Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Trump leaves a ‘negative legacy’ for the US and the world

Trump leaves a ‘negative legacy’ for the US and the world

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Donald Trump is noticeably different from past US presidents in that he has not considered his country’s role in the stability of the world. AFP

Trump leaves a ‘negative legacy’ for the US and the world

US President Donald Trump leaves office on January 20. International order and democracy have been seriously damaged in the past four years. The “negative legacy” that President-elect Joe Biden will inherit is too great.

Trump has maintained a stance of sticking entirely to the “America First” policy that he declared in his inaugural address.

It is natural for a leader to give top priority to his or her own country’s interests, but the US is the world’s largest military and economic power. Trump is noticeably different from past US presidents in that he has not considered his country’s role in the stability of the world.

It is commendable that Trump has raised the issue of China’s increasing assertion of power, viewing it as problematic and as one of the forces making efforts to change the status quo. However, pressure from the imposition of punitive tariffs has led to the proliferation of protectionism. It was also unreasonable to try to solve the issues through a deal between the leaders.

Considering China’s growing power, it would be reasonable for the US to cooperate with its allies in dealing with the issues. Nevertheless, Trump took a one-sided view that the US alone has been bearing burdens. He moved to demand extreme increases in the defence burdens on US allies and reduced the number of US troops stationed overseas.

Although relations between Japan and the US have remained generally good, many US allies undoubtedly have been swayed by Trump. The diplomacy between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was effective in easing tensions, but it did not bring about any progress in Pyongyang’s denuclearisation.

Trump also has rejected international frameworks, such as by announcing that the US would withdraw from the World Health Organisation. Contrary to his pledge to “make America great again”, it is obvious that he lowered US influence and undermined national interests.

On the economic front, Trump has pushed ahead with economic expansion and an improvement in the unemployment rate, but these achievements have been wiped out by a careless response to the novel coronavirus. This appears to be the result of his self-righteous style to make light of experts and dismiss a series of high-ranking officials who spoke to him frankly and unreservedly.

Trump’s style of politics – unilaterally announcing his policies and opinions on Twitter, and never correcting any tweets that were shown to be false – has caused widespread conspiracy theories and a crisis in democracy. His insistence that there was fraud in the presidential election and his refusal to admit his defeat in the election have driven the negative effects to a peak.

The occupation of the Capitol by his radical supporters and the two impeachment charges by Congress will be a blemish on history.

Trump, who has fuelled anti-immigrant hostility and racial confrontation, leaves office, but there will be no change in the structure in which his supporters, mainly white workers in rural areas, feel alienated from economic globalisation and the promotion of information technology. They will continue to oppose politics led by urban elites.

This is a serious task for the new administration – how to overcome divisions in society and expand the understanding of the importance of international cooperation.



  • Locations shut, dozens more Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health has closed 23 locations in connection with the February 20 community transmission of Covid-19 and summoned for testing anyone who had direct contact with affected people and places. The number of discovered related infections has risen to 76, including 39 women. In a press release,

  • Kingdom's Covid cluster cases jump to 194

    The Ministry of Health on February 25 confirmed 65 new cases of Covid-19, with 58 linked to the February 20 community transmission. The latest cluster cases include nine Vietnamese nationals, five Cambodians, one each from Korea, Singapore and Japan, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total number

  • Cambodia's Covid cluster cases rise to 137

    The Ministry of Health on February 24 recorded 40 more cases of Covid-19, with 38 linked to the February 20 community transmission. Of the 40, two are imported cases involving Chinese passengers. The 38 include two Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total cases

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said

  • PM confirms third Covid-19 community transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on February 20 announced the Kingdom's third outbreak of Covid-19 community transmission after 32 people tested positive in just over 10 hours. Addressing the public from his residence after an emergency meeting, Hun Sen said: "I dub it February 20 Community Event, in which 32 cases

  • Cambodia to make auto-rickshaws

    Locally-assembled electric auto-rickshaws could hit the Cambodian market as soon as early in May after the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) gave the greenlight to an investment project at the weekend. According to a CDC press release, it will issue a final registration