• What becomes of America and its place in the world?

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    FRANCISCO S. TATAD

    FRANCISCO S. TATAD

    SUCH was the impact of Donald Trump’s election on the American psyche that thousands of those who were caught by surprise have come out in protest, even without any illusion of ever changing the result of the seismic event. No one is suggesting the election, as most of ours are, was rigged, or that Trump had cheated. The Democrats, Trump’s enemies within his own party, and the nation itself simply failed to foresee what was dropping from the skies. Newsweek magazine printed an advance souvenir edition with Hillary on its cover as “Madam President,” while New York magazine had Trump on its cover as “Loser”. Newsweek had to recall 125,000 copies of its boo-boo edition.

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    Trump’s “basket of deplorables,” as Hillary Clinton (to her eternal dismay) had crudely and mistakenly put it, had clearly overwhelmed and repudiated the pollsters, the pundits and the entire political establishment, to elect a candidate who, throughout the campaign, had merited nothing but their contempt. The plaintive placards and streamers borne by marchers proclaim, “He is not my president,” while the “deplorables” bask in triumph with the President-elect.

    Will the marches ripen into something like the great revolutionary general strike of the European working class 48 years ago, which became known as the French revolution of May 1968? Somebody asked me this question yesterday, and I did not think I was competent to answer it. But I thought Trump’s election, propelled mostly by the vote of the white, mostly male, working class, was (and is) the revolution, that it had just begun, and that the current street marches against Trump were but a puny reaction to it.

    The Financial Times editorial of Nov. 10 expresses one point of view. There is at least one other point of view, completely antithetical to the liberal response, which has not been touched by the mainstream press. To that I shall pivot in a little while.

    The Establishment repudiated
    “Donald Trump’s victory makes a thunderous repudiation of the status quo,” says the editorial. “The most powerful nation on Earth has elected a real-estate mogul with no experience in government, a self-styled strongman, contemptuous of allies, civil discourse and democratic convention. Barring a protean change of personality, Mr. Trump’s victory represents, at face value, a threat to the Western democratic model.

    “Mr. Trump’s campaign appealed to nativism, isolationism and protectionism,” the editorial points out. “He railed against immigrants and vowed to build a vast wall to keep them out, at Mexico’s expense. He castigated allies in Europe and Asia, disavowing decades of foreign policy doctrine by suggesting Japan and South Korea could go nuclear to counter security threats from China. He cosied up to Vladimir Putin, coming close to being an apologist for the Kremlin. And he promised to tear up trade agreements such as NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership in order to protect and reclaim American manufacturing jobs…

    “The world waits nervously to see if Mr. Trump’s policies are as incendiary as his words. The shift to a more positive tone since the election result is a first step. But this remains a moment of great peril. Mr. Trump’s victory, coming after the Brexit referendum vote in Britain, looks like another grievous blow to the liberal international order. Mr. Trump must decide, by his actions and words, whether he intends to contribute to the great unraveling, at incalculable cost to the West.”

    America First
    Trump is not the first to be elected US president on the crest of a popular wave. Andrew Jackson rode such a wave in 1828. Nor is Trump the first businessman to become president and proclaim “America First.” Although he is undoubtedly the first genuine outsider without any experience in government or the military to be elected president, at least three others had preceded him. In 1920, an article by Sarah Charwell of the University of London recalls, America elected Warren Harding, an isolationist businessman whose slogan was also America First.

    This meant then what it means now, writes Charwell: anti-immigrant nativism and isolationism. And mirrored the resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan in the same period. The popular plaint of the working class then was that the so-called economic boom of the 1920s did not extend its benefits beyond the urban middle class. Harding was succeeded by Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover, also businessmen, whose administrations created the conditions for the great crash and depression of 1929.

    None of them, though, was exactly like Trump, who promises to be the most powerful US president in recent memory. This is not only because he is supported by a Republican Senate and a Republican House of Representatives, but above all because he is the first avowed protectionist to be elected US president since before the last world war, and he could turn upside down more than 70 years of American history.

    What Trump promised to do
    Trump has promised to embark on sweeping tax cuts and a massive infrastructure program, reform the US Federal Reserve first by firing its chair Janet Yellen, renegotiate sovereign obligations, scrap “unfair” trade agreements, pull out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the World Trade Organization, build a high tariff wall (as high as 45 percent) to prevent the entry of cheap Chinese and Mexican goods into the American market, just as he has promised to build a concrete wall to prevent illegal immigrants from crossing the US-Mexican border.

