It all started like a joke, when nobody believed Trump had a chance, and it ended with the inauguration in Washington D.C. last week. Now Donald is the new POTUS and shall start working, in-line with his campaign speeches or not, future shall tell.
In the present environment, where the world order defined in 1945 is slowly but surely collapsing, Trump's election certainly carries a lot of meaning, and a lot of symbolism, making some people enthusiastic, and others depressed.
The question I want to discuss in this letter has nothing to do with the personality of Donald, nor with the on-going scandals, propaganda and fights between the winner and the losers of that historical election. Reading the rest of this Letter, please forget about the accusations of sexism or racism made against him. True or not, they are not relevant in the present discussion.
My question is: how comes Trump managed to be elected in a country where the ultra-liberal elites seemed to fully control the "system" and where money buys everything (Trump budget was far less than Hilary's one)?
Can that be the work of a single original guy (even wealthy) taking advantage from the frustration of the US middle-class? Would that be enough to win against the WHOLE business elite of the country? My instinct (and some experience) tells me : NO!
Based again on more instinct than documented facts, here is my version of the events.
Again, the US seems to have been under the total control of the neo-liberal clique since 9/11, spending large resources of the nation in endless wars, promoting free trade and globalization as an ideology, even if this meant transferring jobs to Asia or allowing US companies to export benefits to tax heavens. All was going the way large investors and bankers wanted to. Such policy, leading to disasters outside of the US and to raising level of poverty inside the country, together with the absence of fierce critic inside the US (even Sanders was quite soft) lead most of us to believe all this would go on and on, until a collapse of some sort of the US as a country. What I mean here is critic originated from part of the elite, as most radical change, even revolutions, come from a part of the elites, not from the population itself.
But the fact that we did not see nor hear anything does not mean that some part of the elite was not starting to feel uncomfortable with the current political and economical choices. My guess is that part of the elites started to be active, working on a change of policies, and this for the following reasons.
First the dramatic state of the REAL economy (nothing to do with the financial performance of the Dow), with growing poverty, decaying infrastructures, state of healthcare with growing new-born death rate and the drop in life expectancy for men for example. Second, a growing risk on the international theater, with the US openly playing the provocation card against Russia, with the risk to end-up in a global armed conflict leading to a nuclear Armageddon, not to mention a tendency to encourage salafist mouvements across the world, that shall become a major risk for the US on the long term.
Such elites realized that something had to be done to get out of the dead-end. It does not mean that those people are socialists or humanitarians, but rather that they look at the future without the filter of the neo-liberal ideology. They are practical capitalists, who, like Henry Ford did, believe that a strong and relatively wealthy middle-class is the only viable basis to develop a stable economy in the long term. Probably most of them were part of the neo-liberal crowd a few years ago, but I believe the 2008 crisis and the multiple disasters in the Middle-East helped them to get free from that ideology.
Again a guess, but I believe that big segments of US entrepreneurs are now thinking in new terms, where Nation, Population, Middle-Class, Peace, Jobs, Traditions are not empty words. They are close to the elites that created the US early capitalism - the industry capitalists. Of course finance capitalists in Wall Street, like Soros, consider the move as totally non acceptable, as this would mean the end of their world-wide liberal governance project. Liberal high-tech champions in California are on that in total agreement with Soros and his friends, as well as the show-biz and media elites.
I believe that Trump had no chance to succeed without the discreet but efficient support of a part of the elite. Now those elites have their guy in the White House and work can start.
What should we expect?
Based on the above, I think we should expect the following:
- on the international scene, and in a world clearly becoming multi-polar, the US shall focus on competition against China, and not Russia. If the key factors are local employment and restoration of a healthy US middle-class, the key issue is China. Russia did not "steal" US jobs, did it?
The goal shall be to get jobs back (realistically part of them) and work on a rebirth of the US manufacturing power, probably with focus on strategic new technologies (not gadgets a la Apple), following Elon Musk example, while a rebuilding of aging infrastructures should also be a key element of the new policy. China is clearly afraid of the trends and was in Davos the main voice advocating free trade and open borders (ironic isnt'it?). Having two foes is not wise, so the positioning versus Russia should change a lot, towards at least a neutral position, and new stand on Syria or Ukraine can be expected.
- on the domestic scene, bad times are to be expected for the finance industry and the D.C. crowd, but better times for SMBs and large companies who jump into the re-industrialization plan and buy the overall economical and political program. Eventually we may see actions similar to what Putin did in Russia at the begin of the 00's, granting best possible conditions for friendly oligarchs, while sending non-friendly ones to exile or prison. The amount of "kompromat" is the US is hardly smaller than in Russia!
The next years shall show if I was right or wrong.
