Young Diplomats had the opportunity to enter the conference organized by the Campus Eiffel in Paris to meet Sir Thomas Snégaroff, reporter for France Info and specialist of the United States. Here is what we have learned from the event.
The world in a Post-factual era
For the first time, we saw America in a new relation with the world through the recent elections. Trump didn´t hesitate to show a strong disagreement towards his co-candidate Pence. Indeed, he argued with him about the Syria campaign: “I disagree with Mike Pence on Russian involvement in” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4juHTUZpSpU
It is the first time that such a fact happens between two co-candidates, who normally show perfect coherence in the campaign. Moreover, Trump showed that facts aren´t relevant any more. There are only opinions: everyone can say what he wants and challenge everything.
This is why Trump made his campaign: a campaign against the media, which are bringing facts. Once facts are compared and evaluated as opinions, everything can be discussed and challenged.
Fast-checking was never as high as today. It brings us into a post-factual era: each word pronounced by a politician is directly checked, but we don´t hear about facts and no debate is emerging: we only hear opinions.
Elections hoaxes spread through the web were shared 8,7 million times, whereas good, relevant information was shared only 7,3 million times, which lead us to strengthen our beliefs, even when these beliefs are false.
A democratic crisis
Imagine abstention as a candidate; let´s say Mr. Abstention would present himself as a potential candidate for the White House. In November 2016, he would have won exactly 46 States and become the successor of Barack Obama. Here America is clearly facing a democratic problem, many Americans are not even interested in the elections and don´t feel represented by both candidates Clinton or Trump.
Trump elected by Obama´s haters
In this context of high abstention, let us now analyze where Trump got his votes from. In 2008, Barack Obama was elected president, but he never had a high popularity quote such as president Bill Clinton for example. Barack Obama´s popularity never exceeded 60%, even after the death of Bin Laden in May 2011. For comparison, president Bush had 91% after declaring war on November, 12th 2001.
So America was not fully behind Obama, even though he had a great image in Europe and in many other countries. That´s where Trump built his strategy for the elections: fighting against Obama first, then against Hillary. To achieve this purpose, Trump brought his theory, his opinion: Barack Obama has not the right to be president. He is not American and was born in another country: “Show me the birth certificate!” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Blckpwk1voQ (Here the reaction of Obama, brilliant: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8TwRmX6zs4)
Trump achieved to question the presidential election and Americans even doubt about the fact that Obama was American. Here we distinguish an America that fears the other and another America that trusts his country. Nevertheless, populism is growing, all over the world. And some people with different origins fear losing their nationality.
What about the America of tomorrow?
Well, if we consider Trump will apply his economic program, America will have a race to the bottom. Trump promised protectionism and to elevate prices on Chinese products by 35%. This is totally non sense as American will have to pay more than they do now. The IPhone is produced in China, the USA have a deficit of 250 billion dollars towards China. And last but not least, the United States are only producing 9% of the goods they consume.
Moreover, an investment plan of 1000 billion dollars while dropping taxes and increasing military expenses is of course impossible.
Trump would also withdraw the US from the Paris agreement Cop 21. Even China wouldn´t take this decision and escape from innovation and a promising market. On the other side, coal hasn´t any future. Trump acts as a businessman, he sees America is not going well and wants to find a solution only for the short term. A state president first thinks about the future and that is the long term perspective of his country.