President Donald Trump has shown a propensity to govern by decree
with a minimum input from government departments and from the
A dangerous and potentially disastrous approach to government, in a
democracy, occurs when a leader adopts the practice of governing by
decree, without constitutional constraints, thus forcing the hands
of responsible departments, of the elected Congress and submitting
the entire U.S. bureaucracy to his will by governing as an autocrat.
If it were to continue on that road, the Trump administration could
turn out to be more like a would-be imperial presidency than a
responsible democratic government.
This term was first coined by historian
Arthur Schlesinger Jr. in
his 1973 book The Imperial Presidency, in response to President
Richard Nixon's attempt to extend the power of the U.S. president,
"when the president does it, that means it is not
In my own 2003 book
The New American Empire, I dealt with
the issue of American presidents having usurped over time the power
to adopt a policy of global intervention, and the power to launch
wars of aggression at will, with a minimum input from Congress.
President Trump seems to want to outdo President Nixon in
considering the White House as the primary center of political power
within the American government, contrary to what the U.S.
Constitution says about the separation of powers.
To be sure, other American presidents have issued executive orders
and presidential memos early in their administration, but this was
mainly to re-establish procedures that a previous administration had
They usually did not deal with fundamental and complex
policies without debate, although many did.
In the case of President Trump, his executive orders and
presidential memos have not only been multiple, they also have dealt
with fundamental policies, without consulting and requesting the
professional input of the Secretary and of the department
responsible, be it on healthcare, abortion, international trade,
immigration, oil exploration, justice, etc., and without producing
policy papers to explain the rationale behind the policy changes and
without outlining the objectives being pursued.
When such a development of governing by decree has occurred in other
countries, democracy was the loser, and the consequences for the
leader and his country turned out to be disastrous.
President Donald Trump seems to be anxious to find pretexts to pick
fights with other countries: For him, it seems to be the U.S.
against the world
In a March 2007 interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, the future
presidential candidate Donald Trump said that President George W.
Bush had been a disaster in foreign relations and that he was,
worst American president in the history of the United States",
adding that he "should have been impeached" because he lied his way
into a war of aggression against Iraq and sent thousands of people
to their death.
This is an assessment that he has repeated on
However, ironically, President Donald Trump seems to be on the same
Bush regarding the country of Iran, using lies
and false claims to pick a fight with that country, and in so doing,
echoing the hysterical rhetoric of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
He has also recklessly insulted the heads of a half dozen
countries, even going so far as to threaten the President of Mexico
to invade his country.
As to his criticism of President George W.
Bush, it seems that really,
"it takes one to know one"!
President Trump should be reminded of what he promised as a
In a foreign policy speech delivered on
Wednesday April 27, 2016, he declared,
candidates for the presidency, war and aggression will not
be my first instinct.
You cannot have a
foreign policy without diplomacy. A superpower understands
that caution and restraint are really truly signs of
Although not in
government service, I was totally against the war in Iraq,
very proudly, saying for many years that it would
destabilize the Middle East."
President Donald Trump has been less than candid regarding the
influence of the Wall Street lobby on politicians, including himself
During the 2016 Presidential political campaign, candidate Donald
Trump was very critical of politicians who do the heavy lifting for
Wall Street firms in Washington D.C.
On many occasions, Mr. Trump
said that Wall Street is a symbol of a corrupt establishment that
has been robbing America's working class and enriching the elite.
also tweeted point blank, on July 28, 2016, that Secretary
Clinton was "owned by Wall Street" and that Wall Street banks had
"total, total control" over his rivals Hillary Clinton and Ted Cruz,
implying that they were unfit for the Office of the President.
October 19, 2016, Mr. Trump tweeted that,
"crooked Hillary is nothing
more than a Wall Street Puppet",
...thus presenting himself as the
populist defender of the working class against the financial elite.
But guess what? One of Mr. Trump's first moves as President was to
order the undoing of the banking regulations known as the
legislation, which was adopted in 2010, after the 2008 subprime
President Trump thus quickly answered the main
request made by the very Wall Street mega banks that he had accused
previously of corrupting Washington politicians.
He went even
further when he named a former Goldman Sachs banker,
Steven Mnuchin, as his Treasury Secretary.
Also, Mr. Trump has reached to the mega-bank Goldman Sachs for help
He name Mr.
Gary Cohn (1960- ), president of Goldman
Sachs, head of the President's National Economic Council, thus
making sure that Wall Street bankers will have a big say in his
administration's economic and financial policies.
Was his lambasting of his opponents as Wall Street banks' puppets
simply campaign rhetoric without substance? That is certainly a
question worth asking.
President Donald Trump's continuous attacks against the free press
and against independent judges who rule against his policies is an
authoritarian approach to government and is a violation of the
separation of powers
On Monday February 6, President Trump launched a barrage of
off-the-cuff intimidating insults at the American news media,
accusing them of "refusing to report on terrorist attacks", without
providing any evidence to back up such serious accusations.
also attempted to intimidate judges who have to rule on the
constitutionality of some of his decrees and threatened their
Such behavior is a violation of, and contempt for the separation of
powers clause in the U.S. Constitution and is a frontal attack
against the free press.
