Motapo We’Zigidi (Twitter@siyazi)
¶ US president Donald Trump is said to have referred to countries in Africa and the Caribbean as “shithole countries”. This has sparked outrage all over the world. For example the Government of Botswana is said to have summoned the US envoy in Gaborone to seek clarification on the matter. Also, the African Group of ambassadors have come out to express their disgust and to demand an apology.
¶ Apology for what really?
¶ As much as we (Africans and others) have to be concerned with Trump’s utterances, my view is that it is quite concerning that decision makers and leading people in the world of politics and media appear to miss the point. Trump’s drivel is just a sideshow. The real issue is in the United States itself, the attitudes and wishes of America as expressed through the Oval Office. United States wants a realignment in international politics and economics because it is felt that globalism no longer compatible with its interests.
¶ Yes, the rage and screaming are completely misplaced. In this regard, Botswana is barking at the wrong tree in Trump, so are African ambassadors.
¶ It has been a while now that the United States has struggled with its politics, both internally and externally. So, the country needed something of significance, a messiah, to streamline its political bearings to feel in charge again. The presidential election in 2016 was hiatus moment. Therefore, Trump’s election was neither a mistake nor coincidence but it was deliberate.
¶ For one minute please forget the propaganda of global liberals. Trump is neither stupid nor mad. He is a man of a sound mind who ran a multi-billion real estate business before taking oath as president of United States at the end of 2016. Trump represented all the American value system is about “hard work”, “Christianity”, “economic liberalism”, “flamboyance and arrogance”, “violence”, “dominance”, “white supremacy”, “getting what you want through whatever means possible”, and of course money.
¶ So, there would be no better person to take over in the White House to revive America’s ailing fortunes both at home and abroad. Donald John Trump. Trump’s ancestors originated from the German village of Kallstadt in the Palatinate. Just like Adolf Hitler in the 1930s, he did not elect himself but voters for a reason. Foreigners and others are thus seen a distraction and are quickly turned into scapegoats for everything that is wrong under the sun.
¶ The fall of the Berlin Wall which marked the end of Soviet Union in 1989 was hailed as an important milestone in world politics for a number of reasons.
¶ First, it proved that communism was indeed bad, and Western-style political system which guarantees personal freedoms and democracy was the sole truth as the holy Bible. Second, Russia’s centrally planned economy was bad for prosperity of individual countries and the world. Third, capitalism and its related madness were punted as resilient and also said to offer possible solutions to some of challenges facing the world, including inequalities and poverty. The global economic crisis in 2008 exposed vulnerabilities of the system for the first time. Fourth, the Cold War had finally ended and the US was confirmed as an undisputed champion of the world.
¶ The US was enthusiastic about its new status of being as sole power in a unipolar world. Politically, this meant that Washington could do whatever it wanted to do and had no one to account to, but itself.
¶ Under successive governments of the two Bushes, Clinton and Obama unilateralism and confrontation were a preferred mode of conducting foreign policy. Wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and a string of bombings in Sudan, Pakistan and elsewhere happened outside normal approval processes of the United Nations. Cold War violence did not disappear after all.
¶ The US saw nothing wrong with its subversion of international law for as long as it protected its territory and its people, from imaginery enemies just to add. The ‘war on terror’ remains a tool of carrying out its foreign policy, which basically promotes dangerous norms and principles of of either you are either “with us” or “against us”.
¶ The unipolar status gave the US latitude to pick and choose in terms of multilateral agreements and agreements, from the Kyoto Protocol to the Rome Statute. Global politics descended into chaos, and the US saw nothing wrong with that for as long as the global disorder worked in its favour.
¶ US aggression against other countries went unpunished. Its support for Israel and other repressive regimes across the world continues to this day. Human rights abuses in US facilities (and territories of ‘friendly nations’) in places like Guantanamo Bay, Pakistan, Israel, Egypt and Middle East live a bitter taste.
