In depth: An inside look at the President’s most recent statements and messages
Since his entry into the American Republican primaries Donald Trump ignited an interest in American politics. When Kevin O’Leary entered the Canadian Federal Conservative primary he did the same. O’Leary’s entrance was restricted to Canada, Trump has become an interest worldwide. His victory in the primaries was expected by many. Shocking the world, he upset the election, defeating Hillary Clinton and adding President of the United States to his resume.
Today he is a topic in daily conversations, media, and social media. He uses Twitter on a regular basis to express his views. He has also makes controversial remarks considered racist and divisive. Many consider President Trump to be speaking in a non-presidential manner that divides America.
On 21 August 2017 Donald Trump gave a speech centered on the USA’s strategy in Afghanistan. It is part of a growing list of behaviour that some call a reformation of Trump.
Neo-Nazis, KKK, and other groups considered white supremacists rallied on August 12 in reaction to a plan to remove a statue of General Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Virginia. The rally was confronted with a counter rally by groups in favour of equality, against racism. It ended with a car driving into the crowd of anti-racist protesters. One person died. Many were injured.
Donald Trump’s first statement was
We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence on many sides … It has no place in America.
He spoke against racism while condemning the actions of both white supremacists and the anti-racists. On August 14, from the White House, he said
[W]e condemn, in the strongest possible terms, this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence. … Racism is evil. And those who cause violence in its name are criminals and thugs, including the K.K.K., neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups that are repugnant to everything we hold dear as Americans.
Trump’s first statement defines both alt-right (white supremacists) and alt-left (anti-racist) as hate groups. His second statement specifically names KKK, Neo-Nazis and white supremacists, condemning them as hate groups; it acknowledges the USA’s battle against racism.
Slavery/equality was a central issue in the American Civil War. The Confederate/South was a supporter of slavery; the Union/North favoured abolishment. The Union won the war. General Lee was a commander for the Confederates; he is considered a warhero in the South for victories on the battlefield.
On August 21 Donald Trump began his speech by acknowledging American soldiers, speaking for their loyalty to American, sacrifice, patriotism, and a single American/united America. He condemned racism and honoured Americans’ equality saying
The men and women of our military operate as one team, with one shared mission, and one shared sense of purpose.
They transcend every line of race, ethnicity, creed, and color to serve together — and sacrifice together — in absolutely perfect cohesion.
Turning to the war in Afghanistan he said Americans “are weary of war without victory”, the war had been continuing for 17 years, since 2001, post-9/11, and spoke of “a plan for victory”. Stating an immediate exit from Iraq allowed the rise of DAESH, he had abandoned a plan of a pull-out from Afghanistan but had created a plan for victory.
First he spoke of Pakistan, a state considered to be harbouring terrorists. Together with working with Pakistan to eliminate terrorism, he spoke of garnering the government of Pakistan as an ally in Afghanistan.
From the American side the first part of the plan is
to [not] announce in advance the dates we intend to begin, or end, military options. We will not talk about numbers of troops or our plans for further military activities.
Conditions on the ground — not arbitrary timetables — will guide our strategy from now on. America’s enemies must never know our plans or believe they can wait us out. I will not say when we are going to attack, but attack we will.
He then spoke non-military. Rather than focusing on simply arms Trump said “integration of all instruments of American power — diplomatic, economic, and military — toward a successful outcome.”
The plan has the option of diplomatic – non-violent talks, not a restriction to just military and physical war. It includes building Afghanistan as a country. American economic power is based on capitalism. Using capitalism in Afghanistan will create a rich and poor divide similar to North America and Europe. At the same time it will create more employment, opportunities for the population, opportunities they can use to escape terrorism.
World War 2 began in 1939, the end of the Great Depression, the “Dirty Thirties”. Canadians and Europeans joined the forces because it was an opportunity. WW2 was a catalyst to restart the world economy, providing employment opportunities, allowing markets and production to begin again. It played a role in economic empowerment of women. Men leaving for war gave women opportunities to take jobs at home. Rather than leaving jobs when men returned from war the women kept them.
Similar to Ally forces in World War 2, many join terrorist groups because of no other option. By strengthening Afghanistan’s economy people will have a choice between safe employment and suicide. President Obama suggested the same.
Donald Trump said the operation would be led by America but “We will ask our NATO allies and global partners to support our new strategy with additional troop and funding increases in line with our own.” He has made past demands to NATO, that it is not contributing enough to fight DAESH in Syria; his speech used “ask” – NATO will be approached to provide resources in Afghanistan but have the option of saying no.
He spoke of India as an ally. A “critical part of the South Asia strategy for America is to further develop its strategic partnership with India”. India is helping with Afghanistan but needs to contribute more “especially in the area of economic assistance and development.”.
For years economists have recognized BRIC – the strong emerging markets of Brazil, Russia, India, and China predicted to be the largest contributors to the world GDP, overtaking USA. During the Republican primaries Donald Trump campaigned using “Make America Great Again”, that America he would again make USA the world’s leading superpower. He continuously speaks of closer relations with Russia as an ally. Recent stand-off with North Korea has seen Trump extending a hand to China as a military and economic ally via sanctions against North Korea. Today India sees a similar America, being recognized as “the world’s largest democracy and a key security and economic partner of the United States”, a military and economic ally in Afghanistan.
In his speech Trump said
We are a partner and a friend, but we will not dictate to the Afghan people how to live, or how to govern their own complex society. We are not nation-building again. We are killing terrorists.
Political Scientists define “state” as the government and formal institutions of a country. “Nation” is culture, population, language, history and ethnicity, a country’s identity. One of Trump’s first executive orders as President was a travel ban to the United States from seven Muslim-majority countries. Afghanistan is a Muslim-majority. Trump said America will fight terrorists but allow Afghanistan to choose creation of living standards and government. On 17 August he Tweeted
Study what General Pershing of the United States did to terrorists when caught. There was no more Radical Islamic Terror for 35 years!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 17, 2017
Later he said
Radical Islamic Terrorism must be stopped by whatever means necessary! The courts must give us back our protective rights. Have to be tough!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 18, 2017
On August 21 Trump didn’t use “Islam”, “Muslim” or “radicals”. Terrorists were a part of a group that was violent and committed mass murder. They are groups based in countries they feel safe from persecution. Pakistan and Afghanistan were named countries fighting terrorism and a base for terrorists; terrorists were not associated with either. Pakistan has “suffered greatly from terrorism and extremism.”
Speaking to the families of soldiers wounded and lost on the battlefield he ended his speech with
With our resolve, we will ensure that your service and that your families will bring about the defeat of our enemies and the arrival of peace.
We will push onward to victory with power in our hearts, courage in our souls, and everlasting pride in each and every one of you.