Chief Editor: Ansar Mahmood Bhatti

Testing times for America under Donald Trump by Ansar M Bhatti

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Within a little over a week in the Oval Office, Donald Trump perhaps the most controversial President in the making, has already started making headlines. A flurry of executive orders continued unabated, giving birth to innumerable controversies and heated debates. Hitherto, he is regarded as a man who wants to turn America into a fortress by erecting walls and ex-communicating with the outer world, in the name of protecting and preserving the national interest of America and the Americans. Analysts fear, with this ostrich-like approach of Mr. Trump could lead towards alienation of the US both at home and aboard.As Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States, thousands of protesters showed up near the inauguration ceremony to express their disapproval for the new leader.  The protesters tried to block the access to the inauguration venue.

Violent protests on the day of oath taking are something unique in the US history.  Some activists smashed store and car windows in Washington near the inauguration ceremony and fought the police in riot gear, who responded with pepper spray and stun grenades.  “We wanted to show solidarity with anti-Trump activists who want pro-immigrant policies to be implemented in the United States,” Maria Hannun told media. She was holding “Woman in Hijab” creation by famous artist Shepard Fairey who had shot to fame with Obama’s “Hope” posters in 2009. Maria is a student of Arabic and literature at the George Town University in Washington. These are just a few examples of public reaction to the elevation of Trump as the President of the United States of America – currently the sole super power in the world. But will it honourably maintain this sole super power  status during Donald Trump’s presidency is now a mind boggling question?

Trump’s inaugural speech started off fairly well but his outright remark to fight Islamic radical terrorism as a big challenge, let the impact of his otherwise ‘balanced’ speech evaporate into thin air. By saying so, he in fact supported the notion like many others that terrorism is Islam-specific only. What we have seen in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, and now in Syria is of course not Islamic radical terrorism. It is terrorism inflicted upon Muslims by the non-Muslims, killing tens of thousands of innocent people

An executive order to curb all manner of entry into the US for seven Muslim countries has obviously evoked fierce backlash in many countries. American airports are full of protestors against the move while a civil rights group has obtained a temporary stay order. Lawyers are working pro bono to provide legal assistance to those stranded at various US airports. Germany, France and Canada have criticized the move including leading law makers who are in open opposition. Regretfully, the Muslim countries are conspicuous by their silence which exemplifies the pathetic state of the Muslim world, the OIC, GCC and Arab League. The matter has been left to the public the world over to challenge the unjust decree of the US ruler.

Donald Trump’s “biased” approach towards Muslims will land him in serious trouble in the coming days, unless he makes genuine efforts to mend fences

The American establishment appears wary of Trump’s policies, particularly with regards to his stance on foreign affairs that smacks of making America a fortress cut off from the outer world, and will only provide its  competitors ample opportunities in improving their status in the world politics.  US is a super power because it has spread its tentacles in all those regions where it thinks meddling is imperative to preserve and strengthen its super power status. The Trump doctrine appears a departure from this. He wants to put things in order at home first, which logically speaking, appears to be a rational approach.  However, according to US foreign policy mandarins, this approach may prove suicidal when it comes to managing the foreign affairs. And perhaps that is why some key foreign policy personnel have chosen to resign rather than work with the new administration

Although, Europe with the exception of a few countries is considered the staunchest ally of America when it comes to managing world affairs and bullying the weak nations, appears apprehensive over the Trump doctrine. The UK Prime Minister immediately flew to Washington to meet the President and perhaps to bring him round that his election rhetoric if implemented would create grave problems for the US and its allies. US-UK relationship is deep rooted and has always been closely knit, a status that will remain unchanged during the Trump presidency because both can ill-afford the impact of strained relations. Undoubtedly, in countries like France, Germany and part of Eastern and Central Europe, Trump’s professed polices will not evince outright support, a small reflection of which has seen over the travel ban issue.

The interesting aspect of the start of Trump’s presidency will be the course that he adopts for relations with Russia. There is already much discussion about Russians hacking the US presidential election results that enabled Trump to occupy the highest office. Last week Trump called Russian President Putin and discussed with him the future course of bilateral ties. Some analysts believe, Donald Trump could be a Russian Trojan horse in the US – a remark that the new American administration considers preposterous!