Sept 11 can be considered a game changer in world history.

ISLAMOPHOBIA is the fear, prejudice and hatred against Islam and Muslims, especially in the West. It is based on stereotyping all Muslims as extremists, lunatics and/or terrorists and is probably the greatest threat confronting the Muslim world today.

On a global level, there may be some localised incidents based on fears or prejudices against other religions, but nothing comparable to the scale of Islamophobia. Why?

Islamophobia became more widespread after the co-ordinated attacks in the US 16 years ago, on Sept 11, 2001 by the terror group called Al-Qaeda, which had its origins in Afghanistan when it was under military occupation by the then Soviet Union (1978-1989). The CIA was responsible for creating Al-Qaeda at that time to serve US interests against the Soviets.

“Sept 11” can be considered a game changer in world history when the most powerful country in the world was seemingly brought to its knees by 19 self-professed “Muslim jihadists”, using four hijacked passenger planes. Nearly 3,000 people were killed and 6,000 people injured. The iconic World Trade Centre was destroyed and the Pentagon (Department of Defence) partly damaged.

Because the 19 terrorists openly proclaimed themselves to be “Muslim jihadists”, the public backlash against Muslims in general in the US and Europe was severe.

The US government retaliated aggressively, not necessarily correctly in all cases, against selective Muslim countries such as Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. The rest of what happened and how Al-Qaeda was crippled militarily and the killing of its leader Osama bin Laden on May 2, 2011 (about 10 years later) in Pakistan, is now history.

The actions via military attacks, drones or otherwise until today, by the Western powers against selective Muslim groups and countries, have been given a major boost by the new US president, Donald Trump, who is widely perceived to be the most anti-Muslim US president ever. These actions have subtly reinforced the psychology of Islamophobia in the subconscious minds of many non-Muslims.

The rise in Islamophobia is giving credence to the self-fulfilling prophecy of the late US political scientist Samuel Huntington’s theory of the “Clash of Civilisations”. It is as though the entire Muslim world is at war with the Christian world or it is Islam versus Christianity.

This may be precisely what the extremists from both sides (Muslims and Christians) want but why should the peace and justice loving people of all religions allow it? Both these global monotheist religions have far more similarities in content and origin than their perceived minor differences, which the extremists are playing up and exploiting to the hilt to cause strife.

Extremist groups such as Al-Qaeda, IS (in Syria and Iraq) and the Abu Sayyaf (in southern Philippines) may seem to be losing militarily, but their influence like the Taliban and other terror groups around the world have not waned and should never be underestimated.

I have written and alerted readers in this column as far back as 2014, even before IS became a global monster (not just in Syria and Iraq), on the need, not only to defeat this insidious terror movement militarily but also to educate the alienated and disenchanted Muslim youths who are attracted to IS ideology and to explain to them why it is so wrong to blame, vent their anger and inflict harm on innocent people for the suffering of the Muslims, especially the Palestinian people.

The Palestinian conflict appears to be the cause celebre used by Muslim extremists and terrorists to recruit disenchanted Muslim youths to join their movements.

For nearly 30 years since my student days in Britain, I have written about, campaigned and demonstrated in the campuses and streets for the rights of the oppressed Palestinian people against the Zionist aggressor, Israel. Even though I am a non-Muslim, I have supported and fought for the Palestinian cause on a matter of principle based on truth and justice, so yes, I do have the locus standi to defend the oppressed Muslim people and to write about the subject of Islamophobia.

Like most smear campaigns, the proponents of Islamophobia created and promoted negative perceptions of a targeted group that they do not like or have a hidden agenda against. And like other smear campaigns, there are some basis used by the opponents of Islam to justify the negative stereotyping of Muslims as extremists and/or terrorists.

The Muslim extremists and terrorists are largely responsible for Islamophobia. They are falling straight into the “trap” of the enemies of Islam who are whipping up anti-Muslim sentiments. Since most terror attacks are caused by people professing to be “Muslim jihadists”, it is easy for the right-wing white supremacists to use these incidents to promote the negative perceptions of Muslims and Islam.

