World

Apr 10, 2018

On the paradox of American power, and Trump’s next move

Syria and the state of the US' economy represent two key challenges for Trump in the short term. If only the president had any power to address such things ...

Guy Rundle — Correspondent-at-large

Guy Rundle

Correspondent-at-large

The Trump cheer squad in Australia has gone very quiet ... that’s a phrase I’ll be setting up a shortcut for. A few weeks ago, the Republicans were hammered in a special House election in Pennsylvania’s 18th, a district Trump won by 20 points. Now the Congressional Budget Office has announced that the US budget deficit will hit one trillion dollars annually before the end of Trump’s term. No huge disaster per se, but it is terrible PR for a party that ran on notions of US economic collapse from public debt.

Trump’s second challenge is in foreign affairs. The chemical attack on Douma in Syria has come with a strong whiff of Groundhog Day -- along with the gas. The attack is atrocious, but so too are conventional attacks. Focusing on gas attacks is an excuse to flash US power. With Dubya-era hawk John Bolton returned as national security adviser, the last vestiges of non-intervention and isolationism have left the building.

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