Donald Trump is full of ideas, but all his ideas are sadly full of it. This billionaire-turned-US politician has called China “the number one abuser” because it takes advantage of the United States through currency manipulation. He wants to build walls on the US-Mexico border to keep out illegal immigrants, because they “rape and murder babies”. Most recently, he floated the ludicrous idea of requiring Muslim-Americans to carry special identification cards that note their faith. No need to go any further to know that this man has lost his mind, if he had any to begin with.
The Republican Party candidate for the US presidential race certainly isn't familiar with the Golden Rule, which was introduced by Confucius centuries ago: Do unto others what you want done unto you. What if others do to the United States what Trump wants done to them? Let's say, China decides not to trade with the United States and withdraws USD 1.26 trillion it has lent to that country plus USD143 billion owed to Hong Kong. Let's say, illegal immigrants no longer consider the United States as their dream destination. What if the Muslim countries are going to ask the Americans on their soils to carry some kind of identification card or mark on them?
Not that these tits for tats are going to happen, but let's think wishfully to counter Trump's wishful thinking. It will significantly hurt Chinese exports because the United States is a big market for them. The illegal immigrants will face economic hardship and political repression if sent back to their countries of origin. The same thing goes for the Muslims, who arrive in the United States for the same reasons as anybody else.
But will the United States also not feel the pinch? As of 2013, over 40 million foreign-born representing 13 percent of the population resided in the United States. The size of the Muslim population is even smaller: 2.11 percent of the US population as of 2014. All of the employment growth over the last 13 years went to immigrants even though the native-born accounted for two-thirds of the growth in the working age population. The United States needs a steady flow of immigrants to keep its economy running.
What about China? In 2014, 20.2 percent of total USA imports came from there, higher than any other country. A 2012 estimate shows that 95 percent of American flags imported to the US for the 4th of July celebration came from China. The same year, 96 percent of fireworks imported were also from that country.
Things may never come to a head just because Donald Trump is thinking funny. But his thoughts give us a view of his constipated mind where the big picture is terribly distorted. It's so distorted that he can't even see the obvious, which is why he is asking for a database for the Muslims living in the United States.
There are many ways to tell Muslims from others. Their names are the first hint. A Mohammad or an Ahmed or a Khan gives away their identity as assuredly as fingerprints give away criminals. Then women wear hijabs. Men wear caps and grow beards. They eat halal food and go to the mosques.
Despite these telltale signs, Trump needs a poke in the eye. He needs a database to identify the Muslims. Why does he need it in the first place? How is it going to prevent terrorist attacks knowing which Americans are Muslims or which Muslims are Americans? The United States already has the surveillance in place to eavesdrop on phone calls, scrutinise emails, and track down suspects. Besides, it has been proven time and again that the terrorists are adept at falsifying identity using fake documents.
Of course, everything Donald Trump contemplates comes from his business sense whereby the variables are adjusted to make more money. But leading the most powerful nation isn't exactly a business proposition and his parochial mind is bogged down by messianic delusions. He wants to become the leader of the free world by isolating his country. Propping up walls, targeting minorities and blaming other nations for comparative advantage in trade only confirm that he is erecting trees to hide the forest.
Last week, Fox News grilled Donald Trump for using phony statistics. He mentioned in a tweet that African-Americans killed 81 percent of white people although FBI's 2014 crime data shows white people committed 82 percent of murders involving white victims. When an exasperated Trump asked, “Am I gonna check every statistic?” Bill O'Reilly of Fox News insisted, “You have got to, you are a presidential candidate.”
Donald Trump's ideas represent the worldview of someone who doesn't know the world. Even worse, his candidacy for US presidency represents the fantasy of someone who surely doesn't know that office.
The writer is the Editor of weekly First News and is an opinion writer for The Daily Star.