Monday, 13 January, 2020

Does Trump disagree with his colleagues?

By Abdolrza Ghofran

US President – elects Donald Trump’s nominees for different government agencies have, last week, testified before the related committees to defend their programs and eventually the confirmation for the jobs.

In fact their answers to senators of the committees indicate, principally, the positions and the policies of the next US Administration.

The nominees need to be confirmed just before the president inaugurated on 20 January 2022 and assume their duties as of that time.

The outstanding point in committees’ deliberations for the confirmation of Trump’s colleagues has not been if they would be confirmed or not, but their positions on foreign, domestic and security policies, as well as military and international situations.

In fact, now it is not just Donald Trump known for his unpredictability, but next US administration too that seems unanticipated, and this is a matter that needs to be, carefully and attentively, dealt with.

Incoming Secretary of State Rex Tillerson before the Foreign Relations Committee has called President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia a regional and international threat who should be countered with “a proportional show of force.”

He also has opposed a ban on Muslim immigrants, and calling the United States’ commitment to NATO “inviolable”.

Besides, the nominee for secretary of defense retired General James N. Mattis, said before the armed forces committee that if he were confirmed as defense secretary he would support the Iran nuclear agreement, which Mr. Trump has ridiculed.

“When America gives her word, we have to live up to it and work with our allies” he added. And Mr. Trump’s nominee for the chief of C.I.A., Mike Pompeo, strongly defended the intelligence agencies.

All the positions taken by these three people, who will head top administration agencies, are widely different with those of Trump’s standings given before and during his campaign!

Now the question remains to be asked is as to what policy (policies) the new US Administration will take on different grounds?

At this time the answer is not that easy. However, the incoming White House spokesman has said that,” the President-elect is open minded and listens to opposing viewpoints and the positions of these nominees before the Senate Committees should not be taken as the differences among the members of the cabinet and the president.”

Certainly different viewpoints within any government in any country are pretty normal, and through these conflicting thoughts, the administrations can take comprehensive rational and realistic positions and policies.

But now the issue in new US Administration is not that simple and the positions taken by the nominees is a complete U-turn to the main policies, time and again, declared by the president-elect.

It is true that Trump has so far changed his positions to issues; however these opposite view points by his colleagues should not be taken for granted. Has really Donald Trump changed his mind as well as essential positions? Or has he faced the real international situations before he actually takes office, and now wants to voice this change through his colleagues, and when he is in White House gradually do it personally as president?

In one way or another, given the president-elect character, it is hard to answer these questions. However in existing international conditions quick changes in positions will be pretty consequential and probably serious.

Moreover, this will put US allies, friends and foes and all countries of the world and international bodies in a precarious and anxious “wait and see” situation. Because they will be waiting for more surprises and quick changes during the term of Trump presidency.


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