Editor's Note Volume 19, No. 3

Editor's Note

MUHİTTİN ATAMAN

The American Presidential election in 2016 is a significant breakpoint in American history for both the uniqueness of the election campaigns and the unexpected results. After Donald Trump declared his electoral victory, getting fewer votes than his rival, Hillary Clinton, in nationwide elections, thousands of Americans poured out into the streets, protested the results and denounced Trump’s presidency.

Similarly, Trump was faced with many legal and political criticisms immediately after his inauguration in January 2017. Prosecutors blamed some of his team members for plotting against the country and some observers even began to talk about the impeachment of the president. Trump had no other choice but to ask for the resignations of a number of his team members such as the National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.

One of the most radical, ultra-nationalistic and also inexperienced presidents in American history, Trump insistently asked the Americans to vote for him in order to “make America great again.” After coming into power, he promised the Americans to restructure the American political system –constructive for some, destructive for others– and to rebalance world politics in favor of the United States. For this endeavor Trump has had to fight against not only external challenges but domestic ones as well, because of his pledge to change the main course of both American and global politics.

Domestically Trump is commited to annihilating the influence of the traditional establishment in Washington D.C. and the mainstream media based mainly in New York. In other words, while trying to rule the most powerful state in the world, Trump is determined to continue otherizing influential power circles in the country. On the one hand, he opposes the traditional ruling elites in Washington D.C., where he received the least support in the elections. On the other hand, he has been following an antagonistic policy towards
blacks, Latinos and Muslims living in the U.S. His supporters are mainly white middle and lower-middle classes, known for their xenophobic, anti-immigration and anti-globalization tendencies. Moreover, many Republicans do not share his views regarding the minorities and social policy and they openly criticize the Trump administration, especially for his harsh rhetoric against certain identities and for his close association with Russia before and during the election campaigns.

In the international setting, Trump has preferred to use a confrontational political discourse. He has been using a harsh rhetoric against many global actors such as the EU, China and Iran. So far he has threatened a number of countries with the use of military force, most notably North Korea and Venezuela, and has openly declared his resentment against significant American allies such as Germany, Saudi Arabia and many other countries in Europe and the Middle East, for not contributing to American hegemony but rather acting as free riders in international politics. Trump has abandoned the soft power based and globalist foreign policy of the Obama administration, and instead he has preferred to depend upon hard power. While he attempts to consolidate American global hegemony, Trump refuses to provide global public goods such as liberal values and a free market economic system. On the one hand, he wants to subjugate
all American allies and questions the effectiveness of traditional U.S.- led multinational institutions such as NATO and the United Nations. On the other hand, he wants to punish whichever country tries to expand its sphere of influence.

As briefly mentioned above, Trump has to face many domestic and international challenges in order to be able to remain in power and maintain his authority. According to numerous observers, Trump’s domestic and foreign policies are not consistent. He has been following an ultra-nationalist policy both in the domestic and international setting. Thus, he has paved the way for political
and social instability at home and a chaotic atmosphere in the world. The inconsistency and uncertainty of the Trump administration leads to mistrust both at home and abroad. It remains to be seen in which way Trump’s domestic and foreign policy orientation will turn. For now, it can be said that recent developments in both the U.S. and the world do not bode well.

Aiming to analyze and elucidate on how Trump is trying to reconstruct the U.S., this issue of Insight Turkey familiarizes the readers with the most debated domestic and international issues, among them the U.S. elite crisis, Islamophobia, NATO, nuclear North Korea and the Middle East.


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