'The world as seen by Donald Trump' is the title of a piece by Michael T Klare in Le Monde Diplomatique. Klare states that the aim of US foreign policy will be to advance America’s interests above all else.
'In this competitive environment', he writes, 'where every government will be judged solely by what it can do to further America's interests or impede its progress, Trump will use every tool at his disposal to reward partners and punish opponents. Willing collaborators can expect state visits to the White House, favourable trade deals and exemption from human rights considerations; adversaries will face high import tariffs, diplomatic isolation and, in case of extreme provocation, military action’.
Klare notes that Trump has said little on what form military action might take, but speculates that it is likely to be 'muscular' such as air and missile strikes against high-value targets.
To deliver this strategy, Trump had assembled a senior leadership team of people who knew how to reward collaborators with lucrative deals along with others who were experienced at wielding force against enemies – including Flynn, the national security adviser, and Mattis, the secretary of defense. 'And to make sure his generals will be in a preponderant position if and when required to employ the military option, he has called for a massive expansion of the armed forces – and especially of the navy, the most suitable service for muscle-flexing and quick-strike operations'.
The Economist labels the transfer of power 'a helluva handover' and
discusses what Trump’s appointees reveal about the nature of the new
The magazine reckons that the disavowal of climate science reflects a wider disdain for expert opinion. It gives as a small example of this, 'with potentially large consequences for American children', the suggestion that Trump may appoint as chair of a vaccine-safety commission a proponent of a 'bogus theory' linking vaccines and autism. It goes on to point out that the one academic economist on Trump's senior economic team, Peter Navarro, is a protectionist with a maverick aversion to trade deficits.
For his commerce secretary, Trump had picked Wilbur Ross, a billionaire businessman who was also a protectionist, having made a fortune by buying and turning around stricken American steel and textiles mills, which Ross argues require stiffer protective tariffs.
Matthew Sherill in Harper’s magazine takes a numerical look at Trump's
appointees in a piece headed 'Cabinet of Curiosities'.
Among the numbers:
Number of years education secretary nominee Betsy DeVos spent on the
board of the right-wing Acton Institute think tank: 10
Date on which the Acton Institute published a blog post entitled 'Bring Back Child Labor': 11 March 2016
Date on which James 'Mad Dog' Mattis publicly proclaimed that it is 'fun to shoot some people': 2 January 2005
Number of cabinet-level appointees who are billionaires: 3
Who are millionaires: 12
Mother Jones magazine spoke to some of the Trump supporters who had
travelled to Washington for the inauguration and asked them what they
wanted him to do first. Securing the country's borders and repealing
Obamacare were among their top choices. The reporter from Mother Jones
also wanted to know about voters' reactions to Trump's relationship with Russia. 'I'm not 100% comfortable with that, but I don't think Vladimir Putin is the worst person on Earth', said Kenneth Dempsey, who drove up from West Palm Beach, Florida, for the day. 'Maybe he can get a cabinet post, I don't know'.