One of the things that make US Presidents powerful is their ability to affect world events. While the US system of checks and balances reigns in some of that power and there is a long standing feeling (I happen to subscribe to) that there is a “hidden hand”, residing in the background, calling the shots, I have no doubt the President still provides an important, indeed crucial fumction, and can provide leadership (or not) – but how in Trumps case, we are about to see.
Most of my Trump watching thus far has focused on domestic policy. In the main, my views on Trump have been favorable. He has made in my view considerable headway regarding the economy as well as concerning national security and religious freedom – to name but three – and this despite enormous opposition, including significantly within government itself and a sense that not all those around him are working with him and sometimes bypassing him when it comes to implementing decisions. On the international front, Trumps main contribution has been his fight against globalization, sparking of a mostly peaceful worldwide revolution few could have imagined only a year ago, with more to come.
We always knew that his big test would be how he would deal with the two great superpowers outside America – Russia and China, where he would have to make important decisions, which could have profound implications including the outbreak of World War 3. It is evident right now that such a time of testing has come, and it is on both fronts. Prior to Trump becoming President, I got the impression that Russia was once again being portrayed as America’s main enemy, as has been the case in the past, and that ties with China were being actively pursued. It seemed to me that Trump took an alternative view – wanting to deal with Russia and to resist China expansion. The anti-Russia feeling has been accentuated because of the so called hacking that went on and because of certain Russian actions regarding former Soviet states, deemed as hostile, and of course its support of the much vilified President Assad of Syria.
But things have gradually been coming to a head. Firstly there was the airstrikes against Syrian airfields in retaliation to what was in my view (and many others) a false flag chemical attack on innocent civilians by the Assad regime, and the prospect of more to come – including an outright military invasion and war with the Russians. At the same, North Korea, under its unstable dictator, has been flexing its muscles by threatening other countries in the region and also America, including with nuclear weapons. America has responded by sending a naval fleet into the region and word is they may exercise some form of pre-emptive action in order to neutralize North Korea aspirations of military hegemony. Both American actions (against Syrian and North Korea) attracted condemnation by their backers: Russia and China respectively, and we all are waiting to see what happens next, including how Trump acts.
It is early days of course to decide whether or not Trump has passed what is likely to prove his sternest test to date, as we all anxiously wait on a further unraveling of events – hoping for the best and fearing the worst. Up to now, while I recognize Trump has many faults, I reckon he has done well overall. But now I am not so sure and now is his biggest character testing time. I am less sure in the North Korea / China situation, but overall I think he has done the right thing. But regarding the Syrian / Russian situation, he has gone back on his word on military involvement, sold out the support base that got him elected to appear strong and decisive as well as capitulating to the agenda of those otherwise opposed to him, been unduly influenced by the neo-cons who he defers to partly because he does not have around him good people who take a different (and in my opinion a more rounded) view, and worst of all instigated bombing on the basis of a lie. Sadly, as a leader, he has fallen short.
Trump is in an unenviable position. He is out of his depth and has allowed himself to be influenced by experts with an agenda that would increase hostilities. This is clearly uncharted territory for this rookie politician and I wonder if he has allowed himself to be manipulated, playing into the hands of the swamp he vowed to drain. I have been taken to task for expressing a view that Trump is Cyrus like figure (Isaiah 45) and I have to admit that like many, my hopes have been put too much in one man. He may still turn out to be a modern day King Cyrus, and undoubtedly that is the need of the hour, but I have to put my hopes in the Almighty than the outcome of deliberations of what takes place behind mainly closed doors. Like us all, I watch with interest, but my trust is in the Lord.
Addendum: Things change quickly. I am pleased to read today’s story titled: “Trump: ‘We’re not going into Syria’”. The situation is still unclear and messy. I agree with the President that the main aim must be to remove Isis but I should also add there is a need to bring stability to the region and address some of the humanitarian problems, e.g. the refugee crisis, we are now seeing. Meanwhile, there is an even deeper crisis regarding North Korea, although it is good to get reports of China reigning in N.Korea excesses along with what the Americans and North Koreans are doing (for example see recently posted: “China Threatens To Bomb North Korea’s Nuclear Facilities”, “North Korea state media warns of nuclear strike if provoked as U.S. warships approach” and “PRESIDENT TRUMP: We Are ‘Sending an Armada, Very Powerful’ Including Submarines to North Korea” reports) – ed 12/04/17