US President Donald Trump has been thrust into the center of international affairs since his November victory. Having limited experience in the area of foreign policy, Mr. Trump must prove himself to be a quick study as he is the target of those who wish to exploit his naivety in order to serve their interests and agendas. Unfortunately, the issues of the International Community are infinitely complex. Not only are the conflicts of interests between international actors a tangled mess, it is terribly difficult to access what are the true interests of the United States, which is what Donald Trump must address as the US President.
Russia and the Middle East, specially the Islamic State threat nurtured by the Syrian Civil War, are attracting the greatest amount of attention. For Donald Trump, Russian hostility is a far less pressing issue than the threat of the Islamic State and globalized terrorism. It is, however, important to remember the Islamic State is a far more pressing concern for those in Middle East and Africa, as well as Europe and Asia, due to their geographical proximity to the unstable region. The United States does have interests in Iraq and Syria, specially ensuring the Islamic State does not become a far more serious threat to the US, but it is not the role of the US to win this conflict nor is this conflict going to end quickly.
The Obama Administration in December of 2014 announced it intended to normalize diplomatic relations with Cuba, after months of secret talks, to the surprise of everyone. Given the Cold War ended nearly three decades ago, the US has had a working relationship with Russia since then, and we live in a dynamic world that continually forces the United States to overcome serious rifts with other nations, easing the nearly 55 year-old Cuban Embargo and restarting US-Cuban relations seemed like a seriously overdue policy change. There was, however, still the Castro issue. That is until the world learned of Fidel Castro’s death on November, 26 2016.
Recognizing the United Nations recently undertook its annual vote to condemn the US embargo of Cuba in late October, it is clear that the world wants the United States to improve relations with Cuba. To boot, a revival in Cuban-American relations is seen as a symbolic and necessary part of reengaging Latin and South America, where the world’s fiercest critics of the Cuban Embargo and the United States reside. In a broader context, mending fences with Communist Cuba may help the US dispel a perception that America is a hypocritical bully of weaker nations that do not conform to its whims, which will, in turn, help the US combat Russian and other anti-American PR. There is, however, now the issue of Donald Trump.
Donald Trump is a man beloved by his supporters and loathed by his critics. Where supporters speculate on the success of his Presidency based largely on his “greatness” and critics foresee the apocalypse based on the controversies he tends to inspire, the truth is that no one can know whether US President Donald Trump will be a success or failure. What makes it particularly difficult to predict Trump’s fortune is his tendency to be unpredictable when it comes to changing his positions and views.
In regards to trade and diplomatic relations, the uncertainty Trump inspires offers the US leverage: President Trump is always prepared to walk away from a deal he finds disagreeable. On the other hand, the uncertainty generated by Mr. Trump makes people nervous, which tends to lead to problems. Although the specific policies and actions of the Trump Administration cannot be predicted, understanding the motivation and objectives behind Mr. Trump’s approach to governance can offer clarity and help foster constructive engagement with the Trump Administration.
Thanksgiving to Christmas marks the Holiday Season for the American People, but the message is universal and timeless. Altruism is a virtue that should be embraced in all aspects of life. As the Hand of the People, citizens must ensure government reflects this characteristic. For political leaders like Donald Trump, who wants to “Made America Great,” this means tackling issues like poverty. Because handouts will always fall short of the need, this means retooling the economy to uplift average people with more and better paying opportunities. This starts with an understanding of poverty that most, especially billionaires, tend to lack.
The views of the higher socioeconomic classes on poverty are largely built on a series of intellectual exercises, thus they tend to understand economic disenfranchisement only in pieces and lack the intuitive understanding needed to offer a comprehensive vision of how to address the issues of those who are limited by their circumstances and the thinking their circumstances instill. As such, the Middle Class and affluent do not comprehend the psychological of the disadvantaged and disenfranchised well enough to comprehend the limitations the growing poor classes must overcome. This means they alone cannot develop solutions that actually address these roadblocks, which includes roadblocks that seem trivial to the more advantaged.
US President Donald Trump is a very wealthy man. He also has many wealthy friends and associates who achieved success in various sectors of the economy. Like any leader, Donald Trump is inclined to tap the advice of those he knows and those who know how to be successful. Where it is natural for elected officials to reach out to experts, the bias and limitation of experts can also blindside public officials to serious problems and critical faults of public policy solutions. Hailing from a similar background as many of advisers, a man like Donald Trump is inclined to easily agree with many of his advisers, which means he must be particularly careful when developing public policies.
Alleged “pro-business economic policies,” for example, often provide cosmetic results that portray a healthy economy in the short-term, even when much of the economy is either ailing or on the verge of collapse. The old mantra, “what is good for GM,” or any major corporation, “is good for America,” has become less true in far fewer situations. Today, what benefits a corporation can easily hurt small businesses and individuals. Removing trade barriers, for example, encourages corporations to outsource their operations, unless the costs of governance, worker safety, pollution, and so on are displaced onto citizens, the environment, and small businesses that cannot outsource. In essence, tariff free trade policies create a harmful tax on those who support our domestic economy, instead of those simply exploiting the domestic economy.
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