Archive for February, 2017

I REFER to Constitutional grounds for temporary US travel ban (Letters, Feb 16) referring to How Trump’s politics affect us (Beyond the Wall, Feb 10).

The letter covers the technicalities of the US president having the constitutional power to commit the acts and has missed the whole point about my article. I am more interested in justice and the integrity of the US president.

It did not matter whether the ban was temporary or only covered seven Muslim majority countries, it’s about the morality, effectiveness (to prevent terrorism) and fairness of the order. The order did not prove anything about Trump’s sincerity in fighting terrorism.

On the concept of “innocent until proven guilty”, Trump has not shown any credible evidence that the immigration order against the seven countries can help to prevent terrorism in the US, in fact, most studies point to the opposite. Even most of the president’s own administration officials and his own intelligence agencies were against the order because it was unjust, racist and counter-productive.

I respect the democratic and check-and-balance system in the US, including a free press and an independent judiciary, to block their president, if necessary, from committing injustices. I would let the US legal system sort itself out.

The US government has been partly responsible for creating refugees by being involved in many modern-day wars and conflicts all over the world where millions of innocent people were also maimed and killed.

Many independent analysts believe (with historical facts) that the US’ geo-political involvements in Afghanistan and the Middle East conflicts, including siding with Zionist Israel against the Palestinian people, were also partly responsible for the creation of Al Qaeda and IS.

My past articles have also explained the situation and I have commended peace-loving, neutral (not involved in creating the Syrian refugee crisis) and anti-terrorism Germany for taking in more than a million Syrian refugees when despotic Arab countries and now the new US president have shunned them.

God bless America and the rest of the world.

K.K. Tan

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HOW TRUMP’S POLITICS AFFECT US

Posted: February 10, 2017 in Uncategorized

FOR all intents and purposes, President Donald Trump sees every Muslim as an extremist or a potential terrorist and a security threat to the US.

This is despite the fact that many Muslims have fought and died for America and have also contributed much to the US economy. There are many more non-Muslim extremists and terrorists in the US and the West. Why was Trump silent when a white supremacist committed a gross act of terror on a Quebec mosque on Jan 29?

Not long ago in America, when racism was prevalent, many white people saw every black man as a rapist, mugger and violent criminal. The black movement in the US led by people such as Martin Luther King and the global anti-apartheid movement inspired by the late and legendary Nelson Mandela, provided the “equalisers” needed to counter racial injustices and bigotry, and made many people realise that it was wrong and dishonest to stereotype black people with negative traits.

With the election of Barack Obama as president in Nov 2008, social values seemed to have changed for the better with bigotry coming under attack and on the defensive, until Trump came along in 2016. He targeted another minority group (Muslims) as both the scapegoat and bogeyman for the social ills of the US.
My last piece about Donald Trump (entitled “Why should we all die for one man?”) provoked different kinds of responses from local and overseas readers.
While some supported my analysis in portraying Trump to be similar to Adolf Hitler in certain (but not all) ways, like Trump singling out the Muslims and Hitler singled out the Jews, there seems to be some sympathy for Trump and to some degree, latent support for Islamophobia as well.

Most of the support for Trump is based on the following arguments.

He has just taken over the presidency of the US, so we should give him a chance to perform and deliver on his promises. This is not a problem, since it is what he is doing that is more important.

Trump is doing exactly what he has promised, so what’s the problem?

Being democratically elected to be the US president is not a carte blanche to do things, which may be unconstitutional or unjust or oppressive. Adolf Hitler was elected in 1933 as chancellor of Germany on his fascist and anti-Jews platform and he actually did what he promised – by exterminating 6 million Jews. So is this right?

Some may argue that what Trump is doing is how democracy should work but this is an abuse of democracy to commit injustices. Democracy is more a means to an end and in a true democracy, there must be checks and balances (such as having an independent judiciary and free press and allowing peaceful protests) against tyranny and the oppression of minorities.

Before I continue, I wish to state that I am not an apologist for Islamic extremism and terrorism. I have written many articles in the past on how to deal resolutely with the likes of IS with military force, psychological warfare and education.

