While Rome Burns, Trump Gets What He’s Always Wanted | Common Dreams Views
Now, he’s labelled Covid-19 the “Chinese virus,” using that label to escalate tensions with China (and provoke a xenophobic backlash here at home). He recently mentioned a friendly hour-long conversation with that country’s president, Xi Jinping, about combatting the virus. But while reportedly preparing temporary relief when it comes to tariffs generally, Chinese imports are expected to be exempted from the proposed pause in payments.
So, too, the virus has been used to escalate tensions with Iran. Trump had already increased the drumbeat to war with that country by ordering the drone assassination of Iranian Major General Qasem Soleimani in Iraq, leading to retaliatory missile strikes on U.S. military bases in that country. Congress then passed a law aimed at preventing the president from further attacks on Iran without its approval. Nevertheless, in the early days of the devastating spread of the pandemic in Iran, the Trump administration launched several attacks on pro-Iranian militias in Iraq and continued to uphold its economic sanctions on Iran itself. And there are reports of more to come from his administration.
4. Isolationism: Since the onset of his presidency, Trump has sought to separate the U.S. from allies and diminish its participation in international treaties and agreements of all sorts. He, for instance, withdrew from the nuclear agreement with Iran and announced his intention to pull the United States out of the Paris climate accord. As if to put a fine point on his disapproval of global engagement, there has also been a wholesale reduction in the size of the State Department in his years in office. A hiring freeze from the spring of 2017 to the spring of 2018 was reinforced by recommendations from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his successor, Mike Pompeo, which reduced the State Department’s operating budget by one-third, while many key ambassadorships went unfilled. Today, 13% of them remain vacant.