One more word, on climate change, apparently absent from Trump program, to note that a return to a protectionist policy shall reduce intercontinental shipments, which largely contribute to world wide pollution, so the situation may not be so bad as many think!
Finally, and because not all of us could listen to it live, here is a transcript of Trump inauguration speech, in which I underline some key phrases, as a mirror of some of my points above. Good reading!
"Chief Justice Roberts, President Carter, President Clinton, President Bush, President Obama, fellow Americans, and people of the world: thank you.
We, the citizens of America, are now joined in a great national effort to rebuild our country and to restore its promise for all of our people.
Together, we will determine the course of America and the world for years to come.
We will face challenges. We will confront hardships. But we will get the job done.
Every four years, we gather on these steps to carry out the orderly and peaceful transfer of power, and we are grateful to President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama for their gracious aid throughout this transition. They have been magnificent.
Today’s ceremony, however, has very special meaning. Because today we are not merely transferring power from one Administration to another, or from one party to another -- but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C. and giving it back to you, the American People.
For too long, a small group in our nation’s Capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost.
Washington flourished -- but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered -- but the jobs left, and the factories closed. The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country.
Their victories have not been your victories; their triumphs have not been your triumphs; and while they celebrated in our nation’s Capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.
That all changes -- starting right here, and right now, because this moment is your moment: it belongs to you. It belongs to everyone gathered here today and everyone watching all across America.
This is your day. This is your celebration. And this, the United States of America, is your country.
What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people.
January 20th, 2017, will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again.
The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer. Everyone is listening to you now.
You came by the tens of millions to become part of a historic movement the likes of which the world has never seen before.
At the center of this movement is a crucial conviction: that a nation exists to serve its citizens.
Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families, and good jobs for themselves. These are the just and reasonable demands of a righteous public.
But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists: Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system, flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of knowledge; and the crime and gangs and drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential.
This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.
We are one nation -- and their pain is our pain. Their dreams are our dreams; and their success will be our success. We share one heart, one home, and one glorious destiny.
The oath of office I take today is an oath of allegiance to all Americans.
For many decades, we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry. Subsidized the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military. We’ve defended other nation’s borders while refusing to defend our own, and spent trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay.
We’ve made other countries rich while the wealth, strength, and confidence of our country has disappeared over the horizon. One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores, with not even a thought about the millions upon millions of American workers left behind.
The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed across the entire world. But that is the past. And now we are looking only to the future.
We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital, and in every hall of power. From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land.
From this moment on, it’s going to be America First.
Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families. We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies, and destroying our jobs. Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength. I will fight for you with every breath in my body -- and I will never, ever let you down.
America will start winning again, winning like never before.
We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth. And we will bring back our dreams. We will build new roads, and highways, and bridges, and airports, and tunnels, and railways all across our wonderful nation. We will get our people off of welfare and back to work - rebuilding our country with American hands and American labor.
We will follow two simple rules: Buy American and Hire American.
We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world -- but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first. We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example for everyone to follow. We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones -- and unite the civilized world against Radical Islamic Terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth.
At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America, and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other. When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.
The Bible tells us, “how good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.” We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity.
When America is united, America is totally unstoppable.
There should be no fear - we are protected, and we will always be protected. We will be protected by the great men and women of our military and law enforcement and, most importantly, we are protected by God.
Finally, we must think big and dream even bigger.
In America, we understand that a nation is only living as long as it is striving. We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action - constantly complaining but never doing anything about it.
The time for empty talk is over. Now arrives the hour of action. Do not let anyone tell you it cannot be done. No challenge can match the heart and fight and spirit of America.
We will not fail. Our country will thrive and prosper again.
We stand at the birth of a new millennium, ready to unlock the mysteries of space, to free the Earth from the miseries of disease, and to harness the energies, industries and technologies of tomorrow.
A new national pride will stir our souls, lift our sights, and heal our divisions.
It is time to remember that old wisdom our soldiers will never forget: that whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots, we all enjoy the same glorious freedoms, and we all salute the same great American Flag.
And whether a child is born in the urban sprawl of Detroit or the windswept plains of Nebraska, they look up at the same night sky, they fill their heart with the same dreams, and they are infused with the breath of life by the same almighty Creator.
So to all Americans, in every city near and far, small and large, from mountain to mountain, and from ocean to ocean, hear these words: You will never be ignored again.
Your voice, your hopes, and your dreams, will define our American destiny. And your courage and goodness and love will forever guide us along the way.
Together, We Will Make America Strong Again. We Will Make America Wealthy Again. We Will Make America Proud Again. We Will Make America Safe Again.
And, Yes, together, We Will Make America Great Again. Thank you, God Bless You, And God Bless America."