The United States of America is a country of immigrants, a fact which has not only been recognised in the Declaration of Independence and future goals set accordingly, but is also amply reflected in the phenomenon known as the ‘American dream’. The American dream, elaborating on the ideals reflected in the Declaration of Independence espoused the cause of democracy, rights, liberty, opportunity and equality. James Truslow Adams defined the American dream in 1931 in these words, “Life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement regardless of social class or circumstances of birth.” What made America great is the faithful pursuit of the ideals of the American dream, though over the years the meaning of the American dream has changed with the emergence of a global vision.

The ethos of the American dream today implies the opportunity to make individual choices without any restrictions that limit people to their class, caste, religions, race or ethnicity. It would not be an exaggeration to say that for millions belonging to working and middle class Americans, upward mobility has served as the heart and soul of the American dream. But now that seems to have been put into reverse gear by those Americans who voted for Trump on the basis of his highly controversial and bizarre ideas that he promised to implement to make the US a fortress for white Americans and the way he perceived to conduct and manage international relations.

Trump’s rise to power actually signifies the beginning of the process to shatter the American dream. It has created unbridgeable fissures within American society itself as is evident from the continued protests throughout the country ever since his swearing in, particularly in the wake of his executive order of clamping a ban on the entry of citizens of seven Muslim countries. Reportedly, attorney generals of sixteen states have condemned the ban and three US courts have also suspended the executive order issued by Trump. Legislators belonging to Republican and Democratic parties and international groups have also condemned the move, while a US rights groups has filed a lawsuit against the orders of the President. He has also picked on the US media which surely is going to give him a tough time. It clearly indicates that the going would be tough for Trump on the internal front and the saner elements of American society will never tolerate and compromise with Trump’s policies that promote xenophobia against the Muslims, create divisions within the American society and make America an undesirable destination for people needing help and asylum on humanitarian considerations. For many Americans, Trump is the bull in the China shop, who in his madness, is going to destroy what moral and material assets the US has accumulated since its independence.

On the external front also, his implemented and contemplated policies have not endeared him well to the world community. Iran has already announced to consider reciprocal retaliatory measures against the US. The likelihood of other affected countries and the Muslim world at large resorting to similar actions cannot be ruled out. Such a scenario is going to create new tensions and conflicts as well as aggravate the already existing human tragedies and confrontations in different regions of the world, especially Middle East. The UN, European leaders are also wary of how Trump perceives to change America and manage international affairs. They particularly do not agree with the part of his executive order not to let the refugees in. France, Canada and Germany have differed with Trump’s approach on the issue. A signature campaign is in full swing in UK to block Trump’s visit to the country and reportedly, millions have already signed it.

Trump’s xenophobia against Muslims has already started demonstrating its ill-effects. A Muslim female employee of an airline was assaulted by a supporter of Trump saying “Trump will soon get rid of you”. Reportedly, a French-Canadian university student in a terrorist attack on a mosque in Canada has killed 6 people while 17 were wounded. Similar attacks by whites within US and European countries are now a real possibility. It is surely going to create severe reaction in the Muslim countries and the Muslim diaspora living in the US and the European countries with the likelihood of retaliatory attacks on whites. Trump’s executive order is the perfect recipe for fomenting more terrorism in the world rather than tackling it and making America safe as perceived by him. He indeed is treading a disastrous path that will endanger peace and security at the global level, besides destroying the gains of globalisation.

No doubt, the US is a superpower not matched by any other country in terms of economic and military prowess at the moment, but it is surely not in a position to change and refashion the world map according to its own wishes and dreams. It does not enjoy a free hand in managing international affairs. There are other players on the global chessboard to check any possible indiscretions that Trump may like to enact in different regions of the world. He particularly needs to exercise the utmost discretion and prudence while firming up his policies regarding Asia, particularly South Asia and Afghanistan. It is being speculated that President Trump might add some more countries to the already announced list and Pakistan could well be included in it. That, if it comes about coupled with increased pressure on Pakistan regarding terrorism and its nuclear programme to appease India, would perhaps be the biggest blunder ever committed by America. It will not only increase tensions between India and Pakistan but might also jeopardise US strategic interests in the region. Hostility towards Iran, Pakistan, China against whom US is propping up India as well as Russia, might eventually force these countries to collectively neutralise the indiscretions of the Trump administration.

Pakistan has suffered the most in the war against terrorism and has taken indiscriminate action against all the terrorist entities and there is a zero tolerance policy against the militant outfits. India is fomenting insurgencies and acts of terrorism in Pakistan about which dossiers have been handed over to UN and US administration. But it is engaged in a relentless propaganda against Pakistan, taking advantage of the US tilt towards her. Pakistan does not want arms race with India, however, it cannot jeopardise its security by remaining oblivious to arms build-up by her. Pakistan’s nuclear programme is India specific only and it has always supported the cause of nuclear non-proliferation in spite of not being a signatory to the NPT. I think the Trump administration must look at the ground realities in this region with an open mind and try to resolve the causes of conflict between Pakistan and India including the core issue of Kashmir. He must also rescind his statement declaring terrorism specific to Islam to enlist the cooperation of the Muslim countries to fight it.


The writer is a freelance columnist.