Against Everything Trump

by Chang Se-moon

I have heard people saying that Trump is against immigration, against Hispanics, against Muslims, against women, against capitalism, against globalization, against democracy, and against everything. We might as well change his first name from Donald to “Against Everything” He may well be against all of these.  As a rare Korean-American who predicted Trump would win the presidency early during the primaries (see “How would President Trump hit Korea?” in the May 16, 2016 issue of the Korea Times), my view of Trump is a little different. My theory is that Trump is a pragmatist who stresses practical solutions rather than theories and ideas. Trump is not a crazy ideologue who behaves very strictly according to an ideology.

Consider his view on trade agreements. He proposed revisions on the current trade agreements, making him the target of being labeled anti-globalization or anti-capitalism. Look at the other side, however. The U.S trade deficit has been running well over $500 billion for so many years that practically everyone in the world accepts it as the norm. Even delusional economists still teach that trade deficits are self-correcting in a free trade environment.

Do you really believe that the trade deficit of such magnitude will last forever? Unless corrective measures are taken soon, there will be a time when the U.S economy will collapse, taking the world economy with it. It may not be ten years from now, or even 20 years from now, but it will come. Countries that may have to re-negotiate trade deals under the Trump administration may not like the short-term results, but may find the deals more sustainable in the long run.

Apparently, my assessment of Trump as a pragmatic leader appears to make sense. Post-election statements by Trump indicate that the wall he repeatedly said he would build between Mexico and the U.S. means a strict ban of illegal immigration through the border, surface and air, and deportation that he repeated to scare over 10 million illegal immigrants will be limited to those who have committed felonies. As for Muslims, Trump never said that he would ban Muslims who wish to immigrate to the U.S. through normal channels of migration.

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