‘Trumped: Emerging Powers in a Post-American World’, a new book authored by international affairs academic and commentator Dr. Sreeram Chaulia was launched in the capital on Thursday. Published by Bloomsbury and I.B. Taurus, the book challenges liberal presumptions that America has done tremendous good in the world, and that it is bound to lead the world or else there would be chaos and collapse.
Chaulia is Professor and Dean, Jindal School of International Affairs (JSIA), O.P. Jindal Global University. In his latest work, he argues that US President Donald Trump’s disruptive, populist and isolationist foreign policy has opened the door for rising powers in Asia, the Middle East, Latin America and Africa to replace the US and take over leadership of these regions.
The book delves deep into Trump’s approach to international issues, his trademark foreign policy style, the divisions within his ‘two-track presidency’ and how the struggle between ‘nationalists’ and ‘globalists’ in the American polity is impacting the rest of the world.
It reviews how foreign policymakers in key rising power centres of the world are looking at America under Trump and adjusting their national security and economic strategies and also provides fresh thinking about the future of the international order by arguing that the solution to a withdrawing and isolationist US is not a return to a single global order but new ‘post-American’ regionally-based multiple orders
Speaking during the book launch at the United Service Institution (USI) in Delhi, Dr. Arvind Gupta, Director, Vivekananda International Foundation and former Deputy National Security Adviser of India, said that there was a need to develop an Indian narrative on global issues.
“Dr. Chaulia’s book gives us a very confident and bold assertions that countries like India can take advantage of the emerging world order. What will be the shape of this new multi-polar world?” he added.
Following the release of the book, Meera Shankar, Ambassador of India to the United States (2009 to 2011), Dr. Harsh Pant, Professor, Kings College London, United Kingdom, Smita Sharma, Foreign Affairs Journalist and Editor and Marc Reyes, Fulbright Scholar and Researcher, participated in a panel discussion. The discussion was moderated by Dr. Mohan Kumar, Vice Dean, Jindal School of International Affairs and former Ambassador of India to France (2015-2017) (IANS)
“It’s the economy, stupid” has been a catchphrase of U.S. presidential politics since the 1992 campaign, when Bill Clinton unseated incumbent George H.W. Bush. Nearly three decades later, U.S. President Donald Trump is hoping that simple message in 2020 will help foil his eventual Democratic Party challenger.
Trump — in tweets, at political rallies and in remarks to reporters — constantly emphasizes the performance of the U.S. economy, stock market surges, low unemployment rates and his tax cuts to boast he is doing a great job as president.
Economists and political analysts are divided on whether that message will enable the incumbent to stay in office beyond January 2021.
Culture war, partisan split
Ever since Clinton, “we’ve all kind of assumed that should be true. And I think for the most part, it is,” said Ryan McMaken, senior editor and economist at the Mises Institute, a politics and economics research group in Alabama. He cautioned, though, that Trump finds himself on one side of a culture war that his predecessors did not have to confront, as well as a deep partisan divide on consumer confidence.
Policy analyst James Pethokoukis at the Washington-based American Enterprise Institute, a public policy research group, also is cautious about the economy prevailing over all other issues.
“Just having a strong economy is not going to guarantee you re-election,” he said. “People often point back to the 2000 election, which occurred after a decade of tremendous economic growth any way you want to measure it — gross domestic product, jobs and wage growth. And yet, [Clinton’s vice president] Al Gore still lost that election to George W. Bush.”
McMaken questioned whether voters in key swing states — such as Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio — who cast ballots for Trump in 2016 were experiencing enough of the touted economic performance to vote again for the president.
Overall, however, “it’s not a bad economy to run on if you’re Donald Trump,” said Pethokoukis.
Trump, said to have concerns about the direction of the economy ahead of next November’s election, will likely push for more tax cuts, passage of a renegotiated North American trade pact and continued pressure on the country’s central banking system, the Federal Reserve, to lower interest rates.
There are rumblings of economic storm clouds on the horizon. The impact can be seen in Trump’s trade war with China, which has hurt U.S. farmers and raised prices for consumer goods. It’s also reflected in the Institute for Supply Management’s Manufacturing Index, an underperforming U.S. Private Sector Job Quality Index and a ballooning record national debt, in addition to the worrying level of money owed to creditors by middle-class Americans.
“We’ve actually been in a sort of a manufacturing recession, seen a shrinkage of factory jobs, the exact kinds of jobs that I’m sure that people voting for the president thought would be a lot better now,” said Pethokoukis.
So far, none of this has prompted a major stock market correction.
“There seems to be a lot of adaptations in the markets to Trump’s America. That may work to his advantage,” said the Mises Institute’s McMaken.
Analysts note a lack of emphasis on economic platforms so far by the leading Democratic U.S. presidential candidates seeking to oust Trump next year.
But such a platform is likely to be touted when the opposition party holds its convention next July in Milwaukee and picks its campaign ticket. Pethokoukis suggested the Democratic Party should devise a plan with a goal to boost American worker productivity, which has flatlined for years.
The great divide
McMaken pointed out that the widening chasm between the well-off and those struggling economically in the United States makes Trump vulnerable — something emphasized by left-leaning Democratic presidential contenders such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
“On the ground level, I would say just in general, the economy isn’t doing as well,” concluded McMaken.
Amid an impeachment drive by the Democrats, Trump is repeatedly hammering on a specific message to those questioning his suitability for office while being impressed with the performance of their pension accounts during his presidency.
“Love me or hate me, you’ve got to vote for me,” Trump said at a rally in New Hampshire in August, warning that Americans’ investments portfolios would go “down the tubes” if he lost next year’s election. (VOA)