Imtiaz Rafi Butt
DONALD John Trump, the 45th President of the United States is the wealthiest and oldest president to walk the Oval office. He was born in Queens, New York to Fredrick Christ Trump and Marry Anne Trump in June 1946. His paternal grandparent immigrated from Kallstadt, Germany while his mother came from Scotland. The Kew-Forest School was the first institute that he attended till age 13 when his father decided to send him to New York Military Academy which he believed would discipline the rough energetic kid that he was. He finally graduated from Wharton School of University of Pennsylvania in 1968 with a degree in Economics.
Trump took over the family’s real estate business in 1971 and transformed the Elizabeth Trump & Sons as The Trump Organization that not only widened its operations but also became the parent company of over a hundred small businesses across United States and abroad that include Hotels, Resorts, Golf Courses and Casinos. Forbes Magazine in 2016 estimated his net worth at $ 4.5 Billion making him the richest US Politician although he claims that he is worth $ 10 Billion which analysts believe to be false as he is over estimating value of his property and personal brand. His business career however has not been totally smooth as he declared six bankruptcies which he proclaims that he used to negotiate debt with the banks. He himself admitted that he maneuvered the laws of the country to his advantage which is just smart business.
Trump has had a significant career in the media. He has acted in over 12 films and 14 television series. His most prized endeavor was the reality show ‘The Apprentice’ where he was the Executive Producer and host. The show completed 14 seasons, earned him $ 214 million and a star on the Hollywood walk of fame. However due to his derogatory remarks about immigrants, NBC has announced that they will no longer do business with Mr. Trump and have hired actor and former Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger for the 15th season. Trump has also tendered appearance in World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and even participated in a match titled ‘The Battle of the Billionaires’ in WrestleMania 23 in 2009 and was admitted to the WWE hall of fame in 2013. Trump has also owned part of Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants. Trump’s political affiliation and leanings remained insignificant till 2015. In 2000 he filed an exploratory committee to seek presidential nomination of the reform party however withdrew from the campaign owing to a poll matching support against George W Bush and Al Gore at only 7%. Trump announced his candidacy for president in June 2015. His main slogans in the campaign remained illegal entrants in the United States, Stealing of American jobs, rising national debt, and threat of terrorism for the US. His official campaign slogan was “Make America Great Again”. The Republican Party presidential primaries results came out with Trump taking 14 million votes and 1441 delegates against Ted Cruz with 7 million votes and 551 delegates. Finally in the United States Presidential Election 2016 Donald Trump won against Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton with 304 Electors and 30 States against 227 electors and 20 states. Donald Trump assumed office on 20th January 2017.
Mr. Trump has been termed outrageous by many of his friends and foes. The belief that campaign slogans seldom lead to actions cannot be banked on someone as extreme and head strong as Trump which is evident from his actions within first ten days in the White House. The quick fire of Presidential executive orders is a clear statement to the World. Perhaps arguably the most controversial, widely criticized and legally challenged is the executive order stamping immigration ban on seven Muslim countries Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Yemen thereby revoking roughly 60,000 visas. A strong reaction to the above order spiraled around the United States. A federal judge in New York blocked part of the Executive order saying it “violates rights to Due Process and Equal Protection guaranteed by the United States Constitution”. A further shock came when a federal judge in Seattle granted a nationwide temporary restraining order blocking U.S. President Donald Trump’s recent action barring nationals from entering the United States. The US department of Justice has decided to file appeal against the judge and has been calling the ruling as ridiculous. Furthermore, a Panel of 3 Judges in the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeal’s ruled against Trump’s Ban. Similar reaction has been seen abroad where Iran immediately stamped a similar restraining order against the US travellers. This decision has ignited anti American sentiments and likely to further provoke hatred and possible violence on US soil and against personnel abroad.
Another foreign policy shift that looks on the cards is that the US now seems more open to joining Russia in fighting ISIS which was not a possibility under Obama. The silver lining that some analysts believe is that US army and paramilitary forces might be forced to stop playing both sides and pursue a single agenda. However Russia with its deepened economic dependence on China would not be too keen to act on it. Beijing has been offended at the by Trump administration for opposing its access to islands in the South China Sea. It is still early days and it remains to be seen how this quagmire unfolds.
The Trump administration has promised to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital. This is likely to destroy the peace process. At the same time Times Magazine reporter and analyst believes that Trump administration is rethinking of reauthorizing “Black Site” prisons and torture facilities overseas. Another move that is likely to cause more harm than good in the long run.
Pakistan although not included in the banned list but is being considered to be placed in the high scrutiny list. This would mean difficulty for movement of goods, services and personnel across borders. However, Washington insiders say this is highly unlikely as the US needs to have a working relationship with the Islamic World’s only Nuclear Power. The Obama administration left Afghanistan in a hurry and many unresolved issues and Pakistan is a key player for US being a nuclear frontline state against terrorism with the ability to provide valuable intelligence and support. However the bond between China and Pakistan and the US desire to build India as an equalizer for China makes this relationship complex. This further reinforces the bond between Pakistan and China. This time tested and trusted natural alliance with China now becomes a necessity for both partners. CPEC is the expression of this trust and alliance which is not just a game changer but our road to survival and prosperity.
Pakistan has immense intrinsic value as an important geo strategic country especially after the fact that the China Pakistan Economic Corridor is now a reality. There is an era of revival and growth dawning upon Pakistan and we should be acutely focused on creating a dynamic, vibrant and sustainable economy that will provide for our resilient and vigorous population. On our most important foreign policy front, Afghanistan. Thanks to our newfound clout and support from China, Iran and Russia have accepted Pakistan’s view of reconciliation between the different factions involved in the war torn country. It is indeed a very interesting time in the world that the traditional drivers of global security the US and Europe are in chaos and Pakistan has its best days ahead of it. Mr. Trump will most probably be too embroiled within domestic American politics to play spoiler and even if he does look Pakistans way, the fact is that he is not following traditional American foreign policy and is in fact challenging it at every opportunity, he could see an opportunity rather than a problem in Pakistan. It wouldn’t surprise me at all, The Worlds most powerful deal-maker might just offer the unexpected, a positive deal with such an important emerging star on the horizon. (The Writer is Chairman, Jinnah Rafi Foundation)