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Is Trump Really About America First?

The central theme of Trump’s president is “America First.” Most Americans understand that to mean putting American interests, American prosperity, American well being first above all else.

As an American, I personally have no quarrel with this. In fact, as a world citizen, I think if every nation can look primarily after itself and not after other nations (which in basically every case have proven to be a false flag for carrying out illicit interventions because “there is never free lunch” as they say), the world will be a much, much better place.

But over the last few years, it is turning out that this talk about “America First” is nothing else than another false flag. America is as involved in war and warmongering throughout the world as ever, and with the current irrational trade war, it looks like the Trump administration is also about putting its special interests constituencies first … screw all others … just like all the other previous administrations.

It is an open secret that historically America has been an oligarchy, not a democracy. That means it is not a government of the people for the people … but rather a government of special interests for the special interests … no different than many other governments around the world and throughout time.

But things are about to change. At least that was the promise.

In his inauguration speech, with outgoing president Obama visibly grimacing, Trump portrayed himself as a messiah coming to America’s rescue:

Every four years, we gather on these steps to carry out the orderly and peaceful transfer of power, and we are grateful to President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama for their gracious aid throughout this transition. They have been magnificent.

Today’s ceremony, however, has very special meaning. Because today we are not merely transferring power from one Administration to another, or from one party to another – but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the American People.

For too long, a small group in our nation’s Capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost.

Washington flourished – but the people did not share in its wealth.

Politicians prospered – but the jobs left, and the factories closed.

The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country.

Their victories have not been your victories; their triumphs have not been your triumphs; and while they celebrated in our nation’s Capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.
That all changes – starting right here, and right now, because this moment is your moment: it belongs to you.

January 20th 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again.

The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.

Everyone is listening to you now.

The Trade War with China, more than anything else, epitomized Trump’s worldview that America has been had … with Trump now fighting the people’s fight. The world – with China leading – has been raping and pillaging America. That will be no more! America will now strike back!!!

Last week, Trump officially pronounced himself “the chosen one.”

[O]ne thing we have to do is economically take on China. Because China has been ripping us off for many years. President Clinton, President Bush, and President Obama, and others should have done this long before me.

My life would be much easier, although I enjoy doing it, my life would be much easier if I said, “Let China continue to rip off the United States.” All right? Much easier, but I can’t do that.

We are winning against China. They’ve lost two and a half million jobs in a very short period of time. They want to make a deal. It has to be a deal good for the United States. They want to make a deal. Probably we will make a deal. But, if I didn’t do that, and somebody said it is Trump’s trade war.

This isn’t my trade war. This is a trade war that should have taken place a long time ago by a lot of other presidents. Over the last five or six years, China has made $500 billion. $500 billion. Ripped it out of the United States. And not only that, if you take a look, intellectual property theft, add that to it. And add a lot of other things to it.

Somebody had to do it, so I’m taking on China. I am the chosen one. Somebody had to do it, so I’m taking on China. I’m taking on China on trade, you know what? We’re winning. Because we’re the piggy bank, we’re the one that all these countries, including the European Union, wants to rob and take advantage of. European Union, $200 billion. China, more than $500 billion.

To follow up on how serious he is, he pronounced that he would now not just raise more “tariffs” on China … but also plan to “order” American companies to get out of China.

Tough words! But if one allows oneself to take a breath and ponder: isn’t it strange that Trump has to “order” American businesses – who are supposed to be victims of China “bullying” – to get out of China?

If American businesses have really being bullied and forced to play unfair in China like Trump accuses China of doing, why were they there in the first place? Why have not the tariffs convinced them to leave?? Why would Trump have to threaten unfathomable legal means to get those companies out of China???

In 2018, despite major escalations of the trade war, the U.S.-China trade deficit actually increased to $488 billion, from the $449 billion in 2017. Even in 2019, the bilateral U.S.-China deficit only decreased modestly to $130.4 billion  in the first quarter of 2019, from the $143.9 billion in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Tellingly, between July 2018 to the end of June in 2019, U.S. exports to China decreased by $33 billion, or 21 percent while Chinese exports to the United states grew by $4 billion, 1 percent over the same period.

Are American businesses really getting the shaft in China or is the American public being shafted by Trump?

If the goal is to hurt China because China has been evil and been doing all these bad things, I get it! “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” Right???

