If America’s standing in the globe as the “leader of the free world” has been on shaky grounds following its disastrous wars post-9/11, US president Donald Trump has ensured that whatever little credibility it may still have enjoyed among European allies and the United Nations, is totally ruined. His messy and bloody military adventure in Libya via the CIA-trained General Haftar, is reflective of the growing alienation with international conventions his administration is being viewed with.
Trump’s decision to finance and equip Haftar with sophisticated weapons including fighter jets, has met with fierce resistance from the UN-recognized government. That the military attempt via a bloody coup to install Haftar has failed thus far, the ongoing bloodletting is further indication that Trump will defiantly pursue his regime-change agenda regardless of innocent lives being lost.
Policies of lose-lose have characterized Trump since his inception and if the electoral strength of his rightwing white supremacists persists, his second term may turn out to be worse. America’s leadership will remain firmly stuck in the hands of neocons and Israel’s equally racist colonialists. Trumpism has outstripped Machiavellism. And unlike the false sophistry of previous administrations particularly that of Clinton and Obama, Trump’s buffoonery is blatantly associated with visible layers of arrogance, deceit, corruption and disdain.
His illegal intervention in Venezuela is further evidence of rampant power gone astray. It is to be expected of hoodlums, which is what Trump’s gung-ho meddling in the affairs of other nations defines him as. Venezuela has been engulfed with a civil war as Trump’s men put the squeeze on the military to abandon President Maduro.
Rightwing hawks including John Bolton have demanded that senior military officials pull the rug to allow US-backed Guaido to assume power and control of the oil-rich country. A coup is underway whether the world likes it or not, is the blunt message emanating from the White House. Apart from creating civil strife in Libya and Venezuela, Trump’s mafia-type operation can also be gauged by his apparent blackmailing of Ecuador.
The case of Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange and how Ecuador traded him for a loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), illustrates the danger to whistleblowers resulting from Washington’s control of the IMF. You can’t get an IMF loan unless the United States (read Donald Trump) approves it – upon agreement to remove Assange from the Equadorian Embassy.
US military involvement in Saudi Arabia’s disastrous war in Yemen, under the direct command of Trump, is another case in point. Though Congress voted in favour of a resolution to end US support, Trump vetoed it. His calculation is obviously based on the trade-offs he can and has secured with Saudi crown prince Mohamed bin Salman (MbS).
Now that a new UN-commissioned report shows that the impact of the US-backed Saudi war of aggression on civilians, particularly children, is far worse than previous assessments, its left to be seen whether Congress will vote to overturn Trump’s veto. While it appears that American-based commentators, who by the way are a tickey-a-dozen on CNN, FOX and most media outlets, are pitted against each other in attempts to either rationalize or ridicule Trump’s actions, the Donald show moves on in a blaze of fiery rhetoric and unilateral action.
Recently Trump made one of his trademark boisterous remarks about Saudi Arabia, claiming he warned King Salman he would not last in power for “two weeks” without the backing of the US military. While it may be undiplomatic, the House of Saud knows only too well that it is true. Not only is it a confirmation of the devastating reach American imperialism has, it also says to the world that Trump and his group of thugs do not care about respecting civilized values.
In the case of Iran, Trump has boasted that not only does he trust Netanyahu’s allegations despite his own intelligence agencies disputing Israel’s so-called “evidence”, he is willing to sacrifice American soldiers on behalf of Zionist ideals. Sanctions against Iran coupled with threats of a full scale war, in abject compliance with Israel’s dictates, have the potential to plunge the world to levels of unprecedented chaos and instability. Consequences of it hold the promise of a horror movie, except that it will be a reality.
Trump’s unilateral decision to breakout of Iran’s nuclear agreement has not been favourably met by Europe. But Trump’s recklessness knows no bounds. That he has done so to satisfy Netanyahu, with the full knowledge of turning his administration into a pariah in the eyes of European signatories is not a secret. Trump’s disdain for international conventions and humanitarian laws is unfortunately not only confined to the countries and regions mentioned above. His outrageous assault on Palestinian rights confirms how repugnant and depraved Trump’s administration is.
To bring Palestinians into line, and to force a Saudi-backed Bantustan leadership to accept whatever bizarre version of ‘peace’ Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner has plotted in league with Netanyahu, Trump has taken several steps aimed at intimidating the PA. These include the cutting of $200 million in direct aid to Gaza and the West Bank, and the freezing of another $300 million dollars provided annually to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA).
To illustrate how determined Trump is to reign as America’s undisputed rogue leader, look no further than his arbitrary decree to “grant” Jerusalem, the Golan and now the Occupied West Bank to the region’s colonial settler regime Israel. A foreign intervention which not only defies UNSC resolutions, but also “gifts” Netanyahu what he and fellow Zionists plotted to expand Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise. Trump’s single-minded goal to reshape the world in his image will ultimately become his albatross. But until then, fueling wars and conflicts in pursuance of undisguised white supremacist hegemony will continue to take a toll on human lives.
Iqbal Jassat is an Executive Member of the Media Review Network based in Johannesburg, South Africa.