¶ Moreover, to support its economic and political dominance, the US recruited people from “shithole” countries either as professionals, semi-skilled or unskilled labour to work in its economy and armed forces. The blue-card programme for migration became an example of how globalization should be carried out by other countries. Human movement of people was not a dream but a reality for everyone to live an “American Dream”.
¶ The states of Arizona, Texas and New Mexico turned the tide under the Obama administration and attempted to wrestle migration issues from the federal government. Although they lost their bid in the Supreme Court, they turned to Trump to handle this controversial subject for them. Of course, many other states and individuals became increasingly worried that minorities were darkening the complexion of their country. Though located outside the European continent, for many Americans their country is white.
¶ United States is a security state, it is on a permanent state of emergency since 2001. This is evident in the measures put in airports and other ports of entry. Individual freedoms that the country always claims to promote and protect are relegated to mean TSA and other security agencies in the name of keeping out an invisible enemy (“national security state). Unfortunately, Americans believe that such an enemy exists – a bomb-carrying Muslim, a rapist Mexican, a drug peddling Latin American, a dirty Haitian, and a criminal African (African American).
¶ Concerns about race and jobs make US citizens yearn for old past when America looked invincible. Make America Great Again!
¶ The end of the Cold War resulted in deepening of global capitalism, sometimes called “globalisation” or “the era of multinational corporations”. The US led from the front, with the support of close allies like Europe, Japan and Canada as well as multilateral economic organizations in IMF and World, in spreading the brutal dominance by capitalism in the world system.
¶ As early as 1994, the signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico. The permeation of regional organizations spread to other parts of the world like fire to other parts of the world. The integration of the world economy was promoted through these quasi-state organizations as the only route for economic development and prosperity. In addition, US multinational corporations were symbols of success and were found all over the world. Their incongruous investments were a means of exploration of other countries.
¶ Foreign direct investment and outsourcing of production abroad saw the global companies taking advantages of weak laws, cheap labour and weak political governance systems in countries like China, Bangladesh, Mexico, etc. China gained a status of a “global factory” as American and European companies moved their production to free trade zones in Shanghai and other Chinese cities.
¶ The global economic architecture also supported American growth: the Greenback was the main currency for international trade and commerce; the World Trade Organization (WTO) maintained imbalances of world trade; US and Europe maintained stranglehold of the global economy through IMF and World Bank (as well as rating agencies); etc. Basically, the US had its bread buttered on both sides, it held a superior of position of both referee and player.
¶ Life was good for American flag became a symbol of power, dominance and success.
¶ However, all this success came at a huge price for America. Jobs were exported abroad. The state lost billions in unpaid taxes, and local economies suffered due to lack of investments. Poverty in cities like Michigan increased as American auto-manufacturers went abroad but could not compete with Japanese, Korean and European companies. Poverty, crime and strife in American cities are at an all time high. To cap it all, globalization gave birth to a fierce economic rival called the People’s Republic of China.
¶ The rules created to benefit the US, in particular, have been exploited by Beijing through its state companies. China and its companies maintain presence in all countries and every sector of the economy. The communist state has turned the international capitalist system on its head. Suddenly, the US spends time taking China to tribunals than negotiating rules at the WTO. The US is also fearful of Chinese investments in Africa, Latin America and Asia.
¶ African countries waste time on Trump and his rants because they still see America as a global hegemon that provides both political and economic opportunities to their countries, see over dependence on AGOA.
¶ But they are not aware of the true intentions of the US, which are two-fold: to redefine rules of engagement in the international system as well as to reverse its creation, globalisation. For Africa, it should be focusing on its political and economic relations with the US under the yet-to-be-seen system of the future.
¶ Lack of imagination on the part of African states means that they spend time worrying about what cantankerous Trump says rather than reading the small print in everything he says. Trump is a perfect man for the job to deliver to the American people, forget the rhetoric and lamentations.
¶ With Trump, the intention is to make America great again, whatever that is. So, please go back your shithole countries.
In the meanwhile, enjoy covfefe moments!