Today, on April 29, one may celebrate Trump’s hundred days in office, if somebody is still in the mood for celebration after what we’ve seen so far. It’s true that the hundred-day marker is never an absolutely reliable indicator of a four-year term that we can expect, yet, it can make one’s evaluation of the kind of a political leader we dealing with. And it should be noted that Trump’s victory was a major surprise for hundreds of political analysts across the world, so a detailed analysis is long overdue.
It’s been noted by various analysts that Trump won election using a campaign that flouted norms of political decorum and relied heavily on social media to spread his, at times, controversial messages.
The line that Trump chose to follow is that of an unprincipled, cocky, value-free rebel who will insult, stiff, or betray anyone to achieve his gaudiest purposes, the New Yorker argues. But what was once a parochial amusement is now a national and global peril. Trump flouts truth and liberal values so brazenly that he undermines the country he has been elected to serve and the stability he is pledged to insure. His bluster creates a generalized anxiety such that the President of the United States can appear to be scarcely more reliable than any of the world’s autocrats. Trump’s way of acting like a clown while lying at the same time is not a joke; it is a strategy, a way of clouding our capacity to think, to live in a realm of truth.
It’s already been noted that Trump appears to strut through the world forever studying his own image. He is unserious, unfocussed, and, at times, it seems, unhinged. His Administration is not so much a team of rivals as it is a new form of reality entertainment: “The Circular Firing Squad.”
During his first hundred days in office, Trump has not done away with populist rhetoric, but he has acted almost entirely as a plutocrat. His Cabinet and his cast of advisers are stocked with multimillionaires and billionaires. Trump seems to believe that foreign affairs require only modest depths of thought. It’s the generals who are the authoritative voices in his Administration.
The New Yorker would go even further by claiming that the way that Trump has established his family members in positions of power and profit is redolent of tin-pot dictatorships. He may waver on matters of ideology, but his commitment to the family firm is unshakable and resists ethical norms. The conflicts and the privileges are shameless, the potential revenues unthinkable.
However, the 45th US President was fast to discover that running state and foreign affairs can be way more challenging that he could initially assume. Around the globe Donald Trump has been cavalierly deploying troops and weapons, claiming such military actions are designed to send political messages, the Foreign Policy in Focus reports. Yet, not one of these actions was necessary. Not one will make people in the US — let alone the Afghans, Iraqis, Syrians, Yemenis, Somalis, or others — any safer. Neither was any of these actions sanctioned by Congress: All violated the War Powers Act, and indeed the Constitution itself, which puts the power to declare war in the hands of the people’s representatives.
Moreover, it’s been noted that Trump’s actions represent a major escalation in every one of those devastated nations. According to the British human rights monitor AirWars, well over 1,000 civilians may have been killed by American forces just in Iraq and Syria last March alone, the highest monthly total to date. Still, none of this is in service of any actual policy, it’s just a case of warmongering. It’s also a sort of a message to the US population.
In one of its articles Bloomberg View tries to establish how much Trump has in common with Mussolini, the fascist Italian dictator of the WWII era, noting that traditionally, fascism is the marriage of corporate and military elites with an authoritarian leader. Thus, Trump’s rebellion against liberal values is not a local event; it is part of a disturbing global trend.
The latest Gallup poll shows that the approval of Trump’s first hundred days in office at home has hit a record low. The absolute majority of younger Americans are completely dissatisfied with Trump’s figure, as it’s been reported by Newsmax.
Yet, most politicians in the US were too late to recognize the fact that fighting Trump back may be a tricky business. Even if the US president drops some of his most brutal promises, he still commands a Republican Congress, and he is still going to score some distressing political victories.
Jean Périer is an independent researcher and analyst and a renowned expert on the Near and Middle East, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”