Ahmed: Trump administration needs to be inclusive, not divisive

Dr. Nasir Ahmed is a professor of Public Administration at Grambling State University. 

In history, we have seen how great nations becomes small – it’s not by other nations’ acts but by a nation’s dysfunctional short-term political, economic and social policies. 

Our American values are a reflection of our internal strength and dignity. No external entities can dictate another nation’s greatness or smallness. It’s primarily a nation’s internal foundational issues. 

However, I don’t want to personalize much about America’s problems by pointing fingers at President Donald Trump. 

Trump is a symptom of bigger problems that America has been facing for the past few decades – particularly since the 1980s.  Of course, all countries are facing a variety of challenges in their own way. But America is exceptional. 

America’s problems affect not only America – they affect the world. Lately, all the reports I am reading gives me an impression that all the talk about 5G and Huawei company is less about security and more about envy and protectiveness as that Chinese company is the most successful company in the world to put 5G into practical usage. 

The Trump administration should encourage American companies to invest in R&D [research and development] to come up with new effective technology with implementable 5G technology. Instead, U.S. companies have been given tax breaks, and they are buying their own stocks to artificially enhance their company’s stock price — hence easy and quick money.  

In the past week, reports have come out that the Trump administration is considering placing an embargo on selling GE’s airplane engines to China based on the assumption that the Chinese will reverse engineer them and steal the technology. Even GE is against this. A county can’t make a sophisticated airplane engine just because they wish to. They have to have sophisticated expertise, logistics and research to do so.  

We can’t maintain our edge by being envious and protective. We have to work and invest in R&D. A country can’t build nuclear bombs and superior technology by copying other projects only. It’s a much bigger project than that. 

Every U.S. administration has its pros and cons. But I have not seen any U.S. administration trying to make America great by making her meaner. Like a person, a nation needs to be big-hearted if it wants to play a big game. 

Trump started his campaign with meanness, nasty comments about fellow Republicans, Hillary Clinton, immigrants and Muslims. After getting elected, he wanted to ban people from countries he did not like. He made many mean comments about his friends and enemies even after becoming president. Lately he has banned more countries (now it is affecting one out of every four immigrants) without any rational basis.

Now with this coronavirus crisis, we are observing America is not as prepared as it is supposed to be. We are ready to criticize other countries right and left for their unpreparedness, whereas, we are not as prepared as we should be — both at the federal and state levels. 

The Trump administration is making lot of tall talk, but the focus and priorities are not people-centric — it’s ‘me’-centric. 

Of course, we should not forget 10 percent of our population do not have any health insurance, and those having insurance are being short-changed in so many ways at every turn. This crisis is legitimizing the fact that it’s high time for America to introduce universal health care like all other advanced countries.

The world is changing and will continue to change, whether we like it or not. The world was Euro-centric for centuries — then America-centric, and the future may be Asia-centric. These cycles do not happen suddenly. History evolves in a certain manner, and we have to perform the right acts — to make sure we can participate in these changes in a meaningful manner. 

It looks like Trump wants to be great by threats, hatred, tricks, and by any means. Keep in mind that if you use mean methods to become great, you end up becoming mean anyway – that’s the law of nature. You can’t hide your meanness. People are not that stupid – they are well educated and well informed around the world. 

Unfortunately, Trump is reminding us of the mean chapters in our history. Slavery, racism, Jim Crow laws, restricting immigrants of color, restricting voting rights for African Americans, interning Japanese Americans during WWII, etc.  He wants to bring the mean chapters of America to the forefront and take us back to Old America. 

America and Americans are better than that. Wake up, Mr. President!