This is not a trivial matter, because when an authoritarian regime
wants to establish itself and avoid accountability, it usually
attacks the legislative and the judiciary branches of government to
pressure them to toe the line of the executive branch, and it tries
to silence the very institutions that can put the false statements
of politicians to the test.
President Donald Trump has a mercantilist view of international
trade, which is rejected by nearly all economists
President Donald Trump seems to think that his country should have
trade surpluses on goods and services vis-à-vis other countries, the
latter being saddled with trade deficits, whatever the overall
balance of payments of the United States, especially its capital
account, and whatever the domestic and foreign economic
This is economically false. That is not the way
adjustments in the balance of payments of a country work, in a
When Donald Trump places all the emphasis on only one part of the
balance of payments, the trade balance, he misses the point.
example, if a country lives beyond its means and borrows money from
abroad, such foreign borrowing appears as an inflow of foreign
capital in the country.
Such an inflow of foreign capital causes an
excess of domestic spending over its production, and that helps
finance an excess of imports over exports of goods and services with
the rest of the world.
The capital account of the country shows a
surplus, while the trade balance (more precisely the current
account) indicates a deficit, thus balancing more or less each
The main reason why the United States is registering trade deficits
is because it borrows too much from abroad.
This is partly due to the fact that the U.S. government runs huge
fiscal deficits, spending more than its tax revenues, and borrowing
money both from the private sector and from foreigners, thus
increasing the public debt.
Such deficits often are the result of
tax reductions and of increased military expenditures.
The fact that
the world economy uses the U.S. dollar as a reserve currency
represents an interest-free loan that the rest of the world makes to
the United States, which allows the USA to have a chronic trade
Mr. Trump and his advisers would be wise to understand
these truths of international finance.
If his administration wants to reduce the annual U.S. trade deficit
with the rest of the world, the U.S. government should balance its
books and reduce its foreign borrowings.
Trade wars will not improve
the U.S. trade balance if the country keeps over-spending and keeps
borrowing from abroad. They would only make matters worse.
For many decades now, the U.S. government has piled up debt-upon-debt
while running continuous fiscal deficits, mainly due to the fact
that it has been waging costly wars abroad, while financing such
interventions with foreign money.
This is a problem that American
politicians must understand if they don't want their country to go
This has happened in the past to other overextended
empires, and there is no reason why it should not happen today when
a country continuously spends more than it produces.
And wars do not
produce anything, except death and destruction.
Hopes of putting an end to the Middle East chaos have greatly
One of the positive results of the Trump election was the promise to
end the deadly chaos in the Middle East.
During the presidential
campaign and once in power, Mr. Trump threw some cold water on that
Firstly, in his March 21, 2016 speech to
AIPAC, he flattered his
rich Zionist donors by announcing his intention to break with the
half-century policy of most western nations that considers the city
of Jerusalem a United Nations protected zone and an international
city occupied by Arabs, Christians and Jews.
"we will move the
American embassy [from Tel Aviv] to the eternal capital of
the Jewish people, Jerusalem."
Secondly, on Thursday December 15, 2016, to make sure that everybody
understands that he is one-sided in the more than half a century old
Israeli-Palestinian conflict, President-elect Trump announced his
choice of a hardliner pro-Israeli settlements on privately-owned
Palestinian lands for U.S. ambassador to Israel (in fact, David
Friedman, his former bankruptcy lawyer).
The new ambassador didn't
waste any time in professing that he was looking forward to doing
"from the U.S.
embassy in Israel's eternal capital, Jerusalem."
And, thirdly, seemingly forgetting that he had criticized Secretary
Clinton for proposing a similar dangerously reckless policy,
President Trump announced, on January 25, that he,
do safe zones in Syria",
...seemingly without considering if it was
legal to do so without the consent of the Syrian government, and
without consulting with the three principal countries (Russia,
Turkey and Iran), which had just concluded a peace plan for Syria.
He opted instead to talk to leaders of Saudi Arabia and of the
United Arab Emirates - two countries known to be sponsoring terrorism
The world is afraid of President Donald Trump: Doomsday Clock
scientists have concluded that humanity is just two-and-a-half
minutes from the apocalypse
Late in January, the scientists in charge of the
Doomsday Clock set
the clock at just two-and-a-half minutes from the apocalypse,
allegedly because of Donald Trump.
They said that the businessman
turned politician, with his disturbing and ill-considered
pronouncements and policies, has the potential to drive the Planet
This means that they consider that the Earth is now closer to
oblivion than it has ever been since 1953, at the height of the
nuclear confrontation between the USA and the Soviet Union.
The existential threats facing the Earth now come from the loose
talk about using nuclear weapons and the proliferation of such
weapons, as well as the observed acceleration of climate change.