A half-year has passed since President Trump was inaugurated. He started off by declaring “Make America Great Again,” but upon reflection of recent politics in the United States, nothing comes to mind except mess and confusion.
Despite having gathered support in the election from among people who are upset with the status quo by making over-the-top statements, many of his campaign promises have not materialized because of the wall that is reality, and the status quo is now maintaining its current bleary-eyed course. On top of this, “Russiagate,” in which the Trump campaign team is suspected of having colluded with the Russian government in the presidential election, is causing increased distrust of the administration.
The approval rating for the president has fallen to 36 percent, according to polls conducted by The Washington Post and ABC News, and the disapproval rating is at 58 percent. It is said that this is the lowest approval rating for a president since World War II at the half-year mark. Administrations naturally stray off course sometimes, but the resources to bring support back are lacking, and already some think that this presidency is heading toward lame duck status.
Actually, repeal of former President Barack Obama’s health care law, known as “Obamacare,” which was the major policy goal, caused this administration to stray off course because of the infighting within the controlling Republican Party over the legislation. The promised Mexican wall, tax overhaul and infrastructure spending initiatives are nowhere in sight.
The only thing of note that the administration has done is to pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement, a new framework for combatting climate change, and out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. But in response to the United States propagating nativism and turning its back on the world, the world has begun moving toward a search for an “Americaless” global order. The Trump administration should really think about whether this turn toward isolation is really in the interests of the United States.
With respect to foreign and security policy as well, no one can deny it seems to be a hit-or-miss operation. Although during the campaign Trump promised to reduce U.S. military engagement abroad, he shoots off missiles at Syria as if on a whim. Just when you thought he was showing a more positive stance toward talks with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un, he suggests military action. His view toward China as well is not settled, it’s praise followed by criticism. This does nothing but confuses everyone.
How are we supposed to engage this Trump administration? Japan, which has had a tight-knit relationship with the United States from economics to security up to this point, is seriously calling into question the distance arising between both sides.
The United States, which for a long time has advocated globalism and liberalism, has transformed into an inward-looking society that focuses on protectionism, and you can bet it will place some steep demand for correction of the trade deficit on Japan. In the meantime, we must handle it as calmly as possible, while at the same time build stronger relations with other Asian and European countries.