The Trump virus | The Journal de Québec

In recent months, a new and powerful virus has been traveling the world, keeping the entire planet on the alert. But for almost four years, another equally dangerous virus has been causing panic in international relations: the Trump virus. It doesn’t seem easy to get rid of it, but we may know its final fate next November.

Based on the reading of thousands of documents, Charles-Philippe David, professor of political science at UQAM, points out how the arrival of Trump at the White House completely transformed the way of governing from the most great military power in the world. With Trump, “national interest merges with personal interest, decisions of one day no longer hold the next, one thing and its opposite are said on the same issue”. David speaks of a veritable “infection” caused by the “Trump virus”, the extent of which cannot yet be measured, especially in matters of foreign policy. Even the closest advisers no longer know which way to dance and seek to distance themselves so as not to be infected. The result is that the reputation of the United States in the world takes a serious blow and that this country finds itself more and more alone because of its inconsistent and dangerous decisions.

According to David, Trump rivals audacity and contradictions. He wants to do more while withdrawing from certain international missions. We saw this very recently with the World Health Organization (OSM). “America first,” he claims, in an obvious desire to close in on himself by protectionist measures, but at the same time he seeks to impose his superiority everywhere outside his borders. We have thus been in a unique situation since 1945: “that of a superpower increasingly isolated in the international system”.

The Trump doctrine, which leaves little room for diplomacy and cooperation, would be a “finger of honor” to the rest of the world, but especially to the American democrats, Barack Obama at the head, Trump striving to demolish all that the ex-president had set up. So much so that one could nickname this doctrine: “constantly do the opposite of Obama.”

Now the law of the jungle prevails. The strongest wolves compete for loot. To reassure its base, the United States must give the illusion of winning in all negotiations, even at the cost of spectacular and irrational flip-flops, to make the president look good. There are no more lasting alliances. Far from overly restrictive international organizations with their contributions, their regulations, their instructions, their obligations and duties. Short term and improvisation prevail at the expense of strategic interests. Some speak of “strategic myopia”.

“Trump first”

You quickly realize that the national interest must coincide with the personal interest of Trump, a true “free electron”, according to many. ” America first Would be “Trump first”. Never seen. “Trump thinks he is the country,” said a seasoned reporter.

Preferring the economic weapon – let us think of all these severe sanctions that it imposes on companies that dare to challenge the blockades against Cuba, Venezuela or Iran – to the military weapon, Trump would have adopted the famous phrase of Theodore Roosevelt: “Speak softly, but wield a big stick. The loss of confidence is so widespread that the word of the most powerful man in the world is worth nothing.

While the United States has shown leadership in international organizations for decades, with Trump, the United States prefers to withdraw. This policy of disengagement can only weaken the role of the United States in the world. It is no longer “America first,” but rather “America last,” said Professor David. Reasoned diplomacy gave way to improvised tweets submitted “to the moods of its author”.

Charles-Philippe David draws an almost catastrophic assessment of the current international politics of the United States and a disturbing portrait of the president. If the worst has not yet happened, it is to be feared if he is re-elected next November.

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