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‘Trump’s election starting point of decline of American power in global politics’

By Debo Oladimeji
12 November 2016   |   7:00 am
Former Director General of Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Prof Bola Akinterinwa, said the United States (US) election is seen as one with domestic and international implications.

Professor Bola Akinterinwa, a former Director General of Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Prof Akin Oyebode of the University of Lagos and an David Aworawo, an Associate Professor in the Department of History and Strategic Studies, University of Lagos examine the implications of the victory of Republican Party candidate, Donald Trump, a businessman, in the November 8 presidential election in the United States (US), bearing in mind his rhetoric and outbursts during the campaigns against blacks and immigrants, including Nigerians.

Akinterinwa

Akinterinwa

Former Director General of Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Prof Bola Akinterinwa, said the United States (US) election is seen as one with domestic and international implications.

According to him: “The external dimension of the election is the whole world, because the US is the leading major power and, of course, the only surviving super power.

“The election in the US is necessarily considered as an international or global election.

“When we are talking about the implications for Nigeria and Africa, we are looking at a component of the global community and how the global community is looking at the implication for Nigeria in particular and Africa in general, at least from the black man perspective.”

He said Donald Trump is on record, known to be a racist, particularly discriminating against the black people.

He recalled that when the businessman was in charge of estate management, he was supposed to be allocating houses/flats to people in New York, but he willfully and openly discriminated against the black people.

“In fact, he was charged to court by the government for discriminating against black people. So, when we are talking about Trump as President of the US, you now have an individual who is supposed to be given a global status as a world leader, but who also has animosity vis-à-vis black people, who constitute a component of the global community.

“Then the implication of the administration of Trump is clear. We want to see how he would have removed his animosity vis-à-vis the black people of the world.”

Akinterinwa noted that Nigeria has a policy that underscores the protection and defence of the black man, adding: “But we now have an incoming American President who is not in tune with the black man and black dignity.

“Then you can now know that there is no way the foreign policy of the US under Trump will not be in direct conflict with Nigeria foreign policy.”

He feared that Nigeria-US relationship in the foreseeable future would be characterised by irritants, more conflicts than cooperation.

He stated: “Even if Hillary Clinton had been elected president, there won’t have been much different at the level of same sex marriage, because the two of them support same sex marriage. The only thing is that Trump is more aggressive in nature than Clinton.

“In Nigeria, a law has been promulgated making same sex marriage a crime against the state and punishable. If you are found guilty, you would be sentenced up to 14 years.”

“So, on that issue, Nigeria and the US are not on the on the same level.

“Trump even referred to Nigeria as this and that during his campaign. Now, you can see with his election, what place Nigeria will be in his strategic calculation. We can expect nothing more than the same animosity.”

The scholar regretted that Trump is going to fish out Nigerians who are illegal immigrants in the US, noting: “If, for instance, Prof Wole Soyinka said he would tear his green card, he is only trying to say that at the end of the day, he could not imagine himself holding a green card issued by an American government under Trump, who is not capable of seeing that the black man has dignity like the other people of the world or graciously created by the same God or representing a value without which the whole world can never be made complete.”

He believed Soyinka was saying that American, which is known to be a symbol of democracy and land of diversity, shouldn’t have allowed a person like Trump to become a President, saying: “That is what he is trying to communicate by my own interpretation.”

Oyebade

Oyebade

Trump, he stressed, has a policy that generally antagonises others. “He is coming directly to preach American protectionism. When we say the US is a land of diversity, accommodating all people of the world, I think this is the perception of the other peoples of the world.

“But under Trump, America is being considered as a world of its own and does not need to border about all others, whereas the truth is that America cannot be an island on its own, in spite of its human and material resources, strengths, power etc.”

The erudite professor said that one cannot but critically look at the implications for Nigeria, stating: “Nigeria is a sovereign state, like the US is, but with Trump as President, Nigeria would need to evolve a special policy attitude vis-à-vis the US.”

He maintained that the next four years is not going to be as usual, as there would be need for Nigeria to continue to relate with the US.

“Certainly, the foundation of that must be reviewed. We have different agreements. Why should Nigeria accept any aid from the US? It is now necessary for Nigeria to begin to review its agreement with the US and to direct attention to countries like China and see how we can strengthen our relationship, not relationship with the US under Trump.

“That is one way of looking at the multidimensional implication.”

He recalled that many countries had been providing assistance to Nigeria in fighting Boko Haram, for instance, saying “terrorism is a global problem, because the objective or decision to terrorise could take place in country A, the planning can take place in country B and execution of a terrorist act may be in country C.

“Now the victims may be the citizens of the fourth country. You can see that terrorism has an international dimension and concerns everyone.”

