Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, January 20th, 2019

Long and Rocky Route Ahead


Long and Rocky Route Ahead

“I will fight for you with every breath in my body, and I will never, ever let you down,” Donald John Trump, the 45th president of the United States, told hundreds of thousands of rain-soaked admirers and onlookers in a forceful 16-minute Inaugural Address from the West Front of the Capitol, on Friday. “America will start winning again, winning like never before. We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth. And we will bring back our dreams.” He added, “This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.” He did pledge to “eradicate from the face of the Earth” Islamic terrorism. Responding to charges that he demonized Mexicans and Muslims, Mr. Trump said, “There is no room for prejudice.”

Mr. Trump assumed the presidency of a country still unsettled after a polarizing election and entered office with less support in polls than any other president in recent history. It was clear from the day that there would be no grace period either for or by the new president. Throughout the day, there were mostly peaceful protests against the new president. Sporadic violence broke out as demonstrators smashed shop windows and burned a limousine, while police officers in riot helmets responded with tear gas. More than 200 people were arrested. Liberal groups prepared for a women’s march on Saturday that they said could draw hundreds of thousands.

Never has the oath been administered to a president who had never served either in public office or as a general in the military. At age 70, Mr. Trump became the oldest president sworn in for the first time and the first born in New York since Franklin D. Roosevelt. He was also one of the wealthiest presidents ever to enter the White House, with far-reaching business connections that have already raised questions about where his interests end and the country’s begin.

During the run-up to the November 8 election, he promised to ban Muslims from entering the US. He also promised to build a wall along the Mexican border to deter Mexicans from travelling to America.

To view the performance of some US presidents shortly, Bill Clinton took the office in 1993 and clashes between US forces and armed groups continued in Somalia. In 1995, US forces targeted Bosnian Serbs who had been attacking UN safe zones. American peacekeepers were deployed later in the year to Bosnia to uphold the Dayton Peace agreement. Clinton (1993 -2001) ordered missile strikes on al-Qaeda targets in Afghanistan and Sudan in 1998 during Operation Infinite Reach in reprisal for attacks on US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Clinton authorized the use of US forces in a NATO bombing raid on Yugoslavia after human rights violations were committed against Albanians in Kosovo. At the end of 1998, Clinton launched a four-day bombing campaign in Iraq. Between 1999 and 2000, the US – along with Britain – attacked Iraqi air defenses more than 200 times.

George W. Bush (2001 – 2009) launched the so-called “war on terror” after the 9-11 attacks on the World Trade Center. The US led the NATO intervention in Afghanistan. During his second term, in 2003, Bush declared war on Iraq, claiming the country was producing weapons of mass destruction and collapsed the regime of Saddam Hussein – who was arrested and hanged.

Under Barack Obama (2009 – 20017), the US formally ended its combat mission in Iraq in August 2010. In 2009, 30,000 more military personnel were deployed to Afghanistan in an attempt to bolster the US presence in the country. In a special operation, US Navy SEALS infiltrated a compound in Pakistan, killing Osama bin Laden. During his second term, Obama ordered air strikes on the Libyan government’s air defense facilities in 2011, enforcing a no-fly-zone. In 2014, Obama authorized airstrikes against the self-styled Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also known as ISIS, inside Syria and launched a program to train and arm rebels fighting the group and Syrian government. He also authorized the death of Omer’s successor, Mullah Akhtar Mansour in May 2016.

Trump is believed to have strong challenges ahead as war and terrorism continue unabated and target people indiscriminately on the grounds of their race, color and creed – the US is not immune to its harm either. The last year’s deadly attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, bespoke of intensified militancy and ISIL’s foothold in the US, as the murderer claimed allegiance to ISIL’s group. Following the incident, Trump said that the attack was the work of a “radical Islamic terrorist” and spoke in a harsh tone, whereas, Obama was very moderate and careful in his speech regarding such episodes.

A deadly incident, be it in the US or Afghanistan, will outrage the conscience of the public and Muslims are the greatest victim of terrorism, but harsh rhetoric against a religious group will aggravate the tension rather than alleviating it.
The US is involved in serious issues in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, and now it is Trump to deal with them. The question remains is that how he will deal with. A strong, cautious strategy is needed to prove what Trump has claimed in his inaugural ceremony.

Hujjattullah Zia is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at zia_hujjat@yahoo.com

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