Despite the uncomfortable questions surrounding Trump, one thing is certain: Hillary in the White House would have been far worse for the world. She was all set to take the unilateralist badmashi of the US to the next level and precipitate a direct military conflict with Russia and China. The good news is that Trump is poised to change this apocalyptic course. Whether he is able to make America great again, is another question altogether.

The tone of the first phone conversation between President-elect Trump and President Putin is an indication that the self-proclaimed sole superpower will sober down under a Trump presidency and step back from the belligerent arrogance that had become its hallmark in world affairs. At the same time, it would be too simplistic to see the person of Donald J. Trump as the harbinger of this change, let alone leading a revolution. He is merely the new face of a defeated empire.

It’s true that his election is a big blow to the hypocritical globalist elite ruling the American roost, using trillions of dollars, military might and lies to aggressively push its neo-liberal agenda and political correctness down everyone’s throat. It’s true that the big banks and big money, the corporate media and the political heavy-weights of both Democratic and Republican parties supported Hillary. But hailing Trump as an anti-establishment hero is stretching things a bit too far.

Look closely at those surrounding him, and they are hardly the kind of ‘outsiders’ one finds around leaders serious about taking on the establishment. His running mate and now Vice-President-elect Pence is considered to be as much of an insider as anyone gets. Trump’s campaign team, the big names who supported him in the run-up to his election and the equally big names being announced and considered for key appointments since he was declared winner, are straight from the belly of the beast called the establishment.

Observers of American politics have pointed out that more than a rebellion against the establishment, the rise of Trump signifies a division within it. Hillary represented the faction that thought it could continue as before and maintain its hegemony through its usual imperial tools and talking tough, while the faction supporting Trump believed it is time to change tack. Trump’s victory suggests that the latter faction has prevailed. Otherwise, everything was in place to catapult Hillary to the White House, even if it meant rigging the election. Yes, they do it in the US as well.

In my opinion, the US establishment has backed off from the idea of taking on Russia and China simultaneously, primarily because it doesn’t see itself winning if it does so. The empire used every tool at its disposal from diplomatic deception to hybrid warfare, proxy wars through mini-me hegemons and vassals to direct military threats and economic warfare, but it underestimated the strength and resolve of the emergent China-Russia nexus and its growing partnerships and alliances. This called for a readjustment to realities on the ground and a change of tone and strategy.

The coming days will tell us more about the scope of this change: Whether the US is willing to accept the rise of other powers and accommodate their interests and views or whether it would try to break the China-Russia nexus by luring Russia away from its comprehensive strategic partnership with China by offering it some concessions.

During the campaign, in stark contrast to the outright demonisation of Putin’s Russia by Hillary, Trump had made conciliatory remarks regarding President Putin and talked about cooperating with Russia in Syria. In their phone-talk, besides other formal niceties which sounded refreshing given the palpable hostility between the two countries, the two leaders discussed ways to settle the Syrian crisis.

Trump has been bluntly critical of the War on Terror and Obama administration’s interventions in the Middle East, and his views on these matters are not very different from those espoused by President Putin. Trump has also taken exception to the way the US is practically bank-rolling NATO and called for its European members to share the cost of its expanded role in Eastern Europe. A scaling down of US military involvement in various corners of the world is on the cards.

This would be in line with the above-mentioned readjustment, at least vis-à-vis Russia, that the US establishment seeks and it would fit into Trump’s domestic policy. He would require that money to fund the revamping of infrastructure in the US that he has promised to create jobs at home. Don’t expect him to nationalise the big banks or anything half as radical as that. After all, the US is not Philippine and Trump is no Duerte. It would be unrealistic to expect a US President, especially someone like Trump, to rock the boat too hard.

While the election of Trump as the 45th President of the United States bodes well for the world, it is expected to bring instability within the country. That would serve as a tool in the hands of the US establishment to keep him in check and distract the people from more substantial issues. While it is true that the riots across American cities are being instigated and sponsored by colour revolution specialists like George Soros, Trump has no one to blame but himself for polarising the American society with his insensitive and divisive rhetoric.

He has hijacked the anger of a large section of American citizens against the ruling elite and its anti-people policies and directed it against immigrants, Muslims, Mexicans and other marginalised groups. His ideas about making America great again are piecemeal at best.

While Trump has ruffled quite a few elitist feathers, and been critical of key policies pursued by the Obama administration, he is unlikely to bring about a revolution that would bring down the pillars of American power structure. Trump is hardly the visionary leader that could bring it about. That’s not to say that nothing would change. But it is too early to say how far he’d be able to walk his campaign talk.

 

The writer is a freelance columnist.

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