In his two years in the presidency, Donald Trump has honored many of his election promises – and at the same time bounced off many friends of the United States. A back and forth from Washington.
US President Donald Trump has been in office for two years. During this time, he made some well-publicized and controversial decisions: he made sure that the US resigned from the international nuclear agreement with Iran, that the US withdrew from the already signed global climate agreement, as well as from the historic trade pact Asia – the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
Instead, he provoked a trade war with China, imposed tariffs on European allies, and ordered the swift withdrawal of all US troops from Syria.
Domestically, he decided on one of the biggest tax reforms in recent history and was extremely keen on illegal immigration. In addition, he triggered the debate over the construction of a wall to Mexico, the longest “shutdown” in US history. Another record could soon follow: Never has a US president appointed so many new federal judges.
This list shows only the most striking examples of Donald Trump’s current term. One thing is certain: his presidency has a noticeable impact. But all his steps, no matter how unpredictable, should not surprise anyone. Because Trump simply solves his election promises, as he likes to tell via Twitter.
For decades, politicians promised to secure the border, fix our trade deals, bring back our factories, get tough on China, move the Embassy to Jerusalem, make NATO pay their fair share, and so much else – only to do NOTHING (or worse)….
In two years Trump has already achieved a lot, for example how the US is seen in the world. “Trump has a very negative impact on US foreign policy and certainly on the American ‘soft power’ in the world,” says Joseph Nye. The political scientist and former Harvard professor coined the term “soft power” – that soft power that convinces with culture, values and reasoning rather than military strength.
Does not know “soft power”: US President Trump just before he travels to Texas on 10 January
For Nye, the US withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement is one of Trump’s most dangerous political decisions so far. The reason lies in the long-term negative consequences for the international fight against global warming. In contrast, the exit from the Vienna Atomic Energy Agreement with Iran is the worst short-term decision to date, says Nye. The decision not only hardened relations with Tehran, but also poisoned relations with many European allies.
Slope to untruth
But not only Trump’s political decisions are controversial. The same is true of his political style. He tends to tell the untruth, says Nye. He is a president who creates his own picture of the world. “We had dangerous and difficult presidents, like Richard Nixon or Lyndon Johnson, but nobody was as unpredictable and insincere as Trump,” says Nye.
Trump is an outsider among the American presidents, which proved the first two years in office. Barbara Perry is convinced of that. The political scientist works at the University of Virginia. “I’d say he’s an unprecedented president, he’s completely out of the grid,” Perry says. “He is like no one else before.”
US election system has not stopped Trump
The US has already seen many demagogues, Perry points out. But no one has made it to the White House, the electoral system has always been able to stop them. But this system has a catch: the Americans do not choose their president directly, but give their votes to the so-called electors in their state. How many electors a state has depends on its size. You then choose the president later.
Donald Trump speaks to the nation about border security from the Oval Office in December
Trump made it to the presidency, because he could convince the majority of the so-called election men – in the total number of votes cast, however, he was behind his rival Hillary Clinton. For analyst Perry is therefore clear: Trump’s election victory is a warning that the system is faulty. “The fathers of our constitution wanted the electoral system to protect us from just these people: demagogues in the White House, in the office of president.”
And what can we expect from Trump’s second half, maybe even from a second term? For political scientist Joseph Nye, it’s clear we need to be prepared for even more unpredictability and unpleasant surprises. Barbara Perry puts it even more clearly, “I’m afraid we can survive four years, but I’m not sure we can go through eight years.”