I was watching the send-off of Donald Trump on CNN yesterday evening. What a pathetic sight.
The size of the crowd that had gathered in the South Lawn of the White House must come as a big slap to Trump. It was so thin! He did pause to speak with some of them; but that was very brief. As he and the first lady walked to Marine One, you could feel the weight of their legs. They felt so reluctant to leave!
At the Andrew Air Force Basse where Air Force One was already waiting for him on the tarmac, the sight was no better. Maybe a hundred or two? Of course, most of his immediate family members was there. That would be their last opportunity to travel on Air Force One.
He looked totally dejected. Notwithstanding, he still must make the last dig at the country he blames most for the loss of his throne. “China virus”, he blurted out, though without much energy or spirit.
Many said his ascendency to the throne was an aberration. The mightiest “democratic” country in the world should not have elected someone like Trump as their president in the first place.
After reading Barack Obama’s latest book “A PROMISED LAND”, I thought the seed had already been sown earlier.
Bush Jr’s second term in office marked the beginning of the decline of America’s prestige in the world stage. By 2007, he was a lame duck. Obama was the right man at the right time – racial prejudices were a non-issue at that time; Americans just wanted their world back. Obama seemed to be able to deliver that hope.
But Obama is not White. And not a mainstream politician.
Obama had both a good head and a good heart. He had a strong sense of purpose. He could not manage the underlying racial prejudices against Blacks and the Coloured in the Republican Party. the ability of its tea parties to sway the neo-Cons to the fore is deadly. His presidency not only cost many Democrats their seats in the Congress, but also the party’s significant majority in the Senate. With the loss of control in the Senate, he could only plod on lamely. He was sabotaged left, right and centre by Mitch McConnel and several other Republicans. The fear that had awakened the Whites in the Republican Party was most devastating to America. It ushered in a fake. Although Trump lost the election, some 75 million American had voted him. And these people are more emotionally more hard-core than people who voted for Biden.
It would not be easy for Biden to realign the mindsets of Trump’s followers to the real world. Many are firm believers of conspiracy theories, notably that of Qanon’s. Fortunately, Biden is a wise grandfather figure. He may succeed to some degree. However, China, which has been Trump and his team’s punching bag, should not feel too optimistic.
Most American are not well-travelled; few have been to China, including the influential politicians and senior bureaucrats. Because of its Stalinist legacy, Communism has always been thought of as evil, sinister, anti-Christian, anti-Islam, and what-have-you. On the other hand, China is most proud of its ruling party – CCP, the China Communist Party. To the uninstructed and untrained lot all over the world, China is an evil empire. And every Chinese a Fu Manchu!
So, many Whites, Blacks, Latinos, non-Chinese Asians in both the parties are still hostile to China and Chinese. China steals from us and China steal our jobs ring loud in their ears.
But what I am concerned about the legacy of Trump is the fact that many leaders have been through and through hypnotised by Trump, not just amongst the leaders in the Five Eyes, but also those in countries like Brazil, India, Japan, Africa and Europe. You can understand the fear of the Whites and Japanese - of being overtaken economically and militarily by China, but why the Indians and the Blacks?
Much of the latter’s is cultural.
India has always been touted as one of the oldest civilisations f the world. But that is only true in the Indus Valley, not the subcontinent as a whole. Many parts were tribal, even at the time when Buddhism was flowing into China. The Mughals had a great reign, but they were Muslims. It was not until the British that it became an aggregation. The earlier leaders opted for non-aligned policies. Even Narendra Modi was prepared to be identified with BRICS – the fraternity comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, until Trump came into the scene.
Trump triggered the ambition and the psychological complex of Modi and Indians. If China can do it, surely we can do better! This self-confidence is certainly not without basis.
Many of the Fortune 500, especially those in high-tech, are headed by Indians. So are some of the top universities, including ironically the Nanyang Technological University of Singapore, which was started as a Chinese community-funded university. Several of the ministers in Singapore are Indian. So is Boris Johnson’s Cabinet. India has more Nobel laureates than China. Some of the wealthiest men in South Africa are also Indian. Whereas Chinese thinkers and scholars are usually quite ill at ease in public speaking, Indians are a class of their own in English fluency and articulations. The citation can go on and on.
But anyone who has visited both India and China can tell you that India as a nation still has a long way to catch up with China. There are simply too many impossibilities to make this happen in the near future – the caste and religious divides, not to mention the antiquity of beliefs and practices in them; the extremes between the rich and the poor; the state of their infrastructure; the apparent lack of adherence to promises and undertakings that is often perceived of them in dealings, the disregard of personal and public hygiene amongst their lesser lot; the unions and their obstinacy, etc.
Emulation is the best way to bridge social-economic gaps. If only the Indians, the Japanese and the Chinese can work together; the region will certainly roll out to be the most affluent part of the world! (Taiwan is not an issue; the moment America lays its hand off, it will just become another prosperous province of China.) The West needs people like Trump to stay ahead!