Donald Trump is nothing if not a businessman. He knows how to sell his ware or more, importantly to produce what is going to sell. In his campaign to become President, Trump took the posture of an outsider to cater to the anti-establishment mood among the people. That he could sell this newly adorned image speaks volumes of the need of the ruling elite to hoodwink the people and also persistent propaganda of the corporate media which kept describing this rank insider as an outsider and anti-establishment. So pervading was this propaganda that many believed it despite the fact that Trump had received more media space than all other candidates combined. In fact this was a sort of pre-emptive strike by the establishment so that the anti-establishment mood sweeping the people does not throw up any surprise. And they are good at it, having done it in country after country, India not excepted.
This mood centred on kowtowing of the establishment to the interests of big capitalists or what is called Wall Street and secondly perpetual wars being perpetrated by the establishment. During the campaign Trump dramatically took up cudgels against the establishment, asserted that he would challenge Wall Street and that he was against the wars being engineered by US Admn. world over. He praised Russian President Putin and vowed to work with him to establish ‘peace’ in different regions of the world. To send proper signals to the disillusioned common people he vowed to target China and bring back jobs. In a way he had woven a narrative that the establishment was ignoring US citizens and throwing money around the world, a process he vowed to reverse. He had also praised WikiLeaks during the campaign for having exposed the US establishment. He was helped by the exposures relating to the campaign of his rival, Hillary Clinton, which were ascribed to Russian Govt.
Having done and dusted the election, Trump switched off the anti-establishment mode and switched on most brazen establishment mode. To the economic ministries he appointed those openly linked to Wall Street and to defence and foreign affairs the military men. He entrusted the exploitation at home to big business and plunder abroad to military men. However, those he had grounded in his campaign to be US President encircled him with enquiries relating to interference in US presidential election by Russian Govt. At root lay the larger question of making friends with Russia and abandoning the US project of wresting more and more of Eastern Europe and bring it under the umbrella of US military. Europe continues to be one of the main arenas of struggle between the two biggest military powers in the world, US imperialism and Russian imperialism. US establishment is not about to abandon this project and also concede ground to Russia in the Middle-East.
Encircled and cornered, Trump did what most US presidents have done in such situations. He has sought to bomb his way out. He rained missiles at an airbase in Syria after alleged chemical weapon attack by Syrian Govt. against civilians, which they deny and which UN says cannot be proved. He threw the mother of all bombs in Afghanistan, a 98 quintal bomb with nuclear weapon like mushroom, allegedly against Islamic State there. Through these attacks, he spawned a new narrative, turned foes into friends and throwing away all pretence of not wanting to be embroiled in wars abroad. Enlightenment dawned on him on April 12 that NATO was no longer obsolete as he had been saying earlier. In a few days, he came full circle and embraced the designs of the US establishment, variously called the Deep State. As a good businessman, he instinctively knew that the other course was risky and good business management is risk aversion.
Having thrown his aversion to wars abroad overboard, what is left is outright reactionary, anti-immigrant particularly those from third world countries and anti-worker policy framework. Attacks on Asian immigrants are on the rise, including against the people from India. What is left to be rued is the nebulous character of the anti-establishment in the western countries where corporate media has spewed so much venom against socialism and communism and which remains the only way out for these crisis ridden economies and societies. How this anti-establishment is being repeatedly highjacked by the new characters with old policies, this deep addiction to old wine in new bottles!
But the developments demonstrate the underlying drive of US imperialism to attempt to roll back the developments in the world. No superpower ever has consented to decline with dignity. And none has done to share or hand over the reins to its rivals. There is an urge to somehow maintain the status quo ante, somehow stop the wheel of time, somehow wish away the signs of age, but it always recoils, boomerangs with unfailing certainty.
Missiles fired by US at Syrian airbase, most of which did not reach the target, or the MOAB dropped in Afghanistan were targeted not at Assad or IS but at Russia for having ventured to become the arbiter of the destiny of the areas without even participation of US. Ceasefire in Syria where US has been replaced by Turkey as a guarantor or deciding the future of Afghanistan where Russia sat at a high table with China and Pakistan or Russian forays into north Africa, for all these a strong message had to be sent to Russia. MOAB and missiles were used as messengers. What better place to take a last ditch stand than Afghanistan, this historic final resting place of empires run amok. Moreover, a message had to be sent to Europe also that the rumours of the demise of US superpower are exaggerated. In sending all these messages, Trump’s own message that he sought to give during his campaign has been lost. But who bothers when so much is at stake, when Trump & family have so many skeletons in their cupboard. People have been hoodwinked but they always are by predatory big capital. There is no surprise here except that it came too soon!