Breaking News

The flip side of Trump’s ‘America First’ sentiment

By Muyiwa Adetiba

For the first time since the Williams’ sisters took the centre stage, two Black American women this month found themselves in the Finals of the US Open. In fact, for the first time ever, three Black American women were in the Semis. The commentators, most of them Americans since the tournament took place on American soil, gushed about how good it all was for American tennis. They all found it convenient to be colour blind.

US President Donald Trump addresses the 72nd Annual UN General Assembly in New York on September 19, 2017. / AFP PHOTO

The guy who took the shine away from Hussein Bolt’s final lap of honour by beating him at the London games was a black American. He did not run for the black race. He ran for himself. He ran for America. The point is, Black and Hispanic Americans are doing great stuff for America in different spheres of human endeavour.

Yes, integration has been slow but it is a far cry from the Martin Luther-King days. Yes, there are still large pockets of white supremacists in certain areas of the country but they had been largely ignored as bigots that they are. In the main, many Americans take the whole package, the good and the ugly.

Then Mr Donald Trump entered the political scene with his promise to ‘make America great again.’ To the naïve, he was appealing to fellow Americans to raise America to the next level. To the discerning however, he was appealing to a base; that base which sees Blacks and Latinos as mere hewers of wood and drawers of water; that base which thinks America is being polluted and dragged down from attaining its full potentials by immigrants.

If Americans were conscious of colour before Trump’s ascendancy, they are even more so today and his clearly un-presidential comments on the Charlottesville race riots showed where his heart truly lies. His immigration acts and rhetoric have been clearly against Blacks, Hispanics and Muslims.

So we now know that President Trump’s ‘make America great again’ is a desire to take America back to an era of white supremacy and domination. He chooses, along with his core base, not to acknowledge the vast contributions of Blacks, and Hispanics in the Arts, Sciences and even Politics. President Donald Trump and his fellow travellers see greatness from a very narrow prism.

An evidence of that is his stance on climate change which his predecessors had championed but which he thinks limits America from exploiting her full industrial arsenal. Like all bullies, anything that does not give America a distinct advantage must be repealed whether in politics or trade; whether with China, Australia or Iran. Or like in climate change, the rest of the world. Yet, he expects the whole world to rally round for him. His need must be everybody’s need; his wish everybody’s wish.

That is his definition of greatness. An evidence of that was his speech at the United Nation’s General Assembly (UNGA) which railed against North Korea and Iran. His speech was as uninspiring as it was delusional. How do you ‘utterly destroy’ a tiny country without collateral damage to its neighbours, one of which is your ally; one of which is almost as powerful as you are?

He expects the UN which he had described in unflattering terms in earlier speeches to jump on board unconditionally in vilifying and punishing North Korea. Just as he expects the UN because it has its permanent home in US to toe his line in making ‘America great again’ by projecting America’s interests and domination.

*But it is not only America that wants her own greatness. It is not only America that has visions of grandeur. If he can just stop acting the bully for a second and look at North Korea’s desire for nuclear capability from other prisms, he would realise that North Korea has a point or two in continuing her pursuit of nuclear capability.

History has shown that countries which have been pressured into giving up their nuclear pursuit have been treated shabbily instead of being praised for shunning personal interest for the sake of ‘the general good.’ Look at Libya; look at Iraq. Kim Jong-un of North Korea knows that he is dead meat the minute he gives up his nuclear ambitions. He wants guarantees. He also wants respect from America and the international community.

Trump’s America is refusing to give him any. For all the subterfuge and double talk, China wants a strong buffer between her and the West and is happy with the role North Korea is playing in that regard. Ditto Russia which also shares a border with North Korea. They both want guarantees that North Korea will not be weakened or obliterated and are not likely to applaud our man’s latest speech. They also want America to remove her military base from South Korea.

Trump’s America is trying to bluster her way through thinking the rest of the world will simply line up behind her. But the rest of the world is wary. Even her allies are wary. There is no equitable deal on the table for North Korea. There is no trust for Trump. Unfortunately, allowing Kim Jong-un to have a nuclear power is like allowing a boy to play with a gun.

Both might go off at the slightest excitation killing thousands of innocent souls. Unfortunately too, nobody can swear that Donald Trump will not press the nuclear button or start a war that will trigger one. Europe and Asia are between the rock and a hard place. The rest of the world waits with bated breath.

Nigeria will do well to learn from what is happening between America and North Korea. Brinksmanship has its limits. Now is the time to give and take. Rolling armoured tanks into the South-East will not stop the Biafran agitation. It will only alter the dynamics. The South must look at the needs and the fears of the North from the prism of a Northerner.

The North must do the same for the South. It is okay for example for the North to embark on massive land cultivation for agriculture. Can the Niger-Delta region which has fed the country for half a century do the same today? The ecological degradation in the region makes me sad because it is callous and shameful. And avoidable. The time to talk is now.


All rights reserved. This material and any other digital content on this platform may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, written or distributed in full or in part, without written permission from VANGUARD NEWS.


Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.