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Reason for the world to tremble

Causing heads to spin: President Donald Trump gestures from Air Force One upon his arrival at Palm Beach International Airport in Florida yesterday. Concern has grown over what his real agenda is(Photograph by Luis M. Alvarez/AP)

Mounting global concern continues over what to expect from America’s new administration under Donald Trump, who has been successful in lighting a fire of discontent never seen before within the United States, and around the world.

The president, who is viewed by many as out of step with truth, justice and dignity, has in a short spell as commander-in-chief of the most powerful nation on Earth caused heads to spin over what his real agenda is.

Trump, a successful billionaire with business connections worldwide, managed against the odds to bludgeon his way into the Oval Office by tapping into a section of America that was ripe for the picking in trying to penetrate what many political observers felt was Washington gridlock so thick that neither the Republicans nor the Democrats were able to move the nation forward for the benefit of the people. Trump knew if he could hang on and expand support among the discontented, victory would be his.

That he managed to do. However, once in the Oval Office, another reality began to take hold — and that was the difference between managing a vast business empire from boardrooms and being the leader of a nation of great diversity, representing people from all religions and races with total respect for basic human rights, as outlined in America’s constitution.

Having made promises during a blistering campaign aimed mostly at clinging to his support base, he quickly discovered that carrying out those promises would be a different matter. To begin with, America is a democracy and that means close scrutiny by the media and the people on any issue of concern. Hence the immigration fiasco.

Trump made statements that were proved false. This put wrinkles in his credibility but did little to diminish his support base, where many regarded him as the clean-up man for Washington, no matter what he said or did.

With the media watching his every move, it was not long before Trump openly declared war against reporters, going as far as to label the media as the enemy of the people. Attacking the free press in a democracy is generally seen as a move towards dictatorial rule.

When Trump banished CNN, The New York Times and a few other news outlets from a press briefing last week, the plot really thickened over what was already a strained relationship between the media and the new administration.

What many Americans and other nations are concerned about is that they would rather have a more steady, sound and cooler head in the hot seat, especially when that person is endowed with the power to pull the trigger to unleash nuclear power. That is unthinkable because should a nuclear clash occur between major powers, much of the Earth could be reduced a burnt-out cinder with no winners, just losers.

While that scenario seems unlikely, it would also be unwise to take the spotlight off North Korea, which is known to have a leader capable of just about anything to maintain power, in a dictatorial regime that punishes objectors with deadly consequences. With America as the enemy, it is not inconceivable that North Korea might test the waters of the new administration by threatening military activity in the region. On the other hand the North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, also knows that an open conflict against Western powers would be similar to what happens to a suicide bomber.

It is to be hoped that cool, experienced heads around Trump will be a factor in preventing any type of mistake that could be too late for correction. The president could reduce tensions by displaying more respect for the media because they will continue to do their job in seeking truth irrespective of what anyone says.

The President’s announcement that he would not be attending the annual White House Correspondents’ Dinner was another setback in trying to patch up a media relationship where both sides need each other. Presidents come and go, but the media will always be there; that is, as long as democracy is alive.

As long as nuclear powers exist with the potential for massive destruction, to an extent where life on Earth could be changed perhaps for ever, the world will have good reason to tremble. Hope will depend on good strong men in leadership positions who realise that freedom, truth and decency can never be destroyed by any weapon.