Donald Trump presides over an anarchic turn
The US, for both internal and external reasons, must get its act togetherUpdated: Jun 02, 2020 11:40 IST
With his country experiencing its worst race riots since the 1960s, the standing of United States (US) President Donald Trump continues to shrink both at home and abroad. Over 40 cities are locked down in the original sense — under curfew for law and order reasons. And all this even as the country struggles with the coronavirus pandemic that has claimed over 100,000 lives. Both crises have shown up Mr Trump’s minimal leadership capacities. After the horrific manner of George Floyd’s death, the US president’s first tweets seemed to encourage police to shoot demonstrators. Though he has occasionally sought to rise above the occasion, Mr Trump continues to be a president with minimal presidential qualities.
Mr Trump’s political success is partly attributable to deliberate polarisation. He has repeatedly sought confrontation with the supposed enemies of his white working-class base. The present riots, many of which have inevitably devolved into wanton destruction, may yet help his flagging poll figures. But even Republican strategists fear independent and suburban women, two key swing votes, will see things differently. Overseas, the riots have been gleefully highlighted by China. Beijing has been in the news for the wrong reasons recently, whether due to the pandemic or the crackdown on Hong Kong. Watching its geopolitical rival fumble the ball repeatedly will come as a relief. More worrying, it may encourage an already heightened sense that the Middle Kingdom faces no real check or balance in the international system. The US can do better and, for reasons well beyond its borders, it needs to.