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Editorial: Trump administration should use U.S. influence to pursue world peace

During an election campaign appearance, U.S. President-elect Donald Trump hugged the Stars and Stripes flag and smiled at spectators. Amid thunderous applause, Trump took the rostrum in high spirits and talked about how established politics has failed.

 

By doing so, Trump attempted to give the public the impression that he is a patriot. He was able to convince the people that his radical speeches and even gaffes derived from his love for his country.

 

On the other hand, the president-elect says that people are excited to see someone who thinks big and that therefore exaggerating to a certain extent is desirable. In other words, he thinks that such an exaggeration is innocent big talk that plays up the truth, that bluffs that spark people’s dreams are necessary, according to the Japanese version of “Trump: The Art of the Deal,” published by Chikumashobo.

 

The U.S. voters who elected Trump in full knowledge of what sort of person he is apparently yearned for change. However, members of the international community have mixed feelings about Trump assuming the considerable power of the presidency of a superpower. Trump ignited U.S. citizens’ emotions rather than awaking their rational mind by bitterly criticizing established authority. He mainly called for destruction.

 

However, the world is becoming increasingly unstable. North Korea has carried out multiple nuclear tests. Millions of Syrians have fled the blood and destruction of their war-torn country. European countries have been flooded with an influx of refugees. And in the face of all this, the international order based on reconciliation and tolerance is creaking and swaying under a growing weight of divisiveness and xenophobia. Real estate tycoon Trump’s deep acquaintance with construction — as opposed to the destruction he espoused leading up to Nov. 7 last year — will be tested by the need to stabilize this badly shaken world.

 

The administration of President Barack Obama has been able to do nothing about the Syrian civil war. One cannot help but wonder whether and how Trump will cope with the world’s crises and what kind of international actor the U.S. should be.

 

Trump obviously keeps in mind the late President Ronald Reagan’s pursuit of a strong America. In security policies he released in autumn last year, Trump declared that his administration will drastically boost U.S. forces, pointing out that the number of naval vessels, which stood at nearly 600 under the Reagan administration, had fallen to less than half that by the latter days of the Obama administration.

 

In response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement that Russia will boost its nuclear force, Trump declared late last year that the U.S. will drastically expand its own arsenal. He thus suggested that he is willing to enter a nuclear arms race with Russia.

 

One cannot help but wonder whether Trump bears in mind that the Reagan administration caused a fiscal crisis in the Soviet Union through an arms race, eventually leading to the USSR’s collapse. Trump, who is enthusiastic about improving Washington’s relations with Moscow, appears to want the U.S. to secure military supremacy over Russia and China, becoming a “super-superpower” in the process.

 

Under his administration, the U.S. will likely demand that key ally Japan, as well as NATO member countries, bear certain financial burdens. The U.S., which has given up its role as global policeman, may stop regarding U.S. troops deployed to various parts of the world as a public good for peace and stability.

 

Rather than transforming itself from the world’s policeman into a fee-charging security company, the U.S. appears as if it were trying to wield power like a large empire, pressing smaller nations to pay tribute.

 

Trump has made it clear that his administration will take an “Anything but Obama” tack. It is the same as the “Anything but Clinton” policy pursued by George W. Bush, who took office in 2001.

 

Not only the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade pact but also the pursuit of a world without nuclear weapons could break down. Trump’s pro-Israel policy is also feared to send the two-state solution for Israel-Palestinian coexistence back to square one, reviving conflict between the two parties.

 

Although the situations remain volatile, it would be a huge loss if Obama’s winning of the Nobel Peace Prize and visit to Hiroshima were to come to nothing. Trump, who prioritizes practical benefit, should take over the policy of pursuing a world without nuclear weapons from the Obama administration. After all, ensuring that human beings survive is the greatest practical benefit imaginable.

 

There appears to be a tendency in the U.S. political world to make light of the philosophies underpinning America’s foundation, as well as values and international justice, while pursuing profit. However, politicians should keep in mind that any country that has lost sight of basic virtue would be isolated from the rest of the world.

 

For example, when the U.S. administration of President George H. W. Bush liberated Kuwait from Iraqi occupation in the 1991 Persian Gulf War, many Muslim countries in the Middle East drew closer to the U.S. This is not because they were afraid of American military might, but because they respected the U.S. for fighting against Iraq under a U.N. Security Council resolution and pushing Iraqi troops out of Kuwait.

 

As a result, moves for Israel and Arab states to pursue peace gained momentum. However, the administration led by George W. Bush, the son of George H. W. Bush, derailed the “Pax Americana,” or American peace. The Iraq War launched by the junior Bush in 2003 has badly damaged international confidence in the U.S.

 

During the 2016 election campaign, Trump repeated that President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton were the co-founders of the Islamic State (IS) militant group. However, if early withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq indeed gave rise to IS as Trump claims, the responsibility of the government of George W. Bush is yet graver.

 

Trump, who aims to “make America great again,” should learn from past U.S. mistakes and be humble about its history. The power of a strong country is meaningful only if it contributes to world peace. If the U.S. were to pursue unilateralism at the cost of international cooperation, the country would lose the love of other countries and could reap the whirlwind down the line. Countries unloved by others can never be great.

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