The Americans call themselves smart people. They cherish their ability to beat other people in games they generate, set the rules and conduct on behalf of the world. But why not? The American continent was taken by force by European sailors, it became the new world, the land of opportunity, the American dream in which the individual’s worth is measured by property and material acquisition. Nothing has excited them of late more than their victory in the cold war against Russia, Eastern Europe and China. In 1989 the communist world order finally collapsed and unbridled capitalism finally took over our world with the US dictating the pace.
The American president, Donald Trump, prides himself as a genius. Infact he demonstrated this quality in the last presidential election when he as a billonaire rebuffed all kinds of pretentious niceties and bulldozed his way to the white house. His conduct and success in spite of the insults he hurled at women, the disabled, the catholics and fellow contestants, was proof of the supremacy of materialism over morality. A genius in the American context is the man or woman who effectively exploits the human and material resources around him and becomes the wealthiest or the best beneficiary of the system. President Trump is a classic example of one as he has currently taken over political leadership in the US after making so many billions in his investments both at home and 88 different countries of the world.
Trump had campaigned with the idea of making America first, which simply means doing business with other people but making sure America had the upper hand. Since becoming President, Trump has reviewed virtually all treaties and agreements past presidents had entered into with a view to upping American interests in such deals.
Capitalism in the sense Trump has taken it has no room for the ideological niceties about democracy, the rule of law, fundamental human rights and the conduct of free and fair elections. People come to the table with only business and trade deals. Everybody is advised to mind his home front and not to get a superpower involved. Donald Trump himself does his America First agenda not caring whether it might turn out to be America alone.
Our President Buhari was a guest of the ingenious President Trump yesterday and I saw our country Nigeria fall prey to the supremacist slogan of America First. Trump was on top of his imperialist condescension when he pronounced our president the only man that appears to be redeeming us the image of massive corruption. A former British prime minister, David Cameron had at one time described Nigeria as fantastically corrupt.
Having properly discredited our country but also massaged the ego of the only living saint Buhari, President Trump was then in a good position to introduce his agenda of America First. He rolled out a long shopping list as follows: 1) Nigeria should support the US bid to host the world cup in 2026 so that America would make more money hosting the world. 2) Nigeria should take away all trade barriers against America so that Americans will flood our country with their products including, unbelievably, agricultural products. 3) Nigeria should import US technology in the country in exchange for American import of crude oil from Nigeria.
What is really amazing about this interaction was the fact that the alarm of corruption that was blown by the Nigerian senate after a cash payment of about half a billion dollars by Buhari to the US for the purchase of fighter aircrafts. The ingenious Trump overlooked that, he also must have winked at his earlier description of African countries as shitholes and now describes Nigeria as the most beautiful country in the whole world. What else can a smart guy say after squeezing your half a billion dollars upfront and is confident more of such deals would be struck in a trade imbalance that grossly favours his country?
What then is the benefit of Buhari’s visit to his country men and women? How does the promise of more imports of American products including food items help the economy or curb unemployment in Nigeria? What products did Buhari bring to the table other than oil in its crude form to sell to the US? And why was the Nigerian president with money in hand, so grateful to the US government for agreeing to sell fighter jets to them, when Russia and China have similar or even better technology in that area.
Isn’t that a result of the ingenuity of the American president? Or could this be merely the servitude of third world mentality?