Why did you allow the election of Donald Trump, an exhaustive analysis.

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Why did you allow the election of Donald Trump?     A real earthquake rocked the United States on November 8, 2016: the US election awarded victory to Republican candidate Donald Trump, foiling all polls that predicted the success of Hillary Clinton. Nearly two years later, this analysis attempts to identify a series of explanatory factors to understand this turning point in American politics and the international economic scene.

Even if Hillary Clinton obtains a higher overall score, the particular electoral system in the United States favors the mandate of high-ranking voters from the various states of the Union. Widely acclaimed in the central regions of the country, the billionaire of New York was able, thanks to that, to beat his rival and become the 45th president of the United States.

Commenting on these results, analysts immediately pointed to the populist speech of the Republican candidate who seduced a mass of employees, usually white, who consider themselves "left behind" globalization. His anti-immigration, protection of the American market, wanting to restore the greatness of the United States have hit the ground in countries where relocations and closures of factories were numerous, thus degrading the living conditions of millions of workers. For her part, Hillary Clinton was accused of representing this openness to foreign competition that destroys jobs and does not bring prosperity to all Americans. She was rightly seen as the spokesperson for the hated establishment of Wall Street 1 and Washington.

The supporters of Donald Trump did not wonder if behind the rhetoric there were no other issues, more obscure and directly related to the interests of the American ruling class. Indeed, here is a man from a wealthy family who acquires his fortune in the New York real estate market, then squanders it in pharaonic projects and finally regains it thanks to the commodification of his name, relayed by a show popular TV show 2 that makes it known across the country. How could this character in search of success in business and the media be the one who would carry the aspirations of millions of citizens left behind by capitalist globalization?

 Financing candidates   Even though the bulk of business and private fund grants to candidates went to Hillary Clinton (as shown in Table 1), Donald Trump also represents the interests of the American elite, but in another way.

Table 1 shows the total payments made to the various contenders for the presidency, including the primaries (in the Democratic and Republican camps).

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Table 1. Amounts Received by the Different Candidates for the 2016 US Presidential Election (in dollars)   We see that in this result, Hillary Clinton obtained 43.5% of the sums allotted, while Donald Trump only received 11.5%, barely more than his competitor of the Republican party, Jeb Bush, son of President George HW Bush and Brother George Jr.

If we use the global data of the organization OpenSecrets.org, we realize that the total amount received by the candidates in this election reaches the billion and a half dollars. Hillary Clinton collected 564 million and Trump 333 million 4. The advantage is clearly in the democratic camp.

But if we calculate on all pretenders, we see that payments are much more divided, Republicans pocketing