Trump’s executive order to bar the entry of Muslims from seven Muslim-majority countries (the US had a hand in creating the terrorist problem there) seems to be the most controversial of all his actions so far, which the US public, even his own government and diplomatic personnel, state governments and more than 100 big (mostly tech) companies, are opposed to.
Why are all the popular tech giants – Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Twitter, e-Bay, Intel, Uber and the list goes on – filing legal opposition to Trump’s immigration order? Because they have many productive, law-abiding, civil-minded and talented Muslim staff who have contributed to their success.
Trump and his aides have not shown how the immigration order on ordinary Muslims (who have been vetted by his consular and intelligence agencies before they can enter the US) can make America safer from terrorist attacks. Not a shred of evidence. The case to support the order is based on half-truths, misinformation and so-called “alternative facts”, a new term for lies coined by the president’s aides.
His disparaging remarks on the “so-called judge” US District Court Judge James Robart, who overturned his order based on a legal suit filed by the state governments of Washington and Minnesota, were unprecedented in US history.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeal would be hearing soon the appeal by the White House to rescind the injunction by Judge Robart. Most analysts now expect the case to go to the US Supreme Court for a final ruling.

Even the president’s own Republican allies in Congress are distancing themselves from him. More states in the US are now joining in the legal challenges to the immigrant order.

Trump’s immigration order appears to be part of his grand “anti-Muslim global strategy”, which included a three-prong offensive against the right of the Palestinians to their homeland and the UN-sponsored peace process via:

his support of illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank (which the whole world, including his predecessor Barack Obama, has condemned);

his questioning of a UN-sponsored two-state solution (which all his predecessors supported after the Palestinians agreed to a compromise for the sake of peace);

his outrageous idea of moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Trump’s latest approval rating is 44%, the lowest for any president in US history for the first few weeks.

This is a good sign, which means that the US public is not so easily hoodwinked by his fanciful slogans.

Trump’s immigration order may only apply, for a start, to seven Muslim-majority countries. But if he gets his way, he is expected to extend the ban to cover all other Muslim-majority countries including Malaysia and if that happens, even non-Muslim Malaysians would be barred from entering the US.

Many Malaysians seem to think that Trump’s actions so far would not affect our country. There is also a sense of complacency among the non-Muslims that Trump’s policies would not impact them.

Extremist Muslims in Malaysia and elsewhere are doing exactly what Trump wants to achieve for his “self-fulfilling prophecy”, that every Muslim is a fanatic.
Trump’s unjust orders, if not checked, would create a world that is weak, divided and easier to exploit and bully. He is driving a wedge between Muslims and non-Muslims.

If Trump finishes off (unchecked) with destroying the Muslim community, he would then target other ethnic and political groups, just like what Hitler did after he exterminated as many Jews as he could under his control.

The writer is a global political analyst who believes that Trump may not last a full term. Comment: kktan@thesundaily.com

HARUSKAH BERKORBAN UNTUK TRUMP?

Posted: February 10, 2017 in Uncategorized
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PADA awal 1930-an, Jerman berada dalam kekalutan ekonomi yang teruk dan sedang merudum. Pada 1933, Adolph Hitler ‘membasuh otak’ dan mempengaruhi rakyat Jerman kelas pekerja yang kecewa, mengundi beliau menjadi canselor.

Hitler menggunakan kefahaman kebangsaan pro-fasis dan haluan kanan. Beliau mengatakan Yahudi sebagai ‘bermasalah’ dan punca utama pengangguran serta penyakit sosial. Beliau menggesa rakyat bangkit untuk menjadikan Jerman kembali hebat, jadi kuasa besar Eropah, muncul bersama sekutunya Jepun dan Itali supaya dapat menakluki dunia dan menjadikan mereka sebagai jajahan-jajahan perintah dunia baharu.

Hari ini, Amerika Syarikat kehilangan pengaruh global mereka dan sedang dilanda takungan ekonomi, di mana ramai kelas pekerja merasai mereka telah diabaikan dan kecewa dengan pihak berkuasa Washington.

Pada 2016, seorang wira di Amerika Syarikat muncul berjuang untuk kelas pekerja dan bersuara terhadap pengangguran, kemiskinan dan penurunan ekonomi.

Beliau membayangkan bahawa kaum Muslim yang sayang keamanan adalah pelaku dan penyebab keganasan. Beliau melihat kaum Muslim sebagai bermasalah, seperti mana Hitler melihat kaum Yahudi.

