Trump lost but is far from gone
Johannes Drooghaag

Editor's note: Johannes Drooghaag is an analyst and strategist for cybersecurity in the Netherlands and author of "The Human Element in Cyber Security." The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

Despite his ongoing nagging about the U.S. elections, it is crystal clear that Donald Trump lost the election. But that does not mean his political influence has come to an end. Far from it!

Trump has issued 195 executive orders to date during his almost four-year term. That puts him at almost one executive order per week. Even after the election, Trump issued another executive order on November 12. Given his hostile approach toward China, it should be no surprise that this executive order is also designed to further harm the economic and political relationships between powers.

As always, being a demonstration of his double standards, this executive order targets companies that work for the Chinese defense industry and prohibits investments in these companies. Imagine this being applied to companies working for the U.S. defense industry. With a whopping $700 billion annual budget, the Pentagon attracts contractors like Boeing, Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics.

Microsoft and Amazon slapped each other with lawsuits to gain the JETI cloud contract. Imagine that all these companies get slapped with sanctions and investment prohibitions.

The World Trade Organization (WTO) does not prohibit companies from working for the defense industry, nor does it prohibit investments in the defense industry. That would be a tough gig for Boeing and others when that would be the case. The WTO also does not provide any framework based on which any country could sanction working for or investing in the defense industry. And that is a good thing for all the Pentagon contractors because otherwise raising capital would become a big challenge.

That is no problem for Trump because, as always, he pushes his hostile agenda toward China. His rapidly dwindling supporter base will, of course, try to argue that this is all part of a brilliant strategy to Make America Great Again. His next move does however question how brilliant this strategy is and if it is even a strategy or just a collection of random impulsive actions from someone who does not understand even basic politics, economics and diplomacy.

On November 25, the Trump administration imposed sanctions on Chinese twist ties. Yes, those fancy little wrappers used to close lunch bags and tie up cables. Not being able to chew further on the old gum of "threat to national security" for twist ties, the Trump administration blames the undervalued Chinese currency for having an allegedly unfair competitive advantage. Something which was not even possible until earlier this year when the Trump administration implemented rules to install sanctions based on currency evaluation against the U.S. dollar.

The White House in Washington, D.C., U.S. /Xinhua

The White House in Washington, D.C., U.S. /Xinhua

Once again, it is a Trump trade policy for which there is no legal foundation within the WTO. The international body lacks currency-related trade policies entirely. However, that did not hinder Trump from implementing these sanctions for something as irrelevant as twist ties. Irrelevant because the entire annual trade volume was just about $4 million last year and almost $7 million the year before that. No, that is not a typo. The trade volume of twist ties was already declining, but that did not stop Trump from implementing another set of draconian sanctions designed to destroy any ties between the U.S. and China. And that after he had already lost the election for a second term.

President-elect Joe Biden will have a busy first 100 days evaluating the executive orders, avalanche of sanctions and legislation implemented during Trump's reign. It has become a tradition that the incoming president of the U.S. overturns his predecessor's executive orders and goes on a difficult journey to overturn legislation that does not match their political agenda.

Trump has demonstrated how complicated this is and that most presidents failed to do so in their first term. During his 2016 election campaign, he boasted about terminating Obamacare "within weeks" and replacing it with something allegedly much better. Four years later and in the "dying hours of his single-term presidency," all attempts to terminate Obamacare have failed.

Biden made a smart move by bringing on legal eagle vice president-elect Kamala Harris on board. Both have longstanding experience as lawmakers and understand how to get things done within the executive branches of the U.S. Some of the legislation will not be that easy to overturn, as the Obamacare case shows.

But none of their experience and even their executive powers will help them undo the damage at the international level. Trump lost, but his influence is far from over. The damage done by Trump at the national and international level will have an impact for at least another decade, and none of that is about Making America Great Again.

What remains is a Trump legacy based on double standards and failed economic policies. America was not made great under Trump. 

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