    If Mr. Trump were to follow through on these threats, some economic and financial pundits believe he would spark a global trade war and plunge the world into recession—similar to the depression of the 1930s, which was “greatly deepened by America’s embrace of protectionism.” It would be a disaster for America and the rest of the world.

    At the same time, Trump has promised to withdraw from America’s role as policeman of the world. He apparently does not believe the US has a unique responsibility to uphold the global order, particularly in defense of countries which do not bear the cost. He apparently takes a critical view of John F. Kennedy’s famous line in his inaugural address: “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and success of liberty.”

    In fact in 1987, according to a report quoting Thomas Wright of the Brookings Institution, Trump paid $95,000 to take out a full-page ad in The New York Times fulminating against America’s free-riding allies and claiming Japan was fleecing the US.

    Will he follow through?
    If Trump were to follow through on this threat (or promise), it could mean the dismantling of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the US security alliances with Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand. The dismantling of NATO could prompt more withdrawals from the European Union after Brexit, possibly leading to its eventual demise. Indeed, it could mean a complete remaking of the global order—the entire global security environment. This seems easier said than done.

    Experts fear that “America First” would undercut the world view that unites both Republicans and Democrats, and pit Trump against the US’s closest allies abroad. At home, it would pit him against the bipartisan elites, and the military-industrial complex. The Pentagon could well be drawn into a bitter debate, which should be avoided at all costs. Instead of making America great again, many fear that America First could facilitate the exact opposite.

    To counterbalance China’s dominance in the South China Sea and the Asia Pacific, Japan, South Korea and Australia may have to form a credible security alliance to fill up the vacuum created by the US pullout. Japan will have to overcome all internal objections to a reinterpretation or revision of its Peace Constitution to allow it to rearm, and enter into an active military and security alliance with its like-minded neighbors. It will not be easy, but it could be done.

    A real test for DU30
    The Philippines under President Duterte will have to decide whether its “independent foreign policy” will allow it to ally itself with China or with Japan or to remain completely neutral. This would give DU30 the opportunity to demonstrate whether his declared pivot away from the US and toward China and Russia is a serious foreign policy initiative or pure political posturing. It is worth noting that although he had announced separating militarily and economically from the US, he has done nothing to carry out his threat, and he said he looks forward to working with Trump, when he publicly welcomed his election.

    To millions of Americans and other nationalities around the world, particularly “conservative Christians,” Trump’s election represents a new hope for the revival of Western culture and civilization. This is something that has not been touched in the geopolitical discussions. However, an online article by Blaise Joseph, an assistant dean at Warrane College, University of New South Wales, Australia, which first appeared on Mercatornet last March, and was republished a few days ago, puts this issue at the core. The article sees in Trump the potential making of a Constantine, the Emperor who ended the persecution of Christians through the Edict of Milan in 313 AD.

    Trump as Constantine?
    Like Trump, Constantine was no pillar of virtue. He had multiple wives, one of whom he had put to death; he was given to various excesses. But he converted to Christianity after seeing the sign “In hoc signo vinces” (by this sign you shall conquer) written in the skies, and defeating his opponent Maxentius in the famous battle at Milvian Bridge on Oct. 28, 312 AD. Constantine, for all his defects, created the environment which gave Christians the freedom to influence society. This is what Trump can do for Christians in America and the West who have succumbed to the scourge of political correctness, moral relativism and the LGBT agenda.

    The article believes Trump can fundamentally change Western culture. With Trump speaking the truth as bluntly as he spoke during the campaign, political correctness would be severely weakened, cultural Marxism and the politics of victimhood crippled. Progressives could no longer shut down debates and conservatives would be free to make their case in the public square. Universities would become places of learning and free thinking again. Better lawyers, judges and politicians would emerge. The people would be better informed on important issues. Truly wise Supreme Court justices would be able to revisit and reverse Roe v. Wade and the ruling on same-sex “marriage.” Western society could become truly Christian again.