Seperti Hitler, Donald Trump dipilih secara demokratik untuk menjadi presiden dan ketua komander negara paling berkuasa di dunia. Beliau mempromosi Islamofobia dengan cara mengekalkan stereotaip dan mitos orang Islam berdasarkan ideologi haluan kanan yang dipakai Hitler.

Ada dua jenis semangat kebangsaan. Pertama adalah semangat progresif (atau pertahanan), iaitu berjuang untuk kebebasan, penentuan nasib sendiri dan kemerdekaan daripada penguasaan dan kawalan luar. Ia boleh menjadi ganas apabila kuasa penjajah atau luar menggunakan keganasan dan penindasan untuk menyunyi penduduk. Bagi negara-negara seperti India dan Malaysia, ia aman secara am.

Jenis lagi satu – semangat kebangsaan haluan kanan – adalah negatif, menindas dan selalunya pro-fasis, dan ia menyapu sebahagian besar dunia Barat. Ia berlandaskan kesombongan, kejahilan, ketaasuban dan perkauman, lebih-lebih lagi Islamofobia. Pelampau-pelampau kebangsaan ini menganut hak untuk menindas minoriti dan menyalahkan mereka yang menyebabkan masalah sosial.

Dalam beberapa hari sahaja mengambil alih sebagai presiden pada 20 Januari, Trump menandatangani perintah eksekutif untuk melarang orang dari Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia dan Sudan daripada memasuki Amerika Syarikat. Beliau menggantungkan program pelarian Syria. Dunia bertamadun, marah.

Ramai Muslim dilanda trauma daripada larangan ini. Alasan Trump ialah untuk menyekat pengganas Muslim daripada memasuki Amerika Syarikat tetapi beliau tidak pula menunjukkan fakta-fakta untuk menyokong dakwaannya itu. Tidak pula beliau menjelaskan mengapa larangan itu adalah memilih dan tidak termasuk Arab Saudi dan Pakistan.

Rakyat Palestin masih lagi berjuang untuk tanah air mereka dan sanggup berkompromi dengan penyelesaian dua negeri tajaan Bangsa-Bangsa Bersatu (menerima kewujudan Israel) demi keamanan. Tetapi Trump, nampak gaya menentang penyelesaian dua negara itu tanpa menawarkan cadangan membina, lebih-lebih lagi, beliau menyokong penempatan haram Israel di Tebing Barat dan idea beliau memindahkan kedutaan Amerika Syarikat dari Tel Aviv ke Jerusalem mencetuskan kemarahan antarabangsa dan melemahkan proses keamanan.

Dasar Amerika Pertama beliau nampaknya menolak Amerika Syarikat untuk berbalah dengan seluruh dunia, termasuk Bangsa-Bangsa Bersatu. Amerika Syarikat akan menarik diri dari perjanjian perdagangan Perkongsian Trans-Pasifik demi memihak pakatan perdagangan dua hala dan rantau, di mana Trump merasakan Amerika Syarikat mempunyai kuasa tawar-menawar yang lebih kuat.

Amerika Syarikat telah banyak memanfaatkan globalisasi, termasuk kemasukan pakar-pakar dari negara-negara lain yang membuat Amerika makmur. Bagi ekonomi yang terbesar di dunia menerima pakai dasar sempit ini adalah bodoh, sombong, mementingkan diri sendiri dan tidak bertanggungjawab. Ia akan kembali menghantui Amerika. Kemunculan perarakan raksasa menyokong wanita di Washington dan di seluruh dunia semasa perasmian Trump sebagai Presiden menunjukkan sentimen kuat terhadap kenyataan dan aksi Trump.

Tembok persempadanan beliau dengan Mexico adalah bertujuan bermain ke arah galeri xenofobia di dalam satu negara yang berlandaskan sejarah penghijrahan manusia dari Eropah dan lain-lain tempat.

Trump nampaknya menghalakan dunia untuk lebih rapat lagi ke pembunuhan beramai-ramai nuklear dengan dasar luar mencari gaduh dan untuk mengembangkan lagi keupayaan nuklear.