But Trump is not asking American businesses and American people to sacrifice for the nation. No, Trump proclaims that he is fighting for American businesses and the American people for higher purposes!

Trump proclaims that he is fighting for the long term interests of America. But it is really hard to see how. Is IP theft really the issue his administration has made it out to be? (see my previous take) I don’t want to launch unfounded ad hominem attacks. But, really, has Trump ever been about the long term – in his personal life, business life, or political life? And is a real estate guy gifted with a silver spoon really qualified to lecture CEO’s in the trenches who has planned years, sometimes decades ahead, investing billions in factories and supply chains about long term planning?

In my view, Trump’s trade war with China has lost all semblance about putting American businesses and the American people first. It has become painfully obvious that it is about putting American special interests first. Certain segments of the American society obviously believe that they benefit from a disentanglement with China … and the world. This is the special interest that Trump is pandering to, hell to the rest of the nation.

So why has the broader American business not stood up to Trump? Because business leaders are pragmatic … and conservative. In general, most businesses donate to Republicans and Democrats alike … to hedge their bet. They generally smooch to whoever is in power. If Trump wants to blame China, individual American businesses are not going to stand in the way … The U.S. has rarely been as divisive as it currently is.

As they say: if you roll with a big, you get dirty as the pig….

That leaves the American people in an unenviable spot. While Trump ran on the slogan to “drain the swamp,” he has shown that he lacks the competence and integrity to carry out that promise. It’s really too bad that even if Trump may not be beholden to the same special interests as previous administrations, he appears to be beholden to other special interests.

“America First” is no liberation as many had hoped. What’s truly sad about the state of affairs in the U.S. is that with 2020 election coming, Americans might ask, is there a candidate that is not beholden to special interest? The short answer unfortunately appears to be: no….

  1. pug_ster
    August 29th, 2019 at 11:53 | #1

    Trump’s idiotic MAGA slogan really want to revert the world back when America was #1, which will never happen. And in that process, America is self imploding because he essentially alienated his allies. Take a look at the latest G7 meeting, Macron led his European nations with his agenda sidelining Trump. Japan is stuck between a rock and a hard place with its very own problems with South Korea. Furthermore, North Korea started its short range missiles and Trump didn’t even bother to help Abe.

    With the G7 fragmented, I think China is sitting very pretty and picked its fights very carefully. China isolated Canada because of Meng Wanzhou. Courted UK, Germany and France against the US. Took advantage South Korea/Japan quarrel and even offer to mediate talks between both countries. China’s relation with Russia is never closer. China took advantage of Trump’s isolationist/Trade war policy and got all the pro-US coalition within China away. Xi doubled down on its Made in China 2025 policy to decrease reliance from the US while avoiding many non-US aligned countries go to against China.

  2. Ngok Ming CHEUNG
    August 30th, 2019 at 13:54 | #2

    The trade war is never about trade, it is Steve Bannon and neocons aim to contain China. Too bad OBL did China an unintended favor and delayed the action for 16 years. Now China can withstand the pressure with minimal losses and Huawei can stand on its own instead of a death sentence. I think both the establishment liberal thinkers and neocons underestimated China and totally surprised by the rapidity of China’s rise. One thing is clear that not only Trump but democratic party also is hostile to China. So China should take that into consideration and not relies on the election of 2020. China should gradually decouple from U.S. and gradually reduce the dollar holding to a few hundred billion dollars for trading purposes. As for Hong Kong the CE there should use her executive power to ban the face mask and the violent protests will subside.

  3. pug_ster
    September 2nd, 2019 at 11:00 | #3

    If Steve Bannon and the neocons wasn’t there to contain China, George Soros and their Liberal bandits would do the same. If the trade war was another futile attempt to contain China, some liberal would have another plan to do it. This is an opportune time for China because Trump’s idiotic foreign policy has put themselves in an island without much cooperation from its ‘allies.’ For that reason, I’ve always said that Trump is the best thing to China since Nixon.

    The trade war don’t have much impact to China as much as US hoped. Much of the components and materials are made in China but final assembly would happen in Vietnam or some other country in order to evade the tariffs. Some other companies also try to evade tariffs by sending their goods to Canada or Mexico and sending them by truck or rail into the US.

    About Hong Kong, the problem with the HK government is that many of the people who are arrested for rioting were let go with bail. Much of the government institutions within HK are filled with Anti-China traitors. I hate to say it, but the CE has to invoke the executive powers to deal with this issue.

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