Two years have now passed since U.S. President Donald Trump was sworn in, reaching the halfway point of his four years’ term. The president’s inward-looking economic and foreign policies and his coercive way of running the administration remain unchanged, only deepening the turmoil in the U.S. and the world.
President Trump has been in office for two years, and the standoff between the U.S. and the rest of the world has become definitive. The heretical leader professing to be a “nationalist” has caused many problems.
The president has waged trade wars against China, Japan and Europe, enforced measures to restrict immigrants from Central America, and imposed a limitation on people’s entry into the U.S. from the Islamic world. The U.S. leader has also announced his country’s withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement and the “Paris Agreement,” an international framework for preventing global warming.
We can appreciate his large-scale tax cut and other economic measures, which have brought about economic growth and high stock prices. However, the president has incited division among people in the U.S. and shaken the postwar international order. Such a negative impact is greater than his achievement.
The U.S. is putting the brakes on the inflow of people, goods and foreign capital into America. The world has lost the momentum for liberalization and democratization and is now less capable of settling global issues. If the situation is left as is, all countries may in consequence have to pay the price for the U.S. drawback.
We are seriously concerned that the president may intensify his inward-looking policy. The U.S. Congress is currently divided with the ruling party holding a majority of the seats in the Senate and the opposition party dominating the House of Representatives. The two parties are at loggerheads, making it even more difficult for the president to steer his administration. President Trump’s desired budgets and bills can hardly be passed. Congress is even likely to start an impeachment procedure over the president’s murky relationship with Russia.
If the president aims for a second term in the 2020 presidential election, he may continue advocating his “America First” policy to maintain his support base comprised of white people and low-to-medium income earners. We will have to prepare for the president’s continuing his protectionist trade policy and restricting immigrants.
In fact, President Trump seems to be in no hurry to end the trade wars and is considering imposing high tariffs on automobiles imported from leading countries. He adheres to building a wall along the Mexican border and refuses to compromise with the opposition party, leaving the government partially shut down.
We can no longer overlook President Trump’s putting pressure on the global economy and financial markets, which are increasingly becoming unstable. The president should end the trade wars as soon as possible and resolve the issue of trade imbalances with major countries through dialogue. He should not prolong the ongoing partial government shutdown.
No matter what will happen in the next two years, the world will have to deal with President Trump. The international community has no choice but to tenaciously persuade him to change his course of action. As Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has built a close relationship with the president, he is highly responsible for doing so. The Japanese leader should exercise leadership in easing the international tensions.