Isaac Newton said it best when he stated that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. His laws reach beyond the realm of physics, and extends to American politics. In President Obama’s case, his chosen ‘action’ is an inactive foreign policy, especially when dealing with tyrants like Vladimir Putin, the aggressive nuclear policy of North Korea and Iran, or his vernacular surrounding the illegitimacy of ISIS as a threat to the United States.
The president has severely reduced any sort of foreign power the United States has accumulated over time. This is a particularly interesting action considering that the rest of the world is quick to ask for US aid in times of disaster, especially with the looming Syrian refugee and migrant worker crisis. Ultimately, the United States has become a laughing stock for other world leaders, and Obama has given them every opportunity to keep laughing.
President Obama has visited numerous countries and apologized for the United States on many occasions. He has turned a blind eye to Putin’s aggression toward Russian border nations and blatant oppression of his people. He has refused to acknowledge the threat that lies in North Korea, downplaying the significance of Pyongyang’s claim of a successful hydrogen bomb test. This follows suit with his previous attitude toward the major terror network ISIS, which he labeled as “junior varsity” and has since maintained his stance on gutting military spending and fortification.
Most poignantly, he failed to mention the capture of two US navy ships by Iran and ten American soldiers who were held at gunpoint and forced to apologize for their country in his State of the Union Address. He still speaks highly of his recent nuclear deal that has yet to actually hold Iran accountable to disarmament and reduction of nuclear capabilities.
Many Americans fear for the security of their country, and their voices are rising up as they attempt to find a 2016 presidential candidate who will reverse the detrimental work that has been done in the past eight years. In a recent Gallup poll, numbers show that this election season represents the first time a majority of Americans are dissatisfied with security from terrorism. This week’s poll shows 55% of Americans unhappy with American security actions and policy, almost double the 24% dissatisfied in 2012, before President Obama’s second term.
Regardless of whether or not anyone agrees with Donald Trump and his statements over the past campaign season, it is clear that a nationalist-shaped hole has formed in American politics because of President Obama’s flagrant flippancy toward other powers around the globe and lackluster sense of force among other world leaders.
As seen in the last Republican debate, Trump is known for his brazen speech style and some rather outlandish remarks. However, he claims to support more nationalist policies that many Americans have been waiting to hear for the past eight years, and seems to stand by his claims without apology. Because President Obama seems to be rather spineless in terms of foreign policy or taking responsibility for the decline of the United States as a major power, Americans are reacting similarly to many European countries after the Paris attacks—they are afraid of the potential dangers that come with open immigration policies, unchecked borders, and a president that doesn’t himself believe in the greatness of America.
The current two-party system in the United States does not allow for the evolution of party platforms. As each party attempts to attract a new subset of voters, its platform shifts to appeal to a certain demographic, leaving many voters unrepresented and unsatisfied by their choice in party affiliation.
I do not know if Donald Trump is a true Republican. I am not sure if he even fits the current dichotomy of ideologies. However, Trump is the figurehead of a rising social movement in the United States that has been triggered by President Obama’s legacy. Many of his statements contrast the president’s past remarks, especially on Obama’s foreign policy. In his book Time to Get Tough: Making America #1 Again, he says, “I make no apologies for this country, my pride in it, or my desire to see us become strong and rich again. After all, wealth funds our freedom. But for too long we've been pushed around, used by other countries…”
In many ways, foreign policy and immigration policy are some of the greatest issues America currently faces, and they directly affect domestic, economic and social concerns. US dependence on foreign oil remains high, businesses are going overseas, and the movement of people is rapid and vast. Global stability is rapidly deteriorating, and this affects the security concerns of many Americans. Thus, Trump’s talk of ‘building a wall’ on the US-Mexican border and placing a temporary ban on Muslims entering the United States is a solution offered to many who feel that American foreign policy has major problems.
His rhetoric lacks the finesse of a well-groomed presidential candidate. Perhaps this impulsive and jarring attitude is exactly what many unsatisfied voters are looking for, after experiencing a government full of Ivy League graduates who filibuster flawlessly for days but never produce real results or security. It seems impossible that he can offend so many different groups of people but remain a front-runner in many polls. However it is also difficult to tell which major groups support him, and whether or not they will follow through and vote for him in a primary or even a general election. Regardless of his future success, his style and ideology has been integral in raising many issues with the current state of the US.
Don’t want our next president to be Donald Trump? Don’t allow the current president to reduce the reputation of the United States any further.