Conflagration in Canada, flooding in Europe, civil war in the Near East, exodus in the Mediterranean — even the least religious minds will see worrisome signs of the apocalypse in the world. According to recent media prophecies, however, if the end of the world should happen, it will not come from a comparable nightmare but from — what horror — a country of dreams, America. Don't you hear the knight coming, in all of his biblical wrath? He is approaching from Washington; we call him Donald Trump.
First of all, observers predicted that such a multibillionaire, iconoclastic buffoon launched into success from a vulgar press and a reality show would never overtake the other candidates, even if pathetic, of a party that was not lacking in them. Then, his shocking breakthrough among Republicans was thought to be good news for Democrats: Hillary Clinton would more easily win the White House. But after all, practically everywhere, we had to fear the worst.
Yet, without any political experience, Donald Trump would not have undertaken the adventure if months before the race, polls had not confirmed that at least one-third of Americans no longer trusted the government. A certain Conrad Black predicted [Trump's] success early in the National Post. Recession, unemployment, costly wars, humanitarian disasters, embarrassing failures overseas, uncontrolled immigration — was this not evidence of an unfit government that no party is capable of rectifying?
Certainly, no society in distress is without a demagogue, ready to exploit the pain or fear of the population. For lack of credible candidates, the voters risk giving power to a psychopathic or megalomaniac savior. Hitler and Mussolini remain as historic examples. But Americans are navigating a crisis that is not solely theirs. Europe is witnessing the return of sectarian demons, believed to have disappeared since World War II. Even Democrats are playing the dangerous card of populism.
Nevertheless, around the world, the United States holds some economic interests, military forces and political alliances not easily shaken without risking even greater disarray. Even President Barack Obama was unable to repair the damages caused by the wars of his predecessors. A future president ignorant in foreign policy, dependent on unpredictable advisers, will not be able to do better. Trump would probably do even worse, especially in the Near East and the South China Sea.
On the other hand, Donald Trump claims to be an expert in internal affairs. Mexico, hold on tight. If it does not keep its people at home, they will be deported without trial. If necessary, a wall will be erected, to be paid for by Mexico. And an end will be put to the arrival of refugees who are not of the Christian faith or who seem like extremists. May these troublemakers and other suspects be subjected to torture! And those millions of Americans who possess firearms? No problem.
Of course, Trump does not have the monopoly on this doctrine. But he does possess an incontestable talent for expressing it, defending it through thick and thin, holding solutions even to non-problems. Still, was it necessary for the media, equally affected by the economic crisis, to make him into a primetime star? NBC made him known with his reality show The Apprentice (You're fired!). And CNN allowed him to triumph, with support from voters and record-breaking audiences at the same time.
Ironically, Trump did not receive anything from the mega-corporations who call all the shots in the campaigns in the United States, nor was he invited to the Koch brothers' summit held in 2015 in California (where nearly half a billion dollars was awarded to the presidential candidates). "I wish good luck to all the Republican candidates that travelled to California to beg for money, etc. from the Koch Brothers. Puppets?” he is cited in “Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right.”
Until now, Canada and Canadians have escaped from the blasts of the candidate, the only one who wants to give Uncle Sam back his power and their country that was taken from them back to Americans. But what would [Trump] do as president, if he ever discovers that a firm in Wisconsin is moving to Ontario, wonders Jeffrey Simpson, a columnist for The Globe and Mail, who is well-versed in American affairs. Even if defeated this November, Donald Trump will indeed leave a dangerous legacy for Americans and their neighbors.
In a nation where real power is held by the rich and big businesses, the average American, especially if he feels cheated by the government, has learned that he can express his anger at the polls. With Obama, black and poor citizens understood that voting can change things. The movement that Trump triggered will cause other candidates to take up his ethno-religious attacks and grievances against the allied countries that do not pay their full share for common defense.
In the meantime, if the end of the world spares Canada, administrations here would be well advised to keep an eye on certain national issues. Indeed, trains continue to derail in the country. The old cartels are eyeing the billions of dollars that Ottawa promised for infrastructure. Prisoners in isolation may not have regained their rights yet. Have all the victims of sexual assault in the armed forces, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), and other public institutions received justice and reparations?
Donald Trump is not a danger yet for his northern neighbors. But for how much longer?