Trum’s ERA

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Raja Mansoor Khan

The invisible quarters of power are more important than the visible ones. Memories of the eventful US elections of 4th Nov 2008 are vividly alive in my mind. It was a watershed event which apparently promised hope, equality, justice and spoke of how perseverance, determination and long struggles yield fruit. In a place like the USA, where hardly a half a century ago, the black- white segregation figured in every social contour of life, it was unbelievable that the American people have elected a black African American as their next president. On the chilly morning of the following day when I reached my office in the city of Leeds, UK, I found Foustin, my black African office colleague, jubilant, smiling ear to ear. He was telling people around how elated he felt. His face radiating with happiness and confidence reflected what he was expecting: may be honour, justice and respect for all black people worldwide- some kind of poetic justice for all the wrong committed to his race in the Arab world, Europe and the USA. May be it reminded him of the novel Roots which was later made into a movie and left an indelible mark on the psyche of the American People. In his nativity he must be expecting that the newly elected US president Barak Obama would do some special legislation for the black deprived community. The scene changes, a Pakistani born Muslim, Muhammad Kamran was looking very excited too and was telling everyone that Obama promised to shut the Guantanamo Bay detention camp permanently, hence, long lasting brutality and cruelty towards Muslim would come to an end; Aafia Siddique would be released soon. However, all other young white British in our company seemed largely unconcerned with the whole situation with an ostensibly “who cares” attitude about the “bloody” politics and politicians. They were smugly telling us they didn’t know or wanted to know who Barak Obama was and who his political contenders were. They don’t give two hoots even to what’s happening in politics in their own Britain. In the next column I will try to explain how this new emerging behaviour of western white community could result into whole power shift from the West. The basic intention behind relating this story is to substantiate three points. First American policy and strategic planning has always been controlled/ managed by their think tanks and establishment. In the seemingly unexpected recent victory of Donald Trump in US Presidential election, I don’t see any big shift in American policy and planning, as we witnessed none during the Obama’s long eight years stint in power. Neither was he able to close Guantanamo Bay detention camp, nor was there any marked change on his policy towards wars in the Middle East. Contrarily the region got increasingly more unstable with ISIS emerging in Iraq, Lybia, and Syria. Syria and Lybia have virtually gone to dogs where millions of people have been displaced. Aafia Saddiqi was sentenced to death. I personally believe Barak Obama’s election as the President of the USA in 2008 was a bigger upset than a “hardliner” Trump winning the presidential election in 2016. Similarly I don’t think Trump will be able to take all those actions which he promised during the election campaign that include bombing ISIS, building wall on Mexican border or banning or kicking out Muslims from the USA. Once briefed, he would understand that he is just a face replaced and has to play his part of the job to shift the policy to the next stage. Once he would get an understanding of the so called USA’s national interests according to the definition who actually chart them, he would merely talk about ISIS based on briefings. He would come to know why, how and who created the ISIS and what sort of jobs they have been doing and on whose behest. He would be only allowed to hit them through statements to misguide the public as well as to achieve political clout. His hate stance against Muslim community would also vanish once he would have the statistics about Arab Sheikh’s or Muslim’s contribution to the American economy. Once he would come to know about the hefty cash being poured in all top casinos or real estate investment, Trump would start speaking about religious harmony instead of polarization. Second, Trump’s election is a part of the wave Europe is also swept by. Brexit is an example. It is primarily rooted in economic fears. This need to be understood in the perspective of high fertility rates in Muslim and other Asian diaspora settled there, and White peoples’ fear of that. In these circumstances, a face like Trump became ultimate choice for the USA. Fear of terrorism, joblessness and growth in immigration has lead the ordinary American to show preference in internal matters of country instead of thinking about global rule. Almost all think tanks of big powers including America always follow this fundamental principle that they can violate human rights, international code of conduct and democratic norms in the name of national interest outside their borders but all matters within the country must be in concord with public opinion as well as based on high moral grounds. Because external matters can be justified in the name of national interests or global agenda but internal disorder can’t be tackled so easily and could create instability. A person like Trump was very necessary to win at this stage of American history as the public sentiments against immigration, globalization and terrorism were at boiling point which could have resulted into anarchy. His victory has also divided the nation to some extent which thwarts the possibility of this development. Third, we all need to understand that there is lot of difference between Pakistani democracy and American democracy. Even though there is a presidential system in the USA yet it is not about a single person, namely the President. In Pakistan, power mostly centres on one person namely the PM and his coteries. Here in many cases a “law” can be what the PM, his close associates or some influential individuals in the ruling elite deem it to be. And it can take effect, immediately, the moment it receives a nod or a movement of an eyebrow from anyone of them, bypassing judiciary and parliament. This can be observed by drawing comparison between President Zardari and President Mamnoon Hussain. The former was actually ruling despite no constitutional power as Pakistan is a parliamentary democracy, and the latter can’t even speak without prior permission of the PM for nepotistic reasons. On the other hand established democracies like the USA follow strategic road map screened through institutions which are considered more powerful than an individual ruler. Power remains diffused and divided amongst various quarters which in unity produce a policy.

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