been doing, consistently or effectively, since the end of the Cold War and fall of Berlin Wall. Especially in comparison with the U.S., its NATO allies or China.


Having an overall GDP which is less than either of the U.S. states of Texas, California or New York, there isn't much you can effectively do to begin with.


p.s. Clyde you posted this Russia comment on the wrong topic:  http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2018/11/436876.shtml#454414

Economist Joseph Stiglitz: Trump has fascist tendencies, Nov 2017 27.Nov.2018 17:34

www.therealnews.com


Ready for President Pelosi? 12.Dec.2018 14:19

Thom Hartmann

 https://www.rawstory.com/2018/12/ready-president-pelosi-trump-pence-go-unprecedented-impeachment/?fbclid=IwAR2HYzCBd2vXyedi4FmyD4a2WYsk78hdBCLVwfq1URdST6iVyHUhXVFuFkc

Ready for President Pelosi? Trump and Pence could both go down in unprecedented impeachment

Thom Hartmann, Independent Media Institute - COMMENTARY

So, now that we know that Donald Trump and Mike Pence reached the White House through at least two specific and separate criminal conspiracies, what do we do about it?

Can they be removed from office? Can the election be done over? Can the Trump/Pence administration's actions over the past two years be reversed, particularly the appointments of Gorsuch and Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court and all the damage to our federal agencies?

According to federal court filings last week from the Southern District of New York, and from the Special Counsel's office, Donald Trump and Michael Cohen criminally conspired to hide from the American people the fact that Trump had sexual relations immediately after the birth of his son Baron with both Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, and that his affair with McDougal lasted about a year.

Had Republican voters known about those affairs long before Trump gained the momentum he did during the period of the cover-up, Trump wouldn't have become the GOP's nominee and would now be back to playing the roles of a faux billionaire and a reality TV star.