    Trump will not lack of obstacles and opponents. For many post-Christian societies are bent on promoting lust and libido as the most essential qualities that should transcend the will or the intellect, or the human spirit. Wikileaks has disclosed that Mrs. Clinton was committed to fund overseas abortions without conscience protections for doctors, had she won the presidency, and the most heated in-house debate in the United Nations today, according to Austin Ruse of C-Fam, is on the appointment of a UN global enforcer of LGBT rights. It’s the African Group that’s fighting to protect our inviolable human rights, from the “UN protectors” of LGBT rights. DU30 may want to instruct the Philippine delegation at the UN to join the African Group, if he wants to identify with Trump.

    fstatad@gmail.com

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    16 Comments

    1. A great written article. The true danger with Trump was less than highlighted and I would note that there is truly grave reasons to fear this person. His leadership ability is far to thin skinned and he shoots from the hip. This only works well for banana republics not for the largest most powerful country on earth. He could and will most likely start wars with thousands dying. Trade wars truly will not be good for the Philippines, especially if du30 uses his expressive language at Trump as he has at Obama. Jobs promised will not be returning to the US. If they do they will go to robots not humans. Call centers could be returning, but they are not the focus such manufacturing because of the low pay associated … Military obligations are based upon treaties and while it seems easy to pull out of such it’s not. The Military Industrial Complex touches every American. They either work for one, the neighbor does, family member or they own stock in such. 50% of all monies lining the pockets of American Politicians comes from the Military Industrial Complex! Most of this goes to the republicans so that will be hard to change. If fact just about everything that Trump wants to do will have serious ramifications on the US Society and the world. Take the wall with Mexico… ok our lowest cost labor will leave. Who will bring in our crops and at what cost? Will Americans pay $5.00 for lettuce? or $10 for an apple? The US doesn’t have the labor force to do these jobs at a cost effective way. Regarding Christian values.. the US is NOT a Christian country although a majority of citizens are Christian. The US is to be non-aligned to any faith at all. That is foremost in our foundation and to anoint such would degrade the US position as a world leader. Trump was elected on false promises and polls that didn’t provide the right information leaving many to feel they didn’t need to show up… lastly painting Hillary as a criminal which is just so wrong… This is again something we see from banana republic dictators and not the US. It will be an interesting next four years…. for the entire Globe.

    2. In one corner of their mind is a master plan for governance. Still a guessing game for what will happened next. Only rhetoric for now.. But on the case of DU30, you can tell already where he is heading for. Come on, wake up.

    3. The left media and the anti-Trump losers, who are who are suspected to incite the protests or riots must stop the protesters and/or rioters to avoid farther damages. They look not only hopeless, but stupid destroying themselves. They must apologize to the President-Elect Donald J. Trump. By common sense, at least, those bastards must realize that from his heart, Donald will do his best to make America great again.

      Actually, KARAMIHAN DOON SA MGA P–TNG PROTESTERS AY MGA PALAMUNIN NG MGA AMERICAN TAXPAYERS. MAGMATINO NA SILA AT MAKIKINABANG SILA PAG NAG MULTIPLY ANG EMPLOYMENT UNDER TRUMP’S PROGRAM. Instead of depending their livelihood from government handouts they must learn how to work! There are approx 3 million illegal aliens who are criminals. I suspect part of those criminals are joining the protests.WALA NA SI OBAMA, who spent lots of time playing golf and vacationing at the expense of the American taxpayers at si Hilary who spent lots of taxpayers money traveling around the world is accused by Trump as MAGNANAKAW SA KABAN NG AMERICAN TAX PAYERS. KAYA KAYONG MGA PROTESTAS WALA NA KAYONG BACKERS.

      GOD BLESS THE AMERICAN TAXPAYERS. GOD BLESS DONALD TRUMP, GOD BLESS AMERICA!

    4. Yonkers, New York
      15 November 2016

      So, according to former Senato and now Manila Times columnist Francisco S. Tatad, who is unabashedly euphoric about Republican DONALD TRUMP being elected President–no matter that Democrat presidential candidate HILLARY CLINTON bested him by at least 574,000 popular votes!–Trump is now the modern “EMPEROR CONSTANTINE” of the 4th Century.

      As the new “Emperor Constantne” who, incidentally,was not such a moral exemplar, Mr. Tatad virtually predicts that DONALD TRUMP is in a good position to remake America and the world according to his own wishes. How he can do this, Mr. Tatad does not explain. But he seems to have such implicit faith in him.

