Friday, 2 December 2016

Donald Trump Pvt. Ltd.

Thursday, 9th November 2016.
Just after 3.30 AM, Hilton Hotel, Manhattan, New York.

      Donald Trump accompanied by his youngest son Barron,  his third wife Melania Trump and his running mate Mike Pence made his way on to the stage. Projection of the 2016 US Presidential election was out from the major media houses. Not more than 30 minutes ago, Donald Trump was just shy by 6 votes to 270. He was leading Hillary Clinton and maintained a count of 244. He pocketed Pennsylvania with a solid lead of 20 votes that propelled him to 264 v o t es. His dream was just a hand away. His demeanor bright and prominent like never before. He was ready to make a fresh entry to the helm. A seat in an Oval office that he thought of just four years ago and made it public wish to conquer it just over a year. No one, no one with an average political consciousness took him seriously among the crowded arena of the Republican party with 17 contenders. These 17 contenders, a mix of amateur politicians, surgeons, establishment candidates, Senators, Governors, and businessmen looked as if all of them were on to a conquest to throw the very foundations of the Grand Old Party into shambles. But proving them all wrong and turning out to be the undeniable hero of this election season, Donald J. Trump was elected as the 45th President of The United States!

With 8 years of Democratic rule, the tension in the Republican party was soaring high. The thirst to grab the White House was high as never before. An age where the dominance of the United States mattered to every sector of the world geography and to every vertical of human life, they saw it in a declining mode. New wars had emerged in the past 8 years and the diversity with which geopolitics and real-politics turn was pacing dynamically. And midst of this very thought, these 17 contenders fought with each other. Their only aim was to sideline or at-least avoid Jeb Bush to make it to the Republican nomination. And with this aim, that was about to take them all except Donald Trump down which they never realized until it was very late. Since day one into the campaign and day one onto the debate stage, Donald Trump spoke everything which was unconditional, non-traditional and in the crudest possible way. He shattered all the ethical ways a decent politician should behave or at-least should present himself or herself when he or she is taking a shot at the most powerful position on the planet. But he denied it all, he acted by his principles and he played by his own rules. Donald Trump had carved a place for him both on the stage and within the Americans. Considered as a political outsider and ignored by a large class of politicians and pundits, no one took him seriously. But, like a ship that sailed across the ocean no matter which way the wind was blowing, he kept on saying what he had to. He spoke about Americans, American dream and how he would Make America Great Again! Explosively! The 'Trump Train' compelled everyone to go off the tracks with only Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and John Kasich left in the arena. Among them, Kasich was just able to secure a popular vote during the primary in Ohio. Marco Rubio who is considered as the blue-eyed boy of the Republican party and almost all the party officials and the anti-Trump lobby supported him. But Rubio performed poor and soon had to drop out of the race. The race in the final days of the Republican nomination was between Ted Cruz and Donald Trump. The Republican establishment including the Bush family, party representatives and a chunk of them including House Speaker Paul Ryan decided to go with Cruz. But to their misfortune, Cruz could never match the skills that Trump got into play to draw his support nor was Cruz able to grab enough delegates on his side. There was a lot of talks where it was discussed how to stop Trump or how to derail his train at the Republican National Convention. Nothing could stop him by then and he chose Governor Mike Pence of Indiana to be with him on the ticket. 

It was a straight-off with Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine on the other side of the aisle. And the race heated up like never before. The most unique election season of the modern election history with a seasoned politician on one side and a business Mogul. Both have made to the top of their careers and professional lives in  New-York. Hillary and Trump started exchanging jabs at each other from day one and it seemed that her campaign was more sophisticated, more precise and more well-mannered. And despite making it to the Republican nomination, Donald Trump refused to change his non-traditional political manner. Hillary simply attacked him. And the common issues to be discussed on a campaign platform were thrown to the corners. It all became a personal blame-game and the candidates surpassing all the limits of a sober campaign. The American election campaigns are never sober. But this was different. Hillary's experience of mainstream politics of 30+ years became her baggage and she was constantly noted to have failed to give a clear policy and political message. Trump, on the other hand, attracted a large number of Americans with his 'America First' policy. He played it the most unethical way a politician should play. He spoke statements which were critical, voiced out opinions that many politicians would even refuse to talk in-private and he soared publicity-wise. There was no beat for his television appearance experience and he made use of it to the core. Major media-houses and news channels endorsed Hillary. Many of them predicted a landslide victory for her. She clearly won the first debate where Trump was ill-prepared. It all changed from the second debate where Trump with his strong body language and strong criticism fought a tough battle and made the news again. It was after this debate that an audio tape dated back to 2005 surfaced which found Donald Trump with lewd comments about women and it seemed for that moment that it was a clear end for him. But, he was shrewd enough to apologize and make it to the news again.

