The long-awaited day has come. From today onward, Donald Trump will be taking over the U.S. presidency from Barack Obama. However we look at it, U.S. political life has been especially colorful since the day Trump was elected president.
Trump’s personality, political rhetoric, style and the composition of the cabinet he has created have been vehemently criticized by the Washington elite and their extensions in the media. Obama was also involved in this criticism campaign. What’s more, in a manner that has never been seen before in American political history, Obama stated that they would “continue their struggle” against Trump before Trump had even taken over the presidency.
It appears that the indigestion felt toward Donald Trump will take on the form of resistance once he gets inaugurated. After every step Trump takes toward erasing Obama’s legacy, he will undoubtedly be faced with massive criticism. Trump will have to expend an enormous amount of effort and struggle very hard to pull American media to his side. Furthermore, since the media will be one of the main forts of the struggle that Obama talked about, Trump’s job will certainly not be easy.
The media extensions of the traditional Washington elite are very powerful. The big media institutions in the U.S. clearly supported Hillary Clinton. In truth, they did not just support Clinton but also horrendously demonized Trump. American media institutions, CNN foremost among them, continued with this behavior after Trump had been elected president.
In the upcoming period, we will see American media becoming even more politicized to establish a political block facing Trump. In Turkey, we have seen how the extreme politicization of the media can change it into a chronic point of opposition and that in essence this has nothing to do with public interest. What happens is that the media becomes part of the administrative power struggle, plain and simple.
In my opinion, American media will continue its politics of demonizing Trump via certain headings. The first will be through presenting Trump as a corrupt personality. At every opportunity, it will try to wear away at Trump by taking sections from his personal life. Second, it will broadcast material implying that Trump has complicated “outside connections” and that these connections function against the interests of the U.S. The allegation that Russia meddled in the elections in favor of Trump will constantly be mentioned. Thirdly, it will be alleged that Trump considers a part of American society as his enemy and that he will create policies against them. In this way, “divided society” will be an expression we frequently hear about the U.S. in the upcoming period.
These discursive attacks I have mentioned are not because media is a “fourth power” that checks politics, but rather because it is an actual side in the administrative power struggle. The most likely development that will occur in this process is that Trump will attempt to create a media environment that supports him and thus balances the broadcast companies that he has termed “dishonest media.”
While on one hand, Trump will continue with his “administrative struggle,” he will also attempt to actualize dramatic changes in American foreign policy. Trump will try to create serious changes in policies toward China, Russia, the European Union and Iran. At this point, it is likely that Trump will follow a foreign policy line that prioritizes the Asia-Pacific. No matter how much Trump refers to the principles of “bargaining,” “negotiations” and “deterrence,” it is quite clear that serious challenges await. In fact, the potential that Trump might follow a policy that could limit China’s access to the South China Seas has already perturbed China. China clearly and explicitly indicates that this situation will create conflict with the U.S.
Moreover, despite Trump’s attempts to pull Russia to his side, the increasing pressure of the Ukraine crisis on Europe will make Trump’s job harder. There is no reason for Russian President Putin to not continue his policy of pressuring Europe with new instruments. Europe has nothing it can use against this except for the symbol of NATO, which Trump has called useless.
Iran, which Trump regards as a clear enemy, has entered the international system thanks to Obama and has become a country developing important relations with the West. Having consolidated its power for more than 30 years and become stronger, containing Iran will not be easy in the new period.
Because Trump will see these challenges, instead of opening up new fronts, he will speed up the process of cajoling the “traditional allies” that Obama offended. But no matter what, Trump’s presidency will be a development that brings about important changes in global politics.
[Daily Sabah, January 21, 2017]