The irony is that extremist Muslim supremacists in Muslim majority countries, including Malaysia, are using similar arguments or rationale against non-Muslim minorities as the ones used by the extremist white supremacists against Muslim minorities in the West, who, like the non-Muslim Asians and black people, also suffer from racism.

It is as though these extremist Muslims are working in cohorts with the pro-Zionist white extremists who are oppressing the Muslim minorities in the West and the Palestinians in Israel and the occupied territories. The real enemies of Islam, besides the Zionists and the right-wing white supremacists, are the self-professed “Muslim jihadists” who resort to acts of terror to harm people, thereby undermining the image of Islam.

Every time there is an act of terror committed by Muslim extremists, we hear strong condemnations by the non-Muslim leaders but somehow, the reactions from the moderate and civil-minded Muslim community leaders in general seem to be rather mute or even silent. This gives the false impression that they sympathise with the terrorists or are condoning their acts.

Herein lies the biggest challenge needed to counter Islamophobia.

It is not enough to rely mostly on non-Muslim leaders to openly condemn acts of terrorism by self-professed “Muslim jihadists” such as the IS. In fact, such a scenario would only reinforce the negative perception of Muslims.

Moderate Muslim leaders, either in the Muslim minority or Muslim majority countries, must do much more to speak out loudly and clearly and in unison against acts of terror anywhere in the world.

They must also play a more pro active and pre-emptive role in educating Muslim youths about the evils of extremism and terrorism.

They must constantly remind Muslims that it is wrong, unjust and anti-Islamic (saying “un-Islamic” is not strong enough) to harm, kill or massacre innocent people who play no role in oppressing the Palestinians or other Muslims.

Islam is a religion of peace, justice and compassion and no Muslim extremists should be allowed to hijack and/or defame the good name of Islam.

The writer is a friend and supporter of all oppressed people, especially the Muslims in Israel, occupied territories and in many other countries where they are the minority. Comments: kktan@thesundaily.com

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Trying times for Trump. Will he be able to wriggle his way out of the 'Russian scandal'?

Trying times for Trump. Will he be able to wriggle his way out of the ‘Russian scandal’?

THERE is a saying that “pride comes before a fall” but in US President Donald Trump’s case it is more about his “super arrogance”. So if, or rather when, he falls it would be a very hard and heavy one.

In my two recent articles in February about the new US president just after his inauguration, all the signs about his arrogant outlook and politics were already there. Without hesitation, he took on three of the most influential US institutions – the intelligence community, media and the judiciary. This might be his biggest mistake.

Trump made scornful remarks against the intelligence community, before and after the 2016 election, when they came out to reveal that the Russian government directed the cyber-attacks and hacking to interfere with the US election process.

One of his first acts as president confirmed that he was one of the biggest promoters of Islamophobia with his travel ban on seven selected Muslim-majority countries, which was overturned by the judiciary. Even his revised second travel ban was also stopped by the judiciary on legal grounds. He made disparaging remarks against the judges involved and also against the media for portraying him in a bad light.

Then he committed another unfriendly, anti-Muslim and pro-Israeli act, when during the visit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the White House on Feb 15, he criticised the UN-sponsored Middle East peace conference in Paris in January, dismissed the two-state solution (which the Palestinians have already compromised much for the sake of peace) and only pleaded gently with the Israeli prime minister instead of condemning him on the illegal settlements (more like daylight robbery) by Israelis on Palestinian land in the West Bank. Only last month, a UN agency came out with a report accusing Israel for practising apartheid against the Palestinian people.

The ordinary, moderate and peace-loving Muslims and the rest of the civilised world would have no problem at all if Trump takes a more aggressive position to fight and eliminate the Islamic extremists and the likes of IS, which the US was partly responsible for creating in the first place. But for Trump to treat and target ordinary Muslims as extremists or potential terrorists and use them as scapegoats, like what Hitler did with the Jews, is grossly unjust and inexcusable.

