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Donald Trump inauguration

Donald Trump’s rhetoric is at odds with reality

Should the new president’s ideas be turned into policies, China and the world face turbulent times. Americans and foreign governments alike have to make him realise the hazards of such a dangerous approach.

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 22 January, 2017, 2:38am
UPDATED : Sunday, 22 January, 2017, 2:38am

Not before has a US president given an inauguration address as filled with nationalism, isolationism and protectionism as did Donald Trump. He amplified his campaign trail rhetoric, pledging to put “America first”, ignoring the reality that no nation in the world is as powerful. Should his ideas be turned into policies and then enacted, China and the world face turbulent times, with the likelihood of trade wars and even military conflict. Americans and foreign governments alike have to make him realise the hazards of such a dangerous approach.

The first 100 days of a presidency are watched closely to determine direction and resolve. It only took hours to give insight into what Trump’s term will be like; action is already underway to backtrack on climate change policy, leave the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact and tear down former president Barack Obama’s health care reforms. The biggest programme will centre on infrastructure, with roads, bridges and railways promised. But how he intends to return jobs and wealth he claimed had been lost to other countries was not laid out, nor did he offer a strategy to “unite the civilised world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate from the face of the Earth”.

What can China do to save Sino-US ties with Donald Trump in charge?

People and nations need to work together to resolve problems, but Trump gave no indication he is willing to cooperate. His message for those who do not support him was to be fearful. With four past presidents seated behind him, he blamed their administrations and the establishment for allowing America to lose its shine. China was not directly named, but his past remarks about alleged currency manipulation and unfair trade deals echoed when he spoke of “the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs”.

Reality is quite different. Obama’s administration brought unemployment down from 10 per cent to now less than 5 per cent, the envy of most developed countries. The “carnage” of inner cities in the US is not borne out by statistics. A claim that helping military allies had weakened the American defence force belies the truth that the US spends more on its military than the next seven countries combined.

Trump was elected by voters who perceive globalisation has robbed them of good-paying jobs. They do not realise that should his promises on trade be carried out, their nation will be worse off. The US and world will be greater and stronger if he listens, learns and cooperates.