Mantan pemimpin Soviet, Mikhail Gorbachev telah memberi amaran bahawa dunia makin lama makin rapat kepada perang nuklear. Gorbachev bertanggungjawab mengakhiri era Perang Dingin.

‘Jam kiamat’ yang diselenggarakan oleh Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Science and Security Board baru sahaja dicepatkan dalam masa dua setengah minit kepada tengah malam (kiamat). Ia adalah isyarat simbolik yang dunia bertambah lebih dekat kepada malapetaka nuklear.

Trump juga bermain permainan ‘nyerempet bahaya’ dengan cara menyedapkan dirinya kepada Rusia, mungkin dengan matlamat untuk ‘mengkotakkan’ China. Trump juga mungkin mencuba merawat Rusia secara mana Hitler membuat pakatan bersama Jepun sebelum Perang Dunia Kedua. Trump juga melihat China sebagai ancaman utama kepada Amerika sekarang seperti mana Hitler melihat Britain ketika itu sebagai penghalang terbesar kepada rancangan peluasan hebat beliau. Trump nampaknya berniat mencetuskan kemarahan China.

Trump tidak kisah terhadap alam persekitaran. Beliau mencemuh sains pemanasan global dan membuat percubaan menarik keluar AS dari perjanjian Bangsa-Bangsa Bersatu atas penukaran iklim. Beliau baru sahaja menandatangani perintah eksekutif memulihkan dua projek saluran paip minyak besar di AS, di mana pengkritik berhujah akan memburukkan alam sekitar.

Kesombongan, kedangkalan diri dan kecuaian Trump mungkin akan menyebabkan kejatuhan beliau. Beliau mungkin akan dicabar untuk melucutkan jawatannya di Kongres Amerika, mungkin atas ‘percanggahan kepentingannya’, di mana empayar perniagaan luas beliau mendapat kelebihan dari kedudukan eksekutifnya atau jika ada kes ‘pengkhianatan’ ke atas acara masa depan mengaitkan pemimpin luar.

Trump sudah pun bermusuh dengan masyarakat risikan yang berkuasa dan media berita besar AS. Kedua-duanya beliau serang dan memperkecilkan. Rakyat Amerika tidak menolak presiden mereka membuat keamanan berterusan atau bekerjasama dengan Rusia untuk melawan keganasan tetapi mereka tetap menolak mana-mana perjanjian rahsia yang akan mengkompromikan kepentingan jangka panjang AS dan rakan pakatan mereka dalam Pertubuhan Perjanjian Atlantik Utara (NATO).

Walaupun Trump telah bercakap besar yang beliau akan menang pada pilihan raya 2020, beliau mungkin tidak akan terus hidup terma pertama sehingga 2021.

Mari kita berdoa selagi beliau bertugas sebagai ketua komander Amerika, Trump tidak akan membuat apa jua yang boleh membinasakan kemanusiaan dan jika ia berlaku, beliau mesti tahu yang kemusnahan itu akan melibatkan beliau, keluarganya, saudara-maranya, rakan-rakannya dan empayar perniagaannya. Tetapi, mengapa harus kita berkorban untuk Donald Trump?

Penulis adalah penganalisis dan strategis politik bebas yang percaya bahawa keadilan akan selalunya menular. Komen: kktan@the sundaily.com

*Terbitan The Sun, 2 Februari 2017

 

IN the early thirties, Germany was in severe economic recession and in decline. In 1933, Adolph Hitler brainwashed and won over the disillusioned German working class to be elected as the chancellor.

Hitler adopted a pro-fascist and right-wing nationalist ideology. He singled out the Jews as the “problem” and a root cause of the unemployment and other social ills. He rallied the people to make Germany great again. He wanted Germany to be the emerging European superpower, with its allies, Japan and Italy, to conquer the rest of the world, to be their colonies of the new world order.

Today, the United States is losing its global influence and is facing a stagnant economy with many working class people feeling neglected and disillusioned by the establishment in Washington.

In 2016, a “hero” emerged in the United States to fight for its working class and speak out against unemployment, poverty and the economic decline. He wanted to make America great again.

He has implied that ordinary peace-loving Muslims are the culprits and cause of terrorism. He saw Muslims as the “problem”, like how Hitler saw the Jews.

