The US in Disarray ?
Beatrice E. Rangel
President Trump finally got to present his report on the State of the Union to a sizzling congressional audience that had up to then concentrated in jump staring government after the longest shut down in American history. And while everyone looked proper and cheerful the truth is that the country was watching the proceedings with anxiety and distress. These feeling springs from the growing sense of unpredictability as to the course the country will take under President Trump as well as from a complex international landscape marked by unresolved conflicts, migratory crises and economic parsimony.
This is leading common folks to wonder whether the country is on the right path to progress and those that believe so are a paltry 28%. Several developments are behind this collective feeling. First and utmost of course is political gridlock in the country that paralyses federal government while deepening political divide. Then comes infrastructure. Whether trade or education US infrastructure is anchored in the mid-20th century while all economic rivals have mastered innovation in mobility, communications and logistics. Then there is over reach in the US military presence. While not being an expert on the subject matter history teaches how detrimental to the maintenance of power proved to be military over reach to Rome; Persia, and the Soviet Union among others.
And Americans are beginning to second doubt the judgement of those that have sent troops to lands that do not impact the US security interests. This of course is the case of the Iraq invasion and more recently the participation in the Libyan adventure which has failed to produce results in terms of the wellbeing in Libya while siphoning out precious resources needed, among other things, to rebuild domestic infrastructure. Worse, the Libyan adventure spearheaded by Nicholas Sarkozy has fed an uncontrollable migratory wave to Europe giving rise to the greatest death toll in Mediterranean history while feeding anti-immigrant political sentiment throughout Europe. All these developments have impacted the American collective mood as US citizens would rather see their leaders concentrating in resolving domestic challenges that are impacting productivity and employment than in exerting presence overseas.
President Trump’s response to this mood so far has been well oriented should we make good of his projections at the State of the Union . He is abdicating leadership to prevent any alliance to drag the US into a foreign conflict that does not really affect its national interest. He has heightened the US interest in the hemisphere through his constant attention to immigration and the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela . Should this foreign policy shift hold, the US will soon come back to the same conclusion that George HW Bush drew: the best policy for the hemisphere is that of fostering development so that trade grows and with trade wellbeing and with wellbeing people’s attachment to their homelands. And while his positioning on immigration is not precisely conciliatory or benevolent, he is standing for rule of law, which is difficult to be found south of the Rio Grande. His stand on Venezuela has corralled the delinquent regime and should most probably produce an implosion. Such outcome will bare naked the true nature of a regime that has for too long a time served the interests of organized crime.
With respect to domestic challenges, his recent focus on infrastructure seems to be well advised. The problem lies in the fact that given high levels of public debt this challenge can only be successfully faced through public-private partnerships which is a form of securing investment funds without vacuuming dry city and state halls or draining federal resources from most needed education reform. Infrastructure revamping’s impact upon political sentiment however often experiences a delay given that projects take time to be created and even more time to be executed. Should infrastructure development begin tomorrow impact would be felt perhaps by 2020 should all difficulties be overcome.
And while foreign policy abdication; hemispheric concentration and infrastructure development truly take off Americans will continue to feel confused and worried about a future they see as uncertain. Add to the mix political gridlock springing from a Democratic Party that seems to be taken hostage by extreme liberalism and the depressive mood is totally warranted.
Published by LAHT.com on Monday, February 18th, 2019
*The opinions published herein are the sole responsibility of its author.*