It was November 1992 when George H. W. Bush saw the dream of a second mandate going away. 18 years later, the history repeats itself but this time the losing candidate is Donald J. Trump. The Donald, as some like calling him, will be remembered in the next years as a controversial figure, capable of surfing the international discontent against globalization and of leading populism at its highest potential.
Since the very beginning, the 45th President of United States has been very criticized by many intellectuals and public commentators for his strong ideas with regard to immigration, climate change and foreign policy. The motto “America First”, with its simplicity and empathy with the electoral base, was applied in all relevant policies Trump implemented during his mandate.
Eager for satisfying the desire of many conservatives across US and addressing their deepest fears, he immediately showed harsh hostility against illegal immigrants, financing the building of a wall with Mexico and hindering the entry of foreigners according to the idea that only when each American person will be employed, US would have been ready to welcome people from other countries.
We do not know whether really aware of its declarations or pushed by the willingness of quenching his electors, climate change was always labelled by President as a fake problem. Following this approach, the withdrawal from the Paris Agreement and the incentives to oil and gas industry players were amongst the most contested actions in this field.
It is maybe the economic and foreign field where Trump demonstrated the entrepreneurial and negotiation abilities that made him famous around the world before its run to US Presidency. Threatening to kick the table and supporting the ideological principle that relations between States are driven by egoistic logics, Mr. Trump was able to achieve good commercial deals, redesigning economic relationships with Canada, Mexico and European Union. NAFTA revision led to significant gains in terms of American wages and employment. After decades of US building of multilateral organizations, the President dramatically shifted the American traditions by applying a go-it-alone approach that has confused both allies and enemies, calling into question the continued viability of US global leadership.
Trump did not want to lead the developed world by providing economic and military support as done by former US Presidents. He trusted the idea that US presence has a cost thus the American help should be adequately remunerated. Loyal to this logic, he started to reduce the presence of US troops in Middle East asking for billions in order to keep them there. This is the geographical region where Mr. Trump created a temporary and unexpected foreign success by leading to the signature of the “Trump Peace Plan” on the Israeli-Palestinian issue and of the “Abraham Accord” on the diplomatic normalization between Israel and UAE – then also Bahrain. Without caring of human rights implications, Mr. Trump changed the physiognomy of Middle East by creating a big and shaky coalition of States (Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia) against Iran, a threat for its nuclear weapons experiments.
In the same region, Trump risked many times a deterioration of the relationship with Mr. Putin, ally and enemy of The Donald. Trump believed that US should have not spent too resources in fighting with Russia, identifying in China the real threat for US supremacy. The unilateralist approach of the US President in the foreign policy led China to strengthen its position in international institutions like UN, WTO and WHO. At the contrary, the harsh trade war limited partially the unstoppable growth of Xi Jinping’s country, only delaying the certain rise of China as the new global power.
We like remembering Mr. Trump for the Presidency with the unemployment rate falling to 50-Year Low. We would have never wanted Mr Trump to be remembered as the responsible of deep racial tensions and negationist attitude towards Covid-19, a disease contributing to kill 266K of US people until now.