My Opinions, My Thoughts: The Beginning of America’s Decline

For days on end, American President-elect Donald Trump has said one crazy thing after another.

Regarding trade, he is protectionist, threatening to impose high customs tariffs on the Chinese mainland. He does not believe in climate change, and he will soon relax current laws and regulations meant to curb it. Once these policies have been carried out, American workers will be the greatest victims. Norwegian sociologist Johan Galtung, who has previously been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, predicts that Trump’s leadership may quicken America’s decline.

Galtung, who founded the discipline of peace and conflict studies, used a theoretical model to correctly predict in 1980 that the Soviet Union would collapse within the next ten years. At the time, many people did not believe his theory, but his prediction subsequently came true. In his 2009 book, “The Fall of the U.S. Empire—And Then What?” he predicted that America’s position of international power would come to an end before 2020.

After Trump was elected, Galtung participated in an interview with American media where he pointed out that when faced with criticism from the outside world, many of Trump’s reactions are extremely shallow, lacking deep reflection. He hopes Trump’s aides and staff will give him better advice. He warns that America’s position of international power will soon deteriorate under Trump’s administration and that Trump’s taking office will perhaps quicken this process of deterioration and harm America’s domestic harmony. However, he notes that everything depends on Trump’s actual actions after taking office.

During his campaign, Trump promised he would require manufacturing jobs to remain in the United States. At the beginning of December, with the leaders of the American corporation United Technologies, Trump reached an agreement that its subsidiary company Carrier, an air-conditioning unit manufacturer, would leave close to 1,000 jobs in the state of Indiana rather than move its factory abroad to Mexico. Trump saw this agreement as a significant breakthrough, but he has been criticized by Nobel economics prize winner Paul Krugman for giving Carrier special treatment, similar to a kind of bribery. Krugman believes that if Trump really wants to bring home all the manufacturing jobs America has lost since 2000, it will take him at least 100 years at the rate he is going.

Trump is protectionist in terms of trade. He is threatening to levy high customs tariffs, 35 to 45 percent, on imported goods from China. In the future, as soon as this policy is carried out, it will lead to a trade war between the United States and China. Within the international division of labor system, supply chains are closely linked, which means American companies will also be hurt by this policy. In the end, a real concern is that they will not be able to make up for their losses. This week’s The Economist points out that in November, 372,000 cars in common use in the United States were sold in China, while in the same week only 253,000 of the same makes of cars were sold in the domestic United States. The Chinese market is already the larger market for American enterprises.

Additionally, China is one of Boeing’s biggest customers. As soon as they cancel their orders, The Boeing Company will bear the brunt.

In terms of environmental policy, Trump has appointed Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. Pruitt does not consider climate change a threat and will soon relax current laws and regulations meant to curb it, reversing all of the efforts Obama made during his presidency. Krugman warns that the air will not clean itself and that addressing climate change entirely depends on strict regulations to enforce environmental protection. In the future, as soon as each regulation currently enforcing environmental protection is relaxed, the United States will return to the foul atmosphere full of pollution that it had in the 1970s. Trump’s policies cannot make America great. Conversely, they will suffocate it.

Trump excels at using Twitter to broadcast his views and policies, thus igniting news reportage about himself. However, he cannot run a country by relying solely on Twitter. Many of the working-class voters who supported Trump fantasize of a bright future. But Trump’s policies are full of contradictions. As soon as they are seriously carried out, the American working class will be hurt before they have a chance to benefit.

Trump’s presidency looks as though it might be the beginning of America’s decline.

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1 Comment

  1. Trump is nothing more than Bush Jr II with perhaps the caveat that he is more unpredictable. However, Pence will run the country much like Cheney did before. When Trump says/writes something stupid (= daily) his advisors will be there to clean up his excrement and put it in terms that will soothe his base. But you are right, his will hasten the decline of the US.

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