Is Donald Trump 1 Person, or 2?

Donald Trump – for whom it would seem, through the tireless efforts of his critics in both the U.S. and Europe, has permanently earned the reputation of an unruly and contentious lout who changes his priorities and opinions as often as he changes his socks, and who reacts to challenges not with caution and a willingness to compromise, as befits a politician, but like a bull reacting to a red flag – is far from the image imposed on him, as it turns out. His speech yesterday at the opening of yet another session of the United Nations General Assembly demonstrated that he is an altogether predictable person who has not backed down from the program of action he once proclaimed, but is involuntarily correcting it since he is bound hand and foot by the peculiarities and traditions of American foreign policy.

Nevertheless, his speech yesterday could be called a sort of hymn to multipolarity, an appeal to governments and nations to turn the tide of history, to get off the high road of globalization – a road paved, by the way, by America – and to set out on a path of aggregating and cultivating national sovereignties. In Trump’s speech, the U.S. is presented as first among relative equals. Speaking about the fact that, for him, American interests will always be higher than other interests, which is absolutely natural, he urged the leaders of the countries of the world to rely upon the very same principles: to show concern first and foremost for their own people.

Basically, this confirms that the American president has not changed the isolationist views that formed the basis of his campaign platform: The U.S. renounces its role as the world’s driver out of a desire to turn its attention to solving domestic problems. This easy-to-understand platform has already been obscured so many times by actions and decisions imposed upon Trump by both the globalist elite and the inertia of the ideas that have for decades defined U.S. foreign policy logic. To many, it has seemed that the ostensibly new team, strangled by the grip of circumstances, will never be able to get beyond these decisions, having gradually turned into a slightly altered version of any American administration, each of which dreamed of carrying out this or that reform but which was manipulated by the liberal establishment to suit traditional political parameters.

But no, it’s obvious that Trump hasn’t let go of his dream and is still fully hopeful that he can make it a reality. Yet it will be extremely difficult for him to do so, not primarily because of the resistance of his opponents, but because his own political platform is a complete mess: Opposing ideas and concepts exist and try to operate on an equal footing. On the one hand, he sincerely proclaims the need for society to return to a doctrine of national interests and to decline to follow some common model of social organization. No one has the right to impose criteria and rules of life on anyone else; from culture to culture, they can differ fundamentally. On the other hand, the U.S. leader – in all probability, without noticing it himself – is following a very traditional American course, operating within the parameters of liberal globalist ideology.

For example, while presenting a U.N. reform plan proposed by Trump at a press conference in New York prior to the start of the session, people from Trump’s circle announced the need to change how the organization’s peacekeeping mission functions. The essence of the plan remained unresolved in its details. It seems the authors themselves hadn’t yet fully thought it through, but one may assume that Trump wants to turn the peacekeeping forces into a kind of militarized police force outfitted with heavy military equipment and mobile artillery that would decisively and uncompromisingly introduce order in other countries by decision of the U.N. Security Council. At the press conference, speakers even proposed universal criteria the U.N. should follow when making decisions about sending a peacekeeping contingent to this or that country. This is all the same old – old as mammoth dung – “human rights,” something which should be observed in a proven and reliable way.

Serbia, Iraq and Libya were already destroyed on the sly, according to this logic, and it is this very practice that Trump supposedly wants to renounce. However – who would have thought – that which is old and musty, impelled by inertia, stubbornly emerges from the new, claiming preferential rights and dictating its own rules from a rejected and cursed past.

I am sure Russian President Vladimir Putin could easily subscribe to Trump’s speech yesterday: multipolarity of the world and the importance of preserving national sovereignty are fundamental concepts of his foreign policy doctrine, as formulated in his famous Munich speech. He could subscribe to it, but he’s unlikely to do so, since together with the deconstruction of globalism, Trump miraculously also manages to insert a reform plan that wholly incorporates what he himself denies when he says it is an improper luxury for America to play the role of world policeman.

It’s extremely difficult to predict how U.S.-Russian relations will take shape based on what the U.S. president declares, since right now, no one knows which part of Trump will gain the upper hand in the push-and-pull game in which, by will of dramatic circumstances, the 45th U.S. president has been transformed.

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About Jeffrey Fredrich 199 Articles
Jeffrey studied Russian language at Northwestern University and at the Russian State University for the Humanities. He spent one year in Moscow doing independent research as a Fulbright fellow from 2007 to 2008.

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