Donald Trump: threat to world peace
Can I bring myself to write once more about Donald Trump? Can you bear to read any more about this malign man?
In chemistry a catalyst increases the rate of a chemical reaction without itself being altered. Last November the American electorate introduced a catalyst into the delicate chemical mix that is international politics.
And sadly the effects are all too clear to see.
As this chemical reaction intensifies, it is clear that we are living now in a world at greater risk of explosion than any time since the Cuban crisis marred the beginning of JF Kennedy’s presidency.
Trump promised America would no longer be the policeman of the world. It would turn in on itself: no more foreign policy initiatives, no more intervention in wars in far off places. He offered instead an isolationist United States, focused on making itself ‘great again’ through a domestic political agenda that put American first.
Yet in the miserable months since his inauguration – with its bitter and twisted address when he talked about “American carnage” – he has been unable to resist undermining the delicate balance that has sustained what peace we have had since the end of the world’s second global conflict.
At home he has been slowly undermining his predecessor’s health care reform – depriving millions of a basic human right to health and well-being. Abroad he has been dismantling foreign policy initiatives designed to make the world a safer place.
Obama neutralised Cuba with a rapprochement with the Castros; he was not able to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but his accord with Iran, ending its pursuit of nuclear weapons, made the middle east a much safer place. Kim Jong-Un in North Korea remained a threat, but was being increasingly isolated.
One by one, Trump has undone those achievements.
Just months after it opened, the United States’ embassy in Havana is under threat of closure.
His wilful denunciation of the Islamic Republic of Iran at the United Nations was met this past weekend with the launch of a Iranian missile which demonstrates they can, if they wish, attack their bitter enemies in both Israel and Saudi Arabia. By demonising Iran in front of an astonished UN General Assembly, Trump undermined moderates who had been winning the battle against the mullahs.
North Korea was belittled. “Rocket Man” was abused before the world, gratuitously insulted in a manner designed to provoke a reaction. And a reaction is what he got. North Korea’s foreign minister told the UN it was now evitable that North Korean rockets would “visit” the US mainland.
Let us not forget that the only country to use atomic weapons in anger thus far was the United States.
There has been much commentary on the irrationality of Jong–Un; he has been painted as a comical figure by the west. To be fair, Jong-Un does what he can to prove those prejudices correct.
But put yourself in his shoes for a moment. His embattled country has been vilified, and his opponents have done all they can to bring it to its knees. He has been humiliated repeatedly and taunted on Twitter, on television and now on the floor of the United Nations – an organisation that is built on the principle of mutual respect.
Given the belligerence of the United States, the Russian arsenal, French and British independent deterrents, and the emergence of nuclear nations such as India, Pakistan and Israel – why shouldn’t North Korea, or for that matter, Iran wish to arm themselves with nuclear weapons too.
I am not for one moment advocating the proliferation of nuclear arms; merely highlighting the imperialism of the nuclear haves who are holding the world to ransom.
The death last week of Stanislav Petrov, a nuclear worker who quite possibly saved the world from conflagration, is a timely reminder that we are all at risk while these weapons exist. Petrov was on duty when Russian’s early warning system indicated an incoming American strike. He decided it was a false alarm and did not report the warning to his superiors.
Back to our catalyst now. The attention-seeking president of the United States is a real and present danger to the world. He is being treated with kid gloves because of the client status of many western powers. The United States is ‘too big to fail’.
But the price of their silence may well be the destruction of the very political, social and economic systems they are struggling to maintain.
Jong-Un is a dangerous man. But Donald Trump is the greater threat to world peace and it is time those governments who give him tacit support recognised that.
- This article appeared in The Irish News on 26 September 2017