The Emerging Trump Doctrine

Former Venezuela Presidential Chief of Staff Beatrice Rangel looks at the problems in Syria, North Korea and Venezuela and the recent actions by President Donald Trump.

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Donald Trump has expeditiously gone through what the college freshmen used to call in those pre-Internet days: the lemon bottle.

This stood for the rather bitter discovery that professional success came wrapped in sour cloths as opposed to picture perfect images broadcast by TV networks. To be sure, TV, the baby boomers’ nanny carried great weight on the career vision held by young college students who were avid viewers of series portraying successful lawyers like Perry Mason who managed to effortlessly wrap juries in his argument or medical doctors like Dr. Kildare who seemed to be refractory to crises or detectives like Dick Tracy who always caught the evil doers.

Shopping week was thus the moment when reality took the riders seat and many students grasped the true contours of the road leading to professional success. It was full of bumps, uphill segments, and sacrifices.

This moment of enlightenment has come forward to the young Trump Administration that so far had made every possible effort to stay true to its campaign sound-bites by concentrating solely on the domestic agenda like Woodrow Wilson and like Richard Nixon, who thought America had to retreat from the world and advance a domestic agenda.

But reality seems to be rather stubborn and there are characters like Assad in Syria, Kim Young Um in North Korea, and Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela, who do not seem to understand that their time is up and that Deng Xiaoping is a better role model than Fidel Castro.

These leaders are bent towards breaking whatever international rules there are to maintain international systemic order.

And it so happens that for the US to fully concentrate on its domestic agenda, international rules must be observed.

Even worse, China shares this interest with the U.S., as its leadership is currently concentrating on turning the greatest urbanization process of this century into a success. Meeting that goal would turn the Chinese economy into the world leader as it would house the largest middle class generating the most vibrant aggregate demand.

North Korea thus is not just a distraction but a true national security concern for both China and the U.S.

Syria is a geopolitical distraction to both the U.S. and China due to the Russian involvement in this conflict.

Venezuela, for its part, is a concern for Chinese investments and a national security preoccupation for the US.

Dealing with these challenges demands the partial abandonment of the domestic route to progress and the coordination of both world powers in support of international rules.

Syria already found this out when the U.S. struck the airport used to launch chemical gas attacks.

And for North Korea, there are rules set by the U.N. that will certainly be enforced by both China and the U.S.

As far as Venezuela is concerned, the OAS rules will soon apply. And, in the process, both China and the U.S. will have learned one lesson or two about the road to securing national development. Supreme among those rules reigns that of enforceable international order. Which seems to be the Trump-Xi Doctrine so far.

Published by Latin American Herald Tribune on Wednesday April 19th, 2017.

*The opinions published herein are the sole responsibility of its author.*