      Millions of Americans, incidentally, have a completely different view of a President Donald Trump, who happens to be a BIGOT, a TAX EVADER who prides in evading paying taxes for 18 years, a RACIST who vows to deport 11 million “undocumented” immigrants and close the US completely to Muslims, a misogynist,a sexual predator who delights in touching women’s breasts and their genitals,a heartless crook who has “stiffed” or deceived hundreds if not thousands of helpless immigrant-workers, and a “snake-oil” salesman who has deceived millions of Americans into voting for him.

      To borrow perceptive TIME magazine’s lament about Little Tyrant Rodrigo Duterte’s Philippines, “NIGHT HAS FALLEN ON AMERICA!”

      New York Governor Cuomo is right now offering New York state “as a REFUGE for those fleeing the Trump Presidency.”

      MARIANO PATALINJUG
      patalinjugmar@gmail.com

    5. Be like an american…. by DU30.

      This a phrase Mr DU30 made in a speech telling returning OFW. He encourage them to be assertive like an american. Sampalin mo, he jokingly said any unscrupulous and corrupt airport official. Mr. DU30 believes it is about time my Philippines get up rise and stand up against graft and corruption. It is time, for the common filipino wake up and be listen to. It is time to tell the political elite that they will not be forgotten anymore. Let the filipino follow the american assertiveness.

      The Obama/Clinton administration forgot the common rural america. They were told to sit and be quiet. Force ObamaCare take the medicine and be quiet. Told how much water to use to take a shower and be quiet. Told to what lightbulb use and be quiet. Build sanctuary city and protect illegal criminal and be quiet. Told that there is a different justice between the political elite and common people and be quiet Told it is fine for the news media to be bias and declare their chosen candidate the winner prior to election and be quiet Rural america voted and said enough is enough. They will not sit and be quiet. They rejected this progressivism and assert to return the ideas of the republic Mr DU30 like this quality very much and is advocate of it. He is encouraging the filipino to be very vocal and say enough is enough

      Mr. Secretary, I am writing to you to continue to create a much bigger light to take away the darkness of graft and corruption Be a beacon of light and awaken the filipino Fire up their assertiveness Call out this narcopolitician Put out their names and sources Put them to shame Let the filipino people see their evil faces. Help my Philippines get up and not be silence anymore Thank you

    6. Mr Trump will do the following: Deport illegal immigrants with criminal records. Build a wall virtual and/or otherwise.
      Repeal/replace Obamacare. Cancel almost all the illegal executive orders of Obama. Lower taxes for all. Cancel Trade treaties unfavorable to the US. Create jobs by updating infrastructures. Stimulate the creation of jobs by repealing burdensome business regulations. Cut government handouts which promotes inactivity and stymies productivity. His campaign rhetoric are just words used as a “campaign device”. He will put America first in all his decisions.
      Mr Trump is unpredictable because he is not the normal politician that you are used to. But he is not reckless as you concluded. I know. I voted for him.

    7. Over confidence is what made Trump win. Everybody knew that Hillary is winning by 85 percent per CNN polls so why do they have to go out and vote ? Only 51 percent voted and the rest did not knowing Hillary is a sure winner. The hibbiwilles came out in droves and the small deciding states Ohio and Michigan werenot targeted by the democrats. The blacks did not show up not like Obamas candidacy”not like Dutertes voters were so blind that they did not know that their leader is also blind”.

    8. A smaller role for America is good for us because we are only being used as a stepping stone/doormat for America’s hegemonic ambitions in this part of the world. Trump’s America First will justify Duterte’s Filipino First policy, which is the anti-thesis of the ideology that is being applied here since EDSA, which is, to put it simply, America First. That means all these Brown Americans/America Firsters in our midst can migrate to Trump’s America, there is no more place for you guys here. The world is changing but as usual the brainwashed idiots are not paying attention.

    9. America first is a good policy. Why do we keep allowing other countries to take advantage of our generosity is beyond any reason. Trump will decide and will act for our country’s best interests, just as the other countries’ leaders act in the interests of their respective countries. There shall be no more free rides courtesy of America.

    10. All jobs must be brought back to the U.S. and all U.S. technology must be guarded and not be allowed to be stolen by other countries. The U.S. must again become the leader of the Christian world.

    11. These were honest elections even counting for the last vote, The establishment and 90% of the US news networks didnt wanted Trump to win, they tried to distroy him, still are working on that. But he won. Real democracy is the winner here. I’m totally blown away, never expected this. Praise the USA for this, there is still a real democracy in the world. Thank God.