A Year Under Trump (1/23/18)

This past weekend, President Donald Trump celebrated the anniversary of his inauguration. It marked a full year of his time as President.

Throughout the weekend, numerous women’s marches took place, attacking the President and also empowering numerous women to seek positions of power.

The President himself commented on the women’s marches, but I’m not quite sure he read the marches correctly.

Women’s March in Boston (Pic: Jesse Costa/WBUR)

So, what has one year under Trump been like?

Well, from an economic standpoint, there has been record success. Per Fox Business, the Dow Jones surpassed 26k for the first time in history, making it an all-time high. Throughout Trump’s first year, the Dow saw a constant increase culminating in the record number. Unemployment also reached 4.1%, with around two million American jobs being added in 2017.  Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress finally were able to pass tax cuts.

While it’s too much to give all the credit to the sitting president for the economic success of the country (as former presidents Reagan and Clinton seem to get), praise should still be given to the sitting commander-in-chief – yet, praise seems largely absent when the news media talks about Trump.

Why is this the case?

For starters, President Trump remains as divisive, if not more, as he was when he was first elected. This can easily be seen through Trump’s foreign policy agenda.

For example, Trump maintained an aggressive stance towards North Korea, as the country became increasingly hostile and threatening towards the U.S. with its nuclear missile program. While some were proud of the President for showing true “American might” and standing up to threats on the world stage, many also criticized the President, claiming he was dangerously playing with fire.

Trump distanced himself from several European allies and from NATO. If you’re an America-first type of person, then you were happy for the focus Trump put on Americans and domestic policy. However, if you are a firm believer in America’s presence in European affairs, you felt Trump turned his back on our allies in Europe, at a time when the continent needs all the support it can get.

Trump distanced the U.S. from several European allies, culminating in Merkel (right) calling for a change in the world leading force (Pic: NYT)

Let’s not even get started on immigration.

Trump’s Muslim ban and his views on illegal and legal immigration continue to polarize, and it’s clear that the media is there to attack him on these policies at every chance.

Domestically, Trump battled with Republicans and Democrats alike throughout his first year. Trump had to deal with Establishment Republicans, like McConnell and Ryan, alt-right Nationalists, like Bannon, and Democrats, like Schumer and Pelosi, who were continually attacking him. Trump lost several key red states like Alabama and Virginia in special elections, further emphasising the critical importance of the 2018 midterms for the Trump Administration.  Issues like DACA, healthcare, and gun control continued to further the blue and red divide, and issues over budget funding ultimately culminated in the recent government shutdown.

If you couldn’t tell from reading, the nation is more split and divided than ever.

And that’s the one word that dominates Trump first year in office: divided.

Never in American history, maybe since the days of the Civil War, has the U.S. been so polarized. The United States is in the midst of an extreme political divide, and Trump, for the most part, has not done his part to bridge the divide and bring the sides together.

He continues to appeal only to his core base, as if he’s given up on working across party lines. He uses divisive and sometimes mean-spirited speech to stir up his base and anger his enemies.

And he doesn’t seem to be changing any time soon.






Does the world still need U.S. leadership? (1/1/18)


As we look to the new year, many news media outlets are reporting that 2018 will be the first year in over seven decades that the world does not look to the U.S. for leadership. Under 45th President Donald Trump, the U.S. has taken a much more isolationist stance in the world, and leaders around the globe are looking to other countries for leadership.

Whether or not the U.S. is still the “championed leader” that it was after World War II is debatable, but the essential question remains: does the world still need U.S.  leadership?

After WWII, the world was in need of a leader. It was in shambles and needed a beacon of democracy and freedom to guide broken nations away from the evils of the Axis powers. 

The U.S. was able to fill this role, and even though the then U.S.S.R opposed the United States in the Cold War, America still stood at the helm.

But, seventy-three years after the end of World War II, times have changed greatly.

george marshall.jpg
Former Secretary of State George C. Marshall. After the war, Marshall became a symbol of the U.S. democratic leadership after he constructed the Marshall Plan, which involved rebuilding Europe and spreading U.S. influence.

It isn’t as simple as standing up to bully nations who are looking to invade others and acquire mass territories. No, the problems of today are much more complex and nuanced, and there aren’t straightforward solutions. 

In 1992, Samuel Huntington proposed the “clash of civilisations” theory. The belief was that cultural and religious differences would be the cause of conflict post- Cold War, rather than from differing ideologies or nationalities. 

In the post-Cold War era, it’s hard to deny this theory. 

Since the growth of Islamic fundamentalism in the 1990s, the present day world has been dominated by religious extremism. September 11 changed the way the world viewed terrorism, and its aftermath divided the world. Throughout the world, people rise and revolt when they feel their cultures and beliefs are being threatened.

The events on Sept. 11 changed the world, and the U.S. counter-terrorism response since has divided the world after costly wars in the Persian Gulf. (Pic: Time)

And when such conflicts arise, there’s no way to stop them. 

In the increasingly globalized and multicultural world, there are no more true identities. With migration and immigration, millions of different people from various backgrounds and religions live together all over the world.

So, how can you declare war on a religion or a culture if it is present all over the world, and even in your own country?

The truth is, you can’t, and not even the greatest nation in the world, the United States, can figure out a straightforward solution.

Democracy has spread throughout all parts of the globe. People are becoming more empowered everyday and are increasingly challenging governments to protect their individual rights. The United States is an example of democracy at its finest, and is what nations will look to model themselves after, but it is not needed in this mega-leadership role that it once desperately was. The root problems of the world have changed, and it isn’t as simple as “good vs. evil” or “free vs. unfree.” 

The U.S. is still the greatest nation in the world. It should still be replicated for its technological and media innovations, its world class secondary education, and its fabulous sports teams. But, in a world where questions like “what is the best way to combat terrorism” or “why is my culture being attacked” are being asked, and there are no real answers or solutions, there is no need for a leader to guide the way.