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A blog by Leon Oudejans

Let’s Make America Great Again

29 May 2016


Let’s Make America Great Again is a campaign slogan which was first used by Ronald Reagan during his 1980 presidential campaign. The term was created in 1979 during a time in which the United States was suffering from a worsening economy at home marked by high unemployment and inflation. Since Reagan left office, the slogan has been used by Donald Trump (Wiki).

Recently, a young woman focused on the implicit meaning behind this Reagan / Trump slogan by wearing a hat that said: America was never great. She received death threats (eg, NY Times). Donald Trump – and to a much lesser extent that young woman – both have a valid point. America is living on borrowed time and money. 

America is a country of immense contradictions and in so many ways. Either things are the best or the worst: private vs public education, Wall Street vs Main Street, hospitals vs healthcare, military vs public infrastructure, private vs public transport, nature vs nurture, freedom vs prisons, security vs safety, virtue vs vice, credit vs savings, spending vs taxes, politics vs people, and so on and so forth.

Given America’s fundamental unwillingness to fund its own spending by paying a fair and reasonable amount of taxes, it’s nearly impossible to remain a SuperPower in the remaining 84 years of the 21st Century. Fundamental choices must be made. The Trump campaign slogan underlines that future choice. The future American focus will be a domestic one rather than continuing its international SuperPower role. A Clinton Presidency would only delay the inevitable.

Often the Trump campaign statements seem erratic and especially to non Americans. Nevertheless, the international statements by Trump reflect a fundamentally different choice (eg, China, NATO, proliferation, Russia). The domestic statements by Trump reflect a bipartisan, cherry-picking, or hybrid approach but all geared towards making domestic America great again. The Trump statements on education, infrastructure, Main Street, outsourcing, and Trumpcare all point towards a national agenda and no longer an international one.

Obviously, the international impact of a domestic, national US agenda is immense. China is clearly anticipating on this (eg, South China Sea, Taiwan). Russia is doing the same (eg, Far East islands). Germany wants a European army (eg, FT). A Brexit would even leave the UK in the cold at both sides of their seas (eg, Trump on Cameron, Juncker on British deserters).

I expect that a future bipartisan, cherry-picking, or hybrid approach by Trump will become very successful for domestic USA. Given their immense challenges ahead, it’s unlikely that USA will again focus on an international role anytime soon. They have learned a very expensive lesson: it’s impossible to be a SuperPower abroad and a SuperPower at home, and especially when you refuse to pick up the tab after partying.

America – You can do magic (1982) – artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

You can do magic

You can have anything that you desire

Magic, and you know

You’re the one who can put out the fire


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