Small World: Unintended or intended? Consequences.


Henry Precht

By Henry Precht

BN Columnist

In rapid fire order President Trump has issued a batch of directives affecting the nation’s foreign relations and future. Here follows a quick summary of some of the dangers the author apparently did not take into account:

The Mexican wall and deportation of illegal aliens:

  • These two items will place an enormous drain on the U.S. budget, especially at a time when the Administration is thinking of big tax cuts.
  • There is no way that Mexico will pay for the wall. If we try to finagle the funds with a tariff or such we will make imports more expensive for ordinary Americans and possibly set off a trade war.
  • Many Mexicans, who can’t cross the border or who are deported, will be jobless at home and a dangerous source of instability and hostility for us.

A temporary ban on Moslems coming from seven Middle Eastern countries while exempting Christians. There is also a ban on all Syrian refugees.

  • The measure “proves” the radical Islamic (ISIL) charge that the U.S. is at war with Islam and favors Christians, fueling latent hostility towards our country.
  • Makes it politically difficult for Arab nations to ally with us in the fight against ISIL.
  • Ignores the root causes (and responsibility) for the present turmoil and refugee crisis in the region, which was our invasion of Iraq and occupation of Afghanistan.
  • Feeds the division between Judeo-Christian Americans and the Moslem minority, creating conditions for domestic terrorism.

Pulling out of the Pacific Rim TPP trade pact, designed, in part, to give small Pacific countries protection against China’s overwhelming influence.

  • Vietnam, Malaysia and the others will now feel the U.S. is an unreliable partner. Better to rely on China.
  • Kills off a forum useful for resolving trade disputes.

Giving the Pentagon 30 days to develop a plan to defeat ISIL

  • While ISIL is a dangerous entity holding territory, it is not the primary source of radical Islamic hostility in the Middle East. That is to be found in all Arab countries characterized by autocracy, poverty, and over population.

Puts Iran “on notice” after Yemeni rebels attack a Saudi ship.

  • There is no conclusive evidence that Iran is giving the rebels substantial aid.
  • Iran is fighting our enemy ISIL, unlike Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, which have given aid to the extremists.

Soft and late message to Israel for stepping up the construction of illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

  • Compromises — perhaps fatally — the long-standing evenhanded U.S. role in seeking a fair Israel-Palestine peace settlement.
  • Severely damages prospects for a two-state peace settlement with a democratic, Jewish Israel and a disarmed Palestine. Leaves Israel as a minority state ruling two peoples and prompting the charge of apartheid.

You have to wonder if the new administration is a victim of incompetence, ideology or a combination of both. Some of its other moves are, in my view, acceptable — for example, the nomination of a respected judge for the Supreme Court. A harbinger of wiser decisions to come or an aberration? We shall see.

Yet to come may be Trump-led attacks on NAFTA (the US-Canada-Mexico trade agreement), the six-nation nuclear accord with Iran, the NATO treaty and — trickiest to manage — the repeal/replacement of Obamacare. Stand by for more turmoil.

Henry Precht is a retired Foreign Service Officer.

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