Trump has already alienated Muslims and other minorities such as Afro-Americans and Hispanics, and he has also offended women with his sexist remarks even before he was elected.

He continues to attack the US news media every time they legitimately question or criticise him as a top public official, even accusing them of spreading “fake news”.

Last month, he also insinuated that the intelligence agencies wire-tapped his Trump Tower on orders from former president Barack Obama during the 2016 election. This has now been proven to be totally untrue and could have been a diversionary tactic.

Since the failure of his healthcare bill last month to replace Obamacare, his biggest legislative setback so far, he has blamed and even threatened members of his own Republican Party who did not support his bill.

He seems to be offending more groups unnecessarily. One wonders how far he would go to alienate more groups before “someone dares to tell the emperor that he has no clothes”. Perhaps his charming daughter Ivanka would do so.

However, the biggest challenge today to Trump is about the “Russia scandal” allegations, that his aides and election campaign managers, wittingly or unwittingly, had inappropriate ties with Russia, still the number one adversary of the US. There is evidence that Russia interfered in the 2016 election and may be involved in other ways (being investigated now), which may compromise US security.

The scandal started off with allegations that Russian intelligence was hacking into the Democratic Party email system to discredit Hilary Clinton and favour Trump in the election but the current investigation by the FBI is expanding into an integrated analysis on how the entire administration may have been compromised.

The chips started to fall when his own National Security adviser, Michael Flynn, was forced to resign on Feb 13 for misleading Vice-President Mike Pence and other White House officials about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the US, even before Trump took over as president.

More revelations are coming out on the communications between his campaign managers, White House officials, including his son-in-law and senior adviser (Jared Kushner) and Russian officials or agents. Senior past and present White House officials, including Flynn, are now prepared to testify before Congress in exchange for immunity from prosecution.

The “White House of Cards” may be crumbling under severe pressure from these extremely serious allegations about the likelihood of the president’s men “working with the enemy”, with or without his knowledge.

The FBI, which is investigating these allegations, will leave no stone unturned and report the findings to Congress. No sitting president would be allowed to interfere in such an investigation and the case is leaning more towards a major security and intelligence scandal, even if Donald Trump is not personally implicated.

Perhaps the powerful FBI director James Comey knew what was coming when, just about a week before the polling in the 2016 election, he revealed some additional vague information on the so-called “email scandal” involving Hilary Clinton when she was secretary of state, which appeared to be damaging to her, but he then decided not to further pursue it after (expectedly) getting a storm of protests from Clinton, her aides and supporters.

Comey, as a true US patriot, might have reasons to believe that Trump would win the election anyway and he might also have reasons to believe then that the new Trump administration might be compromised somehow. So Comey acted against Hilary Clinton in a seemingly damaging manner (but perhaps believing that his actions would not affect the election outcome anyway). Today, if he were to report and act against the president and/or his officials, he would not be accused of being biased or unfair.

Would Trump be able to wriggle his way out of the “Russia scandal”? If he can, many people, including his opponents, would certainly take the hat out for him.

However, it would be most discomforting for global stability and security if the FBI investigation concludes that the administration of the commander-in-chief of the most powerful country in the world has been significantly compromised by its main adversary.

I have predicted, with good reasons, in my two previous articles about Trump not being able to survive a full term of office and some readers had taken me to task for suggesting it. We shall see, hopefully soon, if my prognosis will hold water.

The writer, a political analyst based in Kuala Lumpur, believes that Trump’s arrogance and living in denial would lead to his downfall. Comments: kktan@thesundaily.com

LESSONS FROM LA LA LAND

Posted: March 18, 2017 in Uncategorized
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WHEN I heard and read about the raving reviews and the outstanding film awards for the latest and probably best musical blockbuster from Hollywood, and as a music lover myself, I had to see it, no matter how busy I was.

It was a fun, entertaining and well-choreographed show, the music was superb and the scenes were so innocently and politely romantic, all done in good taste, even for more conservative audiences.

