America is Trumped

I had written several blog posts on Donald Trump and his ascendancy to the topmost position as leader of the “Free World” in a rather quick time frame, not afforded to most politicians aspiring for the Presidency role in the U.S. Some of my posts have favoured Mr Trump as I thought it cannot be bad for the U.S. to get back at least some of the jobs that it had lost to China and other countries around the world. Neither can a lower tax rate be harmful to U.S. businesses which would then go ahead and invest some of their freed up resources into new products and create new jobs for Americans. And that might even encourage some trillion dollars of profits kept outside the U.S. by American Corporationsto flow back into the U.S., if not fully at least partially.

I also worried about the diplomatic effects of conducting diplomacy via Twitter, which seems to be the favourite means of communication of Mr Trump. I worried about the composition of his Cabinet – mostly billionaires who would engender conflicts of interest with no touch of reality either. And, so on and so forth.

The flurry of executive orders within the first week of taking office depicted a man in a tearing hurry and he was bound to make serious mistakes in that haste. Despite the confident posture of Mr Trump and the rash utterances of his aides, the detailed process of vetting that exists in any government machinery did not apparently existed when Mr Trump signed off on these executive orders. It is very apparent that proper governmental advice was not rendered him (although he is not a kind of guy who would take nicely to any kind of advice), which has resulted in a series of lawsuits over the past couple of days all around the country, specifically against his executive order banning citizens from seven Islamic countries to enter the U.S. and also stopping refugees to enter over the next 120 days.

Now Mr Trump and his friends in the government have to face not only the irritated Congress, but also the Courts of Law which have always taken the status of a strong counter balance to the executive. Now Mr Trump has to face strong music from Republican Senators who do not approve of his rash orders, but surely the Democratic Senators who have vouched to fight tooth and nail. The Courts will respond to his non-compliance of their orders very shortly. And there will be a series of such actions against all his executive orders. Such actions will delay matters for him, and he is not a person who would tolerate any delays.

Are we seeing the emergence of a dictatorship in the U.S. after 240 years of democracy – albeit a controlled version of dictatorship?

May be. The pattern of operation emerging in the White House clearly points to this phenomenon which the U.S. has never experienced except during the Presidency of another Republican President – Richard Nixon, who seriously subverted, compromised, threatened and assailed at the fundamental pillars of democracy.

When the Executive rails against the Judiciary and the Congress (in the case of the U.S.), the democratic institutional framework kicks in based on the fundamental principles enshrined in the U.S. Constitution. And if the executive violates the U.S. Constitution, there are specific amends which can be made. So, we are in for a very interesting phase in the development of U.S. democracy which would have an enormous impact on the rest of the world.

The world is worried. Europe is surely worried. The U.K. and Japan are worried. Who is laughing? Of course, it can only be China, right?

The global leadership vacuum caused by the exit of the U.S. would have far-reaching consequences for the world. China won’t be able to successfully fill the shoes, but I will write about that topic in another blog post very soon.

In the meanwhile, now is the time to think about how a dictator in the White House could cause damage around the world, and how to tackle the same – more importantly, how the rest of the U.S. government, judiciary and congress would deal with such a phenomenon. How will the U.S. citizens react?

Rather serious and interesting times indeed.


Vijay Srinivasan

30th January 2017



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