Like Hitler, Donald Trump was democratically elected to be the president and commander-in-chief of the most powerful nation on earth.

He has been promoting Islamophobia by perpetuating stereotype myths about Muslims based on the same right-wing ideology that Hitler used.

There are two kinds of nationalism.

The first is Progressive (or Defensive) Nationalism, which is about fighting for freedom, self-determination and independence against foreign domination and control. It can be violent when the colonial or foreign power uses terror and repression to silence the population. For countries such as India and Malaysia, it was generally peaceful.

The other type – Right-Wing Nationalism – is negative, oppressive and often pro-fascist and is sweeping parts of the Western world. It is based on arrogance, ignorance, bigotry and racism, especially Islamophobia. These nationalist extremists profess the right to oppress minorities and blame them for causing social problems.

Within days of taking over as president on Jan 20, Trump signed an executive order to ban all ordinary people from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Sudan from entering the US. He suspended the Syrian refugee programme. The civilised world is outraged.

Many Muslims were traumatised by this ban. Trump’s excuse was to prevent Muslim terrorists from entering the US but he did not show any facts to support the case. Neither did he explain why the ban was selective and did not include Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

Palestinians are still fighting for their homeland and are even prepared to compromise on a UN-sponsored two-state solution (accepting the existence of Israel) for the sake of peace. However, Trump seems to oppose the two-state solution without offering any constructive proposal. Furthermore, his support of illegal Israeli settlements on occupied West Bank and his idea on moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem are causing international outrage and undermining the peace process.

His “America First” policy seems to be pitting America against the world, including the United Nations.

The US is withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal in favour of bilateral and regional trade pacts, which Trump feels that the US would have stronger bargaining power.

The US has been benefiting immensely from globalisation including the influx of talented and skilled people from other countries to make America prosper. For the world’s largest economy to adopt such an inward-looking policy is stupid, arrogant, selfish and irresponsible. It will come back to haunt America.

The huge turnouts in the marches in support of women in Washington and all over the world during Trump’s inauguration showed the strong sentiments against Trump’s remarks and acts.

Pushing for building his border wall with Mexico is aimed at playing to the gallery on xenophobia in a country based historically on migration of people from Europe and elsewhere.

Trump seems to be pushing the world closer to a nuclear holocaust with his hawkish foreign policy and to “greatly expand nuclear capabilities”.

Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev has issued a warning that the world is getting closer to a nuclear war than before. Gorbachev was responsible for bringing an end to the Cold War era.

The “Doomsday Clock” maintained by the influential Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Science and Security Board has just been moved to two-and-a-half minutes to midnight (Doomsday). It was an important symbolic gesture that the world is now closer to a nuclear catastrophe than ever before.

Trump may also be playing a dangerous game of brinkmanship by trying to cosy up to Russia, perhaps with the aim of trying to “contain” China. Trump may be trying to treat Russia in the same way that Hitler forged an alliance with Japan before World War II. Trump may also perceive China as the main threat to America now like how Hitler viewed Britain then as the biggest stumbling block to his grand expansionist plan. Trump seems intent to provoke and infuriate China.

Trump does not seem to care for the environment. He poured scorn over the science of global warming and is trying to get the US out of the latest UN treaty on climate change. He has just signed an executive order to revive two large oil pipeline projects in the US which critics argue are bad for the environment.

His arrogance, self-denial and carelessness may cause his own downfall. He may be impeached by Congress, probably over a “conflict of interest” matter which his vast business empire may have with his executive position or if there is a case of “betrayal” or “treason” over some future event involving a foreign leader.

He has made enemies of his own powerful intelligence community and the big US news media, both of which he vehemently attacked and disparaged earlier.

Americans are not opposed to their president making lasting peace with Russia or collaborating with Russia to fight terrorism but they would be against any secret deals which may compromise the long-term interests of the US and its allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

While Trump may have boasted about going for a second term, he may not even survive a full first term in office until 2021.

Let’s pray that while serving as the commander-in-chief of America, Trump will not do anything which would lead to the destruction of humanity and if it were to happen, (he must know) it will certainly include himself, his family, relatives, friends and his business empire.

But why should we all die for Donald Trump?

The writer is an independent political analyst and strategist who believes that justice will eventually prevail. Comments: kktan@the sundaily.com