Trump’s Davos Speech: Selective Memory at Home and Demands Made Abroad

This morning US president Donald Trump gave a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos. The gathering was made up of 3,000 of the elite across the world to discuss the global economy. Even many commentators who do not support Trump admit that the crowd to see his speech was one of the largest they’d ever sene in Davos.

Now, there were three primary aspects of Trump’s speech. Firstly, to announce that the US was open for business – if everyone else played along according to the rules he set down. Secondly, it was spent trying to defend the actions that he had taken at home since the birth of his presidency. Thirdly, he focused on global conflict with regards to the de-nuclearization of Iran and the DPRK.

In his speech, he praised the tax cuts he implemented which lowered the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%. His plan was to lower it to 17%, but a concession was made with the Democrats. He bragged how the tax cuts had stimulated business and help small business soar. In truth, the tax cuts mostly enriched the top 3% or so of the economy. Small businesses actually saw some tax increases on them, only a few cuts. The much-vaunted help for small business is nowhere to be found.

Trump touted a greater than ever situation at home that was a great boon to the average working person. (He stopped short of saying it was the best ever.) Quite the opposite is the case. In areas around Detriot, the social situation is deteriorating. The infant mortality rate is among the highest in the first world. The situation is so dire that they’ve allowed Cuban doctors to tour the area to give advice on dealing with the situation. (It should be noted that the infant mortality rate in the US is higher than that of Cuba.)

At the same time, there is an opioid crisis in the country that is destroying communities and families alike. Upwards of 63,000 Americans were killed last year by drug overdoses. The situation is so bad that the UN has declared it an emergency.

Exactly what great situation is he speaking of?

Trump touted a higher-than-ever stock market, which is true. He claimed a lowest ever unemployment rate for Black Americans, which is also true. He was quick to take credit for these achievements. Unfortunately for him, he really can’t. The economic situation of the US is a result of a global trend that has been building since 2010. Even with this, much of what he promised has not materialized. Jobs continue to be sent overseas despite his claim that he would put a stop to it.

When it came to international trade, he gave a watered down version of what he presented during his presidential campaign. He said that America was open for business. We know from past speeches that he was referring to buying from American manufacturers. One of his goals has been a reduction of the trade deficit the US has with the world. In past speeches, he’s lamented American businesses buying commodities cheaper overseas (particularly China).

He made it clear that “America First” did not mean America only. He said that the US was open for business, so long as other countries played by the rules. These rules, as we have seen, are his own. He specifically attacked state planning in industries as antithetical to fair global trade. This statement was no doubt aimed at China which heavily subsidizes the green energy industry. Just recently Trump attacked this by placing a 30% duty on solar panels imported from China.

In Trump’s world, it’s hard to think “America First” means anything but American domination.

On international politics, he declared the importance of the de-nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and Iran and promoting peace across the world. He boldly declared that the US had defeated terrorism in Syria. The claims are nothing short of Ludacris. The US is responsible for the destruction Syria and the spread of terrorism acorss the Middle East. It was the US that created the Free Syrian Army terrorist group that began the attacks on the government. it is the US that has been funding ISIS. By no means can he claim “victory” over terrorism in the country when it has clearly been the combined effort of Russia, the Syrian government, and Iran. This statement by him is an outright lie.

On international politics, he declared the importance of the de-nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and Iran and promoting peace across the world. He boldly declared that the US had defeated terrorism in Syria. The claims are nothing short of ludacris. The US is responsible for the destruction Syria and the spread of terrorism across the Middle East. It was the US that created the Free Syrian Army terrorist group that began the attacks on the government. it is the US that has been funding ISIS. By no means can he claim “victory” over terrorism in the country when it has clearly been the combined effort of Russia, the Syrian government, and Iran. This statement by him is an outright lie.

When it comes ot the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and Iran, he also spun some interesting “alternative facts”. If Trump really has such concern over the nuclear weapons held by the DPRK, then he’d most certainly do as little as possible to prove an incident. Such has not been the case. The US conducted drills, installed anti-missile systems, and even used childish name calling. The US sabre is not so much rattling, but set to vibrate. The DPRK is rightfully worried about a military invasion from the US – particularly since they’ve been threatening it for decades.

On the Iran front, the US couldn’t be a bigger liar. The US has repeatedly accused Iran of violating the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JPCOA) agreement. Nothing could be further from the truth. The international community has certified again and again that Iran is not in violation. Despite this certification, the US continues to claim they are.

Trump’s speech seems to be a symbol of his presidency, a collection of alternative facts set up to produce a narrative that only he seems to be able to see.

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