Herbert Hoover is back!
Donald Trump has brought back memories of the Republican President Hoover who has been blamed for worsening the Great Depression of 1930s.
He has been likened to Hoover by political experts and economists in the USA as the duo has certain dangerous similarities, particularly the ones for protectionist trade policy.
Not surprisingly, Trump has been called by many the most protectionist presidential candidate since Hoover.
Hoover, like Trump, came late to politics. He had never held elected office before winning the presidency in 1928. Like Trump, Hoover made his fortune in business — in his case, the coal industry.
And, like Trump, he was a late-comer to politics and had neither previous electoral nor military experience.
For his protectionist trade policy, his tenure from 1929-33 was disastrous for a Depression hit country. The Great Depression was the deepest and longest-lasting economic downturn in the history of the Western industrialized world.
In the United States, the Great Depression began soon after the stock market crash of October 1929 which sent Wall Street into a panic and wiped out millions of investors.
Trump has been campaigning on a protectionist trade and anti-immigration platform to grab the White House.
He has announced as president he would prohibit American companies like Ford from building plants in Mexico. He moans pessimistically that “China is eating our lunch” and is “sucking the blood out of the US”
His threat to slap tariffs on Chinese or Mexican imports mocks Republican leaders who back free trade, said The Economist in an article last October.
Months before, Reuters in a report on March 24 said former trade negotiators, trade lawyers, economists and business executives think this policy could boomerang for Trump and spark trade wars with China and Mexico and trigger financial market turmoil and possibly even a recession.
If elected, he declared, he will ban all Muslims from entering the USA and build a wall on the border to prevent Mexicans from entering USA.
The American Action Forum, a right-leaning policy institute based in Washington D.C., estimates that immediately and fully enforcing current immigration law, as Trump has suggested, would cost the federal government from £326billion to £490billion, said the Mirror of UK, in a report on November 3.
It would shrink the US labour force by 11 million, reduce the real GDP by £1.3 trillion and take 20 years to complete. Trump figures he could do it in 18 months.
“It will harm the US economy,” said Doug Holtz-Eakin, president of the American Action Forum and chief economic policy adviser to Sen. John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, said the Mirror report. “Immigration is an enormous source of economic vitality.”
“Does Trump aspire to be a 21st century Hoover?” questioned Real Clear Politics in an article last August.
Wall Street Journal in an article on November 3 said Hoover’s trade policy caused him and the US a lot of grief, and should serve as a warning to voters inclined to take Trump seriously.
Economists and trade experts have long been warning that if Trump is elected and carries through with his promises, shock waves could be sent through the global economy and financial markets.
His promises and plans of actions, if elected president, have already worried not only America, but also rest of the world.
Trump has also earned a dubious distinction. No presidential candidate before Trump has ever been portrayed as a “notorious politician” by the US and global media.
He has been identified as a threat to American democracy and also world peace as he has been accused of trampling on the foundation stones of liberal democracy.
Worried by Trump’s threat to tighten libel laws, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), the US-based press freedom watchdog, in an unprecedented move issued a statement accusing Trump of consistently betraying first amendment values.
“If Donald Trump should win the presidency it would represent a threat to press freedom,” fears CPJ.
Trump has also been considered a global risk. Analyzing implications of his foreign policy–“America First”– US-led alliances and institutions, trade and terrorism, Politico in an article in June said Trump wants to reassert American power without a mature understanding of the basis of that power.
“He lives in a zero-sum world, one divided between winners and losers, good and evil, doers and freeloaders, us and them,” said Politico, an American political journalism organisation.
“But America First won’t strengthen America. It will alienate friends and embolden rivals. In the process, it will badly damage US commercial interests. It will undermine the institutions that the US and its allies created from the ashes of World War II and which continue to extend US international influence into the future. It will cost grave doubt on what America stands for,” it continued.
A WORLD OF TROUBLE
The winner tomorrow would face a difficult world as CNN explained in a report on Saturday, saying after a bruising brawl of a campaign, the next US commander in chief will inherit a world with the toughest array of foreign policy challenges in decades.
“The President’s Situation Room meetings will focus on hot, cold and simmering conflicts around the globe, all playing out as Russia and China seek greater international clout, cyber attacks become increasingly disruptive, and long-time US allies worry about Washington’s support,” says CNN.
It says, Middle Eastern conflicts in Syria and Iraq are re-igniting sectarian tensions and sending destabilizing waves of refugees across the region and into Europe, where their presence is altering political dynamics.
Asia is on hair-trigger alert because of an unpredictable North Korean leader who is improving his nuclear arsenal at an alarming rate. China is challenging US power in the South China Sea, while Russia is placing nuclear-capable missiles on NATO’s doorstep and opposing the US in Syria, says CNN.
“The next president will confront “black swans” — disruptive events that no one sees coming — but they will also face some certainties, chief among them that foes will test their resolve not long after they move into the Oval Office,” says CNN.
In such a world of trouble a wrong headed US leader may worse further the global situation, fear foreign policy experts.
Trump has been dubbed by many as America’s most unpredictable candidate and political analysts think he could become America’s most unpredictable commander-in-chief.
Trump’s electoral campaign, according to Politico, has already raised a number of potentially destabilizing questions: will President Trump send US ground troops after ISIL? Confront Vladimir Putin, or let him run loose? Sanction Mexico or Japan? Bomb China’s artificial islands in the South China Sea? Wage trade war on China? Attack Iran or North Korea?
“The campaign has provided daily evidence that Mr Trump would be a terrible president. He has exploited America’s simmering racial tensions,” said The Economist on November 5.
A NEW AGE OF DARKNESS?
Trump in his foreign policy speech in April declared that the US is “going to be a friend again” to the rest of the world. But the rest of the world does not feel safe. In the last few months, a shadow of fear has made the world jittery with Election Day drawing near.
From the very beginning, UK leaders have been denouncing Trump. A few months ago before his departure, UK Prime Minister David Cameron described Trump as “divisive, stupid, and wrong.”
Trump’s proposal for ban on Muslims and his derogatory remarks about London’s elected Muslim mayor have infuriated Britons.
“Trump’s intensely anti-Muslim rhetoric will encourage a lot more militants to look beyond softer and more accessible targets in Europe toward the “big score,” a deadly attack on Trump’s America,” said Politico.
Trump has annoyed leaders of some other countries by complaining that China, Mexico, Japan and others are dumping cheap products into American markets to harm US economy.
Leading newspapers in many countries including UK, China, Canada, Mexico, South Africa, Germany and Iran have kept denouncing Trump and some of them have been urging Americans not to vote for him.
A few months ago, the English-language publication of the state-owned Global Times in China launched a scathing attack on Trump.
“The rise of a racist in the US political arena worries the whole world…He has even been called another Benito Mussolini or Adolf Hitler by some Western media. Mussolini and Hitler came to power through elections, a heavy lesson for Western democracy,” said the Chinese daily.
On November 4, the Guardian in an article said: “Should Trump win, it would be a victory for a candidate who has lied more than any in history, who is spectacularly unqualified for the job and who stands contrary to the very idea of expertise. It would be a triumph over truth, facts and knowledge. It would be the start of a new age of endarkenment.”