He described terrorism as an international phenomenon, saying: “If anybody made a mistake that Bokoharanism is Nigeria, they could see now that citizens of neigbhouring countries had been killed not only Nigeria.

“The critical point being made is that at the end of the day, there is no way terrorism will not be fought collectively.

“If the US believes that Boko Haram in Nigeria is not an issue, they should wait until they attack American Embassy, then they will know that Boko Haram doesn’t distinguish between any person.”

The truth as at today, he said, is that the election of Trump is the starting point of the decline of American power in global politics, because of what Trump has openly declared that he wants to do.

“He wants to build a wall against Mexico and the Mexicans would pay. This is no more presidential campaign; he has now been elected. So, we would now see how he wants to build it, because building a wall is measurable.

“Trump said that he is going to move the capital of Israel to Jerusalem. It is measurable. We would see how he wants to do that.

“He is against Muslims and said there is no room for them in America. He has aroused global attention with many of the statements he made, which are considered to a great extent, unreasonable and not achievable. But the world is waiting to see how he will go about it.

“He would now know that as the Yoruba people will say, what is behind six is more than seven.”

On his part, Prof Akin Oyebode of the University of Lagos said Americans have made their choice and “they would live by it for the next four years, despite the riots on the streets already, which is a prospect of President Trump.”

He regretted that the Americans did not elect a better-qualified candidate, adding: “One thing about democracy is that the best candidate might not win. Everybody knows that Hillary Clinton, because of her antecedents as a Yale graduate, an accomplished lawyer and foreign secretary and a former First Lady, lost the election to a businessman. But that is their choice.

“For me, it reflects the inherent racism and sexism in the American society.”

He regretted that the black people in the US are not always well favoured and many Americans saw Clinton presidency as the third term of President Barack Obama.

He stated: “I won’t say Trump won, but Clinton lost. They voted against Clinton not necessarily for that female abuser and rough-tongue, dangerous demagogue like Trump.

“You keep your fingers crossed. What do they do? Nigeria has treaties signed with the Americans. They cannot afford to cancel the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA). There are so many laws that have been put in place that Uncle Sam had signed.

“I don’t think we have any cause to worry, in fullness of time, things would shape up and we would see how far it goes.”

For an Associate Professor in the Department of History and Strategic Studies, University of Lagos, David Aworawo, the broader picture is that Trump would not allow illegal immigrants living in the US the freedom they have had in many decades.

“He stated that he would round off all illegal immigrants in the US and send them back to wherever they came from. That would not be impracticable, in terms of logistics and identifying them and going after them.

“The destruction of society that would cause could lead to an uproar across the world, even in the US itself,” he posited.

Aworawo added that the fundamental principle that underlies Trump extreme statements, namely American for Americans and immigrants should not be allowed to come in, Muslims should be banned from coming into the US, would reflect and the consequence of that would be that anyone identified to be an illegal immigrant would certainly be deported to his country.

“To that extent, Africans and Nigerians would be affected. Before now, even when you are known to be an illegal immigrant, the authority tended to look at the other way. Pending how many years you have stayed, they gave you a leeway to get papers and to become a citizen.

“That would not likely happen in Trump presidency, because the core of the principles that brought him to power is antithetical to that.”

He said on the other hand, the ease with which Africans have been going to US would be affected. “We all know that many Nigerian women go to the US to have babies, so that they would automatically become American citizens. That will likely be difficult under Trump.

“All of those, if not eliminated entirely, will be reduced to the barest minimum. In diverse ways, Trump presidency will affect Nigerians.”

He continued: “Movement from Africa to the US would also be inhibited, especially Africans who bears Muslims names would likely be profiled and many may be denied visas.

“Many may be prevented from entering the US, in line with the Trump principle of intolerance towards immigrants.”

He recalled that at a point during his campaigns, Trump said he was going to create the condition whereby Green Card holders will have to reply for their Green Cards.

“It was comments like that that upset Soyinka and made him to make the statement he made that he will not give Trump the honour of humiliating him by making him to go and re-apply for a Green Card that he got on his merit many years ago.”

Aworawo said if many people take such steps, it would help to minimise the extreme steps Trump would likely take in accommodating immigrants, saying: “He (Soyinka) may or may not tear his Green Card.”

According to him: “Trump winning the election was the last thing. Trump’s victory was a political tsunami. There was no inkling whatsoever as to whether Trump has any chance of winning.

“The political structure defiled all calculations, all permutations and all the polls. There was none of them that gave him a chance of wining.

“But as night came and morning came, I was stunned that he won.”

He regretted that in all of the promises Trump made, the ‘how’ question was not asked.

“Electorate should be more critical and we should not take anybody for granted. The fact that he won may be indicative of fairly transparent political structure that exists in the US,” he concluded.