In the “City of Stars” (also the name of the theme song), also known as La La Land (name of the film) or Los Angeles, the Hollywood city known for “destroying hopes and breaking hearts”, Boy (Sebastian, a dedicated jazz musician) meets Girl (Mia, an aspiring actress) in a number of coincidental events and after a series of humorous hiccups, fall in love with each other.

Both are idealistic and broke but manage to earn a living to support their simple lifestyle while working towards their dreams, for Sebastian to own a jazz club and Mia to become a successful actress.

It is an uphill struggle for both, but Sebastian gets an early break when he joins a band and has to tour with it. A depressed Mia, who is not getting the breaks that she needed, is not in favour of Sebastian taking on this new role. She is not keen to join the tour and she dislikes not having him around.

Sebastian loves Mia deeply and wants to help her get a breakthrough to become a successful actress. When a casting director, whom Sebastian knows, is looking for an actress to play an important role for a film production in Paris, a reluctant Mia is coaxed by Sebastian to go for the audition.

She succeeds in the audition and they part, while professing their love for each other but with a still uncertain future.

Then the film fast forwards five years; Mia has achieved her dream of becoming a successful actress and comes back to La La Land. She is happily married to another man with whom she has a daughter. One night, she and her husband unwittingly end up in a jazz bar and she soon discovers that it belongs to Sebastian. So he had also achieved his dream.

When Sebastian takes the stage to play the piano he spots Mia in the crowd and both are pensive.

Sebastian begins to play their love theme, prompting the two to imagine “what could have been” if everything went their way and they ended up together as a couple.

When the song ends, Mia feels she has to leave before emotions surface. Before departing, she takes one last look at Sebastian and they both give an approving nod but with a sad smile to each other. The ending scene is the most touching moment of all.

Besides the beautiful romance, music and great acting, what are the important lessons of life from the film?

The first lesson is that, like Sebastian and Mia, we must have our own dreams in life. Believe in our dreams but be realistic and stay focused on what we want to do.

The second lesson is that whatever our dreams, we must be prepared to face obstacles and even sacrifices like what Sebastian and Mia did.

The third lesson is that whatever the outcome, based on our own decisions and actions, we must take full responsibility for it and not blame others for it. Even in the ending scene, there was a clear acknowledgement from both Sebastian and Mia, that, much as they were both sad for not ending up together, they accepted the full responsibility of what they had decided to do earlier. As the saying goes “you made your bed, you lie on it”.

The fourth lesson from the film is that, often in life, not everything is as bad as it seems. Perceived rejections or failures can actually be blessings in disguise. Even though Sebastian and Mia did not end up as a couple, they were both doing well in their life, so it might have been fated that they did not end up as a couple. Maybe they were only meant for each other for a certain phase of their life.

Those of us who did not end up with a past lover may feel more melancholic and nostalgic as we often wonder how our life would have been if we had ended up with that person.

And the fifth, and probably the most important lesson of life from the film, is that often we cannot have everything the way we want in our life. Life seems to be full of trade-offs and compromises and while we are often given choices, usually, to get one aspect of what we want, we would have to give away another.

Both Sebastian and Mia felt their career was their priority and they even had to sacrifice their love for it. Not that they did not want to be a couple but they had to choose which came first. It might seem to be Sebastian’s “fault” for pushing Mia for the audition that resulted in her having to leave him for Paris, but it was a “price” that he was prepared to pay as he loved her unselfishly and wanted to give her the break she needed desperately.

Moving forward with our dreams, once we have decided what we want to achieve in our life, we must learn how to juggle the various demands. It can be considered a success if we are able to achieve 80% of what we set out to do.

To be able to achieve our dreams in today’s complex and competitive world, we must also learn to be good at adapting and adjusting to changes or change management. It is not about being fickle or flip-flopping but dealing with situations beyond your control.

It may be that we would need to change plans on our dreams if we are to face insurmountable obstacles. If that happens, it is time to think “beyond the wall” and with an innovative or creative mindset but we must stay honest to our ideals and principles.

The writer, a think-tank strategist, believes that good films are a very powerful medium to communicate important messages about life. Comments: kktan@thesundaily.com

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

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