by Julian Glassford
Dear President Trump,
I write to submit a series of suggestions to your incoming administration via the appropriate #MAGA suggestions box. Please consider carefully the approach outlined below: intended to help reinvigorate the United States, as a model of liberty, unity, justice, and prosperity.
Firstly, place investing in measures intended to enhance environmental health and welfare firmly at the centre of any economic stimulus package. Especially prioritise detoxifying and updating America’s water services and infrastructure, and commencing the (inevitable) transition to a low chemical, smog, and ‘electrosmog’ society.
The biological impacts of environmental health hazards, plus widespread pharmaceutical overmedication, have given rise to a host of (silent) health and developmental disorder pandemics. Furthermore, these phenomena are adversely affecting innumerable other life forms, including species (like bees) that we critically rely upon for crop pollination.
Tragically these insidious issues are only just starting to register with the scientific mainstream, thanks to decades of crony capitalist obfuscation. Here, as in other areas, seeing redressive action through will mean remaining steadfast in your willingness to challenge received wisdom and lead without fear or favour.
Secondly, ensure that justice is served across the board, and in relation to the misdemeanours of public servants in particular. In order to abate still more profound deterioration in civil trust, social contract, and community cohesion there must be a root and branch removal of corruption, prejudice, and the undue influence of special interests from public service. Make no mistake, rather than renege on related campaign commitments voters fully expect you to “drain the swamp”.
Relatedly, now would be an opportune moment for a comprehensive review of Western intelligence and security agencies, their role, scale, scope, and accountability. Left to their own devices such shadowy organisations can become slack, compromised, or a law unto themselves – as you recently discovered for yourself. This degrades democracy, upsets international relations, and has the (demonstrated) capacity to catalyse great human suffering.
Thirdly, ensure that economic justice is reinstituted via suitably robust and sustainable targeted progressive reforms. Again, this is a fundamental matter of engendering common purpose and confidence in the system. The status quo is simply unsustainable. Monopolistic iniquity and plutocratic disenfranchisement have become an existential threat to: society (e.g. community tensions/social apartheid), the economy (e.g. hollowed-out domestic demand/tax base erosion), and even to democracy (e.g. revolution/totalitarianism).
Fair-weather fiscal expansionism, dubious deregulation and corporate tax reform, and misdirected/incendiary neo-mercantilism probably aren’t the answer to The Great Disintegration. Such prospective measures may have enlivened the ‘animal spirits’ of commercial beasts but should ultimately promote only a short-lived boost to growth, no more likely to trickle down than current gains. Worse still, the “America first” school of protectionism may be expected to disrupt domestic production and elevate consumer prices (supply chain effects), create industrial imbalance and investor uncertainty, and provoke punitive reciprocal countermeasures.
Tackling the complex web of inequality, together with emolliating the broader, related cultural and political backlash seen across the West, will be no small feat. But, as your predecessor recently affirmed, to duck the responsibility now could prove disastrous.
Fourthly, endeavour to use the USA’s unique position and role in global affairs unambiguously for good: leading with dignity and by example. Populism may be no bad thing in and of itself, indeed it constitutes a democratic counterweight to political elitism, sloppiness, and indifference, but there is a time and a place to play to the gallery. Major cracks have appeared in a liberal international order now wracked with anxious uncertainty, but this is no time for opportunist brinkmanship or intransigence, and deal-based diplomacy also has its limits.
Do not be deterred, however, from injecting healthy pragmatism into international discourse; even among friends. There is little sense in the US carrying NATO indefinitely, or members of said organisation continuing to back the Russian bear into a corner. Probably as well not to yank on the tail of a fire-breathing dragon either, mind you: relations with China must be handled diplomatically, save sparking unnecessary and potentially catastrophic conflagration.
As President Theodore Roosevelt had it, “speak softly and carry a big stick”, but remember also the caution of another great American leader, Eisenhower, concerning the proper purview of the “military-industrial complex”. Strategically and economically important as the defence sector may be, sometimes less is more and, in an increasingly fractionalised, unstable, and unpredictable world, multilateral (nuclear) disarmament should remain a key foreign policy objective.
Ultimately, activity that undermines US values or interests should be challenged, but never at the expense of the kind of even-handed leadership inherently conducive to advancing internationalism, peace, and prosperity. Cogent, respectful and non-combative dialogue, relationship building, and moral and intellectual consistency count for a lot. Please, Sir, try to remember that e.g. the next time you log in to Twitter.
Thank you for reading. I sincerely hope this humble advice gives your team cause for reflection, that it may aid you in the diligent execution of your duties going forward.
May God bless America,
Mr. J. Glassford
Julian Glassford is a UK-based multidisciplinary researcher and social entrepreneur