Meanwhile, Wikileaks had posted many emails that got Hillary and her campaign manager John Podesta in trouble. The third debate was a fierce one and just before 20 days to election day it made a serious impact. It was just 8 days before the election that the tables turned away for Hillary Clinton. FBI Director James Comey briefed to the Congress that FBI was about to re-probe the 'e-mail scam'. It was just two days to the election day that Hillary was given a clean-cheat but it was very late till then. For Hillary, the trouble started with Clinton Foundation and the amount of unprecedented access she gave to the donors of the Clinton Foundation to the US State Department. It was a clear conflict of interest. She also made it to the news when her top-aide Huma Abedin worked at the Clinton Foundation and the State Department. It was a strict no-no to what Hillary did. There were a rising thought and a temperament against her, her misuse of power and non-transparency she bought into her political life and charity life. Clinton Foundation, Huma Abedin, and Anthony Weiner have cost Hillary Clinton the presidency. And with Comey in the field, he hit the last nail in the coffin. Voters from the American base have clearly ignored and voted against Hillary. It was her defeat as was the defeat of Democratic party and defeat of President Barack Obama. The Democratic party lost both the houses of Congress and is left on the sidelines. With the mandate coming out, it is a traditional way that the loser comes out in public and concedes the defeat. Hillary refused to do so. She is said to have telephoned Donald Trump late on the election night. She came out before the press on the next morning with obvious signs of a tough night and a body language with no confidence which was boosting while she was striding across the nation during the campaign. 2016 is considered to be the end of her political career. Later, President Bill Clinton said that 'Comey cost them the election'. Well, he seriously did. (!) The 'Clinton Machine' was considered to be invincible in Washington. Comey took them out single-handed. Politicians are never supposed to underestimate their opponents. Hillary took Trump for granted and in-spite of a tarnished image across the nation, he was able to knock her off. 

For Donald Trump it is a dream come true. No doubt that he played it extremely smart. His entire campaign was a trick which he rolled off like a magician. His every statement wasn't just made out of emotions or just to grab attention. It was a well defined plan to make the most impact. And it did so. He swept major states and almost ended the political career of Hillary Clinton. He as of now the stats show, came out of ashes. Media, world leaders, Democrats and his own party members were rolled against him. He has had a bad popularity and an equally bad series of serious allegations. He made it to the top through all of it. His story is a definite success story. From reality shows, to the arena of WWE, to real estate that has spanned across many nations, to the Trump brand, to the Trump airlines, to the fashion capitals and to the Miss Universe pageants, Trump was always in the limelight. He converted those reality shows into mass reality. He gave the American masses that they wanted to hear for a long time now. He appealed to a large class which was sidelined by the Washington politics, which has been cheated for decades now. Their jobs were outsources, their rights diminished and their nationalism under fire. Trump made a case for them. For them, they needed that someone who was unethical and unconventional at the same time. That someone who would voice out a real opinion and not veil down an issue with a conventional political correctness. They needed someone who was not politically correct but rather non-politically true. Trump was an instant hero. But, for obvious reasons and for the sake of the electoral politics, his wave was undermined and underestimated. His team which comprised of Corey Lewandowski, Kellyanne Conway and Ivanka Trump fought his battle behind the scenes. He gave the Republicans the victory they never thought of. At least not when they knew when Hillary was against them in the bout. He made that difference, he went that extra mile. His difference is that he is not a political figure. He is out-of-the-box in the American politics where many of the past Presidents have had a Law degree from Chicago or Yale. He hasn't served in the military nor has fought any overseas war for his nation. He is the most non-conventional choice made by the American people. And this gets highlighted in backdrop to a survey which said that 60% of the Americans were not happy electing either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump as their President. And yet, while choosing lesser evil between the two evils, they chose Donald Trump!

There is a lot that needs to be done from his end now that he is the President-Elect of the United States of America. He now owns the 'rigged system' which has been his selling point all-throughout. He now heads the government that he claims will work for the middle-class Americans. The world now is waiting to watch him how he gets the jobs back to America, how he repeals Obamacare and gets a less expensive yet strong health-care program, how he calls of the Trans-Pacific-Partnership and gets some good revenue for his country, how he tackles the rising ambitions of China and Russia, how he manages with his Middle-East allies to defeat ISIS. (which according to him Hillary and President Obama created) The work that lies ahead for him is 'Yuge'. He now owns what he has been pointing out for many years now. The American citizens historically have had no interest so as to what their country scored on the foreign relations. He needs to make a distinction while tackling the issues that matter to the Americans and America. Trump spoke about avoiding wars. His temperament does not speak so. He is considered to be as hawkish as Hillary Clinton. His choice of cabinet sheds a bright light on what he prefers. He as of now has three military generals appointed for the important roles in his administration. His entire cabinet either is super-rich, hawkish, pro-private sector or comprises of someone who has had a deep connection with the Wall Street, Goldman Sachs or the oil sector. Trump also talks about siding with Vladimir Putin on several issues. The Obama administration has been touted by the Russian counterparts in several instances in the Syrian conflict now. The United States in the recent past has been on receiving end for several issues across on the international relations platform where Putin is emerging as a strong and shrewd leader. It will be amazing to see how Trump will handle an established opponent like Putin. 

As of now, Trump has praised Putin publicly. He has also undermined the US intelligence agencies who have reported of serious hacking by the Russians during the 2016 U.S Presidential election. His public statements and his fire-brand tweets are drawing a major criticism and most of the people will spend next 4 years on Twitter just to tell how bad Trump's tweets are! He will have to be careful with his conflict of interests. He has already announced to drop off all his relations with his businesses and claims that his children will look after it. So far it has not been true. Ivanka Trump who now is into his transition team was seen by his side when he met the Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe at Trump Tower after the election results. She presumably is said to have an office booked in the West Wing. Jared Kushner has been someone Donald Trump has trusted the way he never trusts anyone. Kushner, his son-in-law has been a center-pillar for his digital campaign and for the strongest decisions that Trump has stood for in the past two years. Kushner being a heavy-wight-Jew-businessman has reportedly 'managed' the Jew lobby for Trump. Kushner also has settled scores with Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey who had a bad past with Kushner's father - Charles Kushner. Christie was among the first GOP leaders to back Trump. It is also said that Trump wanted Christie to be his running mate but Kushner 'convinced' Trump not to do so. It was a dramatic move by Kushner when Christie was first appointed to lead Trump's transition team and was called-off later. Of all, when Trump made it to the White House to see President Obama just two days after the election, it was Jared Kushner who strolled with Denis McDonough the current White House Chief of Staff on the South Lawns while President Obama and Trump discussed beginning of the 'peaceful' transition. Jared Kushner is now appointed as the Personal Confidant to the President-Elect!

Trump views the foreign affairs from a businessman's perspective - in a pure transnational way. It will be very interesting to see how he handles the issues which are boiling very fast. He needs to tackle a wide range of issues that I am sure he is unaware of. He reportedly was surprisingly 'amazed' to know how things work at the White House and the how and what the POTUS is briefed, daily. His 'America First' will not work when handling complex issues like the Syrian conflict. How he handles his isolation on the fronts where diplomacy is shattered by the raging wars and on the fronts where the weapon lobby is constantly looking out for new war zones is to be seen! The challenges that are waiting for him are very different than he has faced in his past. It is not about his business anymore. It is now that an entire country will not expect him to go wrong - wrong with his policies and wrong with their choice. Donald Trump now sits atop the right-wing, national leaders who are now emerging in the world politics. We have had seen the global political paradigm being shifted to either sides every 80-90 years. The current generation is now backing someone who talks about the national sentiment and scores cards on being super-right-winged. A case that Hillary miserably failed to bring on the table. She was happy being called secular American card that comprises of Latinos, Hispanics, African-Americans, Mexicans, Asians and what not. Trump grabbed the sentiment where a major class called out loud for the 'original American nationalism'. He now leads this band of global leaders emerging up regularly. Add Narendra Modi, Bashar al-Assad, Nigel Farage, Theresa May, Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping to the list. 

A private, family business made Trump an international celebrity. A family-owned political business will hit him hard if he does so. Trump is said to throw away the GOP on the sidelines and the current trend shows him to be on his own away from the party shadows. His party though won't flinch to overthrow and impeach him if he acts in a haphazard way. His political correctness will gain him maximum if he 'canvasses by poetry and governs by prose'. Unlikely to that term, he is speculated to cause a lot of noise, further dividing the GOP, churning off the traditional give-and-take Washington politics! 

Welcome to Donald Trump Pvt. Ltd!

                                                                                                                                     - Vazir

The Marathi version of this article was published in the editorial section of 'Sakal' dated Tuesday, 22nd November 2016.

डोनाल्ड ट्रम्प आणि प्रायव्हेट लिमिटेड!

२०१६च्या अमेरिकी अध्यक्षीय निवडणुकीत डोनाल्ड ट्रम्प यांनी हिलरी क्लिंटन यांना अस्मान दाखवले. अध्यक्षपदाची सूत्रे अधिकृतपणे हाती घेण्यासाठी ट्रम्प यांना सुमारे  दीड महिन्यांचा वेळ आहे.  नव्या अध्यक्षाला या अवधीत सुमारे ४००० कर्मचारी आणि  आपल मंत्रिमंडळ स्थापन करायचे असते. जिंकण्याची पूर्ण शाश्वती नसताना ट्रम्प यांनी ही तयारी केली नव्हती. त्यामुळे आता मंत्र्यांची नेमणूक करताना त्यांची पळापळ होत आहे. येत्या काही दिवसांत त्यांना ही नेमणूक करून आपली धोरण आखायला सुरुवात करावी लागेल.
Image credit - Google
ट्रम्प निवडून आल्यावर अमेरिकेतील एक मोठा वर्ग त्यांच्या विरोधात निदर्शन करण्यासाठी रस्त्यावर उतरला. काही ठिकाणी त्याला हिंसक वळणदेखील लागले. ट्रम्प राज्य करू पाहणाऱ्या पुढील चार वर्षांत त्यांना अश्या विरोधाचा सामना नक्की करावा लागेल. आपल्या विजयानंतर दिलेल्या एक मुलाखतीत त्यांनी 'आपण अमेरिकेत बेकायदा वास्तव्य करणाऱ्या ३० लाख लोकांना हद्दपार करू' असे सांगून खळबळ उडवून दिली आहे. मायकल फ्लिन, स्टिव्ह बॅनोन या 
वादग्रस्तांची नेमणूक करून ट्रम्प आपल्या उजव्या, अमेरिकाकेंद्रित आणि इस्लामविरोधी विचारसरणीला अधिक धार देत आहेत. त्यांच्या या निर्णयावर  जोरदार टीका होत आहे. वॉशिंग्टनमध्ये नेत्याचे राजकीय वजन आणि प्रभाव  त्याचा सहकारी आणि कर्मचारी वर्ग किती उत्तम आहे यावर ठरतो. 

चौकटीबाहेरचे राजकारणी असणाऱ्या ट्रम्प यांचा विजय हा राजकारणाचा बाज बदलत असल्याचे निदर्शित करतो. वर्षभरापूर्वी राजकारणात सक्रिय झालेल्या ट्रम्प यांनी हिलरींच्या ४० वर्षांच्या राजकारणाला सुरुंग लावला आहे. मात्र, ज्या व्यवस्थेला शिव्या देत ट्रम्प निवडून आले आता त्या च व्यवस्थेच्या सर्वोच्च पदावर त्यांची नेमणूक झाली आहे. त्यांना काम करण्याशिवाय आता गत्यंतर नाही. 'अमेरिकेची आर्थिकदृष्ट्या भरभराट करू' असे सांगणारे ट्रम्प नक्की काय करणार हे कोणालाच माहित नाही.
(L-R) Donald Trump Jr. Donald J. Trump, Eric Trump
Image credit - Google
ग्रामीण, श्वेतवर्णीय अमेरिकेतील एक मोठा वर्ग ट्रम्प यांच्याकडे अपेक्षेने पाहत आहे. वॉशिंग्टनकेंद्रित राजकारणाने हा वर्ग बाजूला फेकल्याने त्यांची तळी उचलून ट्रम्प जिंकले. या वर्गाच्या अपेक्षा अमेरिकाकेंद्रित आहेत. स्थानिक पातळीवर आर्थिक सक्षमीकरण, रोजगार, उत्तम आणि परवडू शकणारी आरोग्यव्यवस्था या त्यांच्या प्रमुख मागण्या आहेत. अमेरिका बाकी जगात आपलं परराष्ट्रीय धोरण राबवून काय उच्छाद मांडते यात त्यांना रस नाही. कधीच नसतो. ट्रम्प हे अमेरिकेचे परराष्ट्रीय धोरण हे एका उद्योगपतीच्या चष्म्यातून बघतात. संधी मिळेल तिथे अमेरिकेचे नाक दाबू पाहणारे व्लादिमिर पुतीन हे अमेरिकेतील राजकीय वर्तुळात बहुतेक जणांना पटत नाहीत. निवडून आल्यानंतर ट्रम्प आणि पुतीन यांनी 'आपल्या दोन देशांचे गैरसमज टाळू, काही अंशी हात मिळवू' अशी चर्चा करून अनेक जणांना धक्का दिला आहे. सीरियात जाऊन तिथे अंतिमतः विरोधी गटात मोडणाऱ्या रशियाशी लढण्यात आपल्याला काही स्वारस्य नाही असे ट्रम्प सांगत आहेत. त्यांची अशी अलिप्त भूमिका त्यांना पाठिंबा देणाऱ्या आणि प्रचंड अर्थकारण जोपासणाऱ्या 'गन लॉबी'ला रुचणार का, पोलिसगिरी सोडून अमेरिका आपला धाक स्वहस्ते कमी  करून घेणार का हे प्रश्न आता डोके वर काढत आहेत. नव्या अध्यक्ष्याच्या धोरणांचा अंदाज येत नाही तोपर्येंत बाकी जग हे सावध भूमिका घेते. ट्रम्प यांना जोखण्यासाठी बाकी जग थोडा जास्त वेळ घेईल अशी शक्यता आहे. दहशतवादी गट जगात इतरत्र छोटे-मोठे हल्ले करून ट्रम्प यांची काय प्रतिक्रिया असेल याची चाचपणी करतील. त्यामुळे अमेरिकेच्या नव्या नायकासमोरचे ताट आव्हानांनी पूर्ण भरलेले आहे यात शंका नाही. 

ट्रम्प चमूमध्ये त्यांच्या मुलांचा सहभाग अनेकांना पचत नाहीये. त्यांचा जावई जारेड खुशनेर याचा त्यांच्या एकंदर निर्णयप्रक्रियेत चांगलाच दबदबा आहे! स्वतः ज्यू असणारे खुशनेर 'ज्यू लॉबी'च्या हिताचे निर्णय घेतील असे दिसते. असे नामचीन घटक आजूबाजूला असताना ट्रम्प स्वयंभू निर्णय घेतात की अश्या घटकांना बळी पडतात हे बघण आजच्या काळाची गरज आहे. सत्ता शहाणपण शिकवते असे म्हणतात. ते ट्रम्प दाखवतील अशी आशा आहे. अमेरिकी काँग्रेसचे दोन्ही सभागृह आणि अध्यक्षपदावर नियंत्रण मिळवून रिपब्लिकन पक्ष सर्वंकष सत्ता राबवू शकतो. मात्र राज्याभिषेकानंतर ज्या 'व्हाईट हाऊस'चा ताबा डोनाल्ड ट्रम्प येत्या २० जानेवारीपासून आपल्या हातात घेतील त्याला एक स्वभाव आणि स्वतःचे असे स्वतंत्र अस्तित्त्व आहे. ते अस्तित्त्व जगातल्या या सर्वात शक्तिशाली मानवाला आपला कार्यक्रम राबवताना पुढील चार वर्ष सतत आपली आठवण करून देत असत. याच अस्तित्त्वाच्या जोरावर अमेरिकेचे सामर्थ्य बाकी जगावर लादायला सोपे जाते.
The Trump family.
Image credit - Google
मात्र, त्यासाठी या गुरफटून टाकणाऱ्या अदृश्य भावनेला भेदून आपले धोरण राबवणारा तडगा गडी पाहिजे. इतिहास पाहता खमका अध्यक्ष म्हणून समजले जाणारे अनेकजण असे करताना निष्प्रभ ठरले आहेत. सांप्रत काळातील आव्हाने आणि ट्रम्प यांचा अनुभव पाहता त्यांना तर हे मुळीच सोपे जाणार नाही. एककल्ली, उजव्या विचारसरणीच्या नेतृत्वाच्या दिशेने जगाचा रोख सुरु आहे. ट्रम्प त्यात अग्रस्थानी जाऊन बसले आहेत. राजकारणाचा हा पोत दर ८०-९० वर्षांनी बदलतो आहे. माईक पेन्स यांच्यासारखा नेमस्त रिपब्लिकन त्यांना उपाध्यक्ष म्हणून लाभला आहे. बाकी ट्रम्प रिपब्लिकन पक्षाला जुमानणार नाहीत. चोख धोरण, चांगले-वाईट निर्णय रेटू पाहणारा स्वभाव, पराभव आणि टीका पचवायची हिंमत आणि सरतेशेवटी राष्ट्रहिताचा विचार हे भांडवल त्यांना या आव्हानात तारून नेऊ शकेलही. मात्र, अमेरिकी अध्यक्षीय कामाचा आवाका आणि जबाबदारीचा अंदाज न आल्यामुळे जनतेचा रोष, जागतिक पातळीवरची टीका, अमेरिकेची ढासळणारी प्रतिमा आणि महाभियोगासारख्या गोष्टींचा सामना त्यांना करावा लागण्याची शक्यताच जास्त आहे.

                                                                                                                                                  - वज़ीर

हा लेख मंगळवार, २२ नोव्हेंबर २०१६च्या 'सकाळ'च्या संपादकीय पानावर (पान ६) छापण्यात आला.

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