We have a Trump problem, not a “Muslim problem”

You ask him a question about “the Muslim problem” and you can expect him to agree that it is a concerning issue for the United States. Mention the current president, and instead of meaningful policy criticisms, he wants to talk about birth certificates. Donald Trump is the caricature of all that is wrong with white America right now, and somehow he’s allowed to run for President. No one seems to care about the manifest absurdity in his claims as he continues to poll the highest among all GOP presidential candidates.

He makes outrageous policy recommendations: building a fence across the border with Mexico to keep out immigrants (props to Jorge Ramos for pointing out that most Mexican immigrants arrive via air and then overstay their visas, so that building a fence is ridiculous) or cutting taxes for the uber wealthy. All of these ideas scare me — because they envision an America that yearns to return to a “greatness” that comes at the expense of others. The greatness that Trump wants to return America to was one punctuated by unabated exceptionalism and assertiveness that is anachronous in the modern world. But what is perhaps mind numbingly terrifying is the Donald’s lack of schooling when it comes to foreign policy issues. As the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly is underway, it becomes even more apparent that America still has some very important decisions to make about the fate of the world. It is going to be all the more troubling if a pageant-owning hyper capitalist is making the bulk of them.

In a recent radio interview with Hugh Hewitt, Trump went on to say that Pakistan is one of the biggest threats to the United States because of its nuclear weapons stockpile. He compared Pakistan to North Korea, reassuring listeners that India was America’s trump card (pun not intended) as far as keeping Pakistan in check is concerned. As a Pakistani, I find these assertions absurd: not only because they feed into traditional inflammatory rhetoric that perpetuates the pointless India-Pakistan rivalry, but because they convey an almost egregious lack of information.

But because I’m no expert on Pakistan’s nuclear program, I think it would be futile for me to make an argument about the safety of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. For the sake of simplicity however, let’s just agree that if Pakistan’s nukes were lying around in obvious and conspicuous places, we would have heard about it somewhere and someone would have done something about it. To suggest that India should step up and “deal with the Pakistan problem” hints at an ignorance that runs deeper than just not knowing the facts. The colonial hangover that is the India-Pakistan antagonism has finally started to show signs of fade over the past few years. The United States is expected at this time to assist the two countries in making progress towards a more secure and stable South Asia. It’s gravely offensive to those on both sides of the India-Pakistan border who continue to toil to improve relations when the US presidential frontrunner says such harebrained things. And even though most people in both India and Pakistan will not take the comments seriously, it is agitating to know that there are people in US politics who view such a complex and multidimensional situation through this contorted a lens.

Even if Donald Trump is the Steve Jobs-esque reformer that his supporters make him out to be and the champion of the American middle class (he is none of those things) – it is beyond absurd to suggest that a man who says the things he says makes a good fit for the Presidency. Someone as brash, disrespectful, entitled and ill-informed shouldn’t be let into bars, let alone the presidential race.

I think Trump’s provocations and absurdity are all a part of a bigger scheme to sell some new reality TV show once he inevitably drops out of the presidential race as Americans all over start acknowledging the horror that is this man’s vision for America. He is one of many in the crop of ostentatious Americans who want to use the platform politics provides to sell more of their things. The amount of damage he continues to inflict before the inevitable fallout however, is the worrying bit. If only Brandon Stanton had a summer home in Pakistan, this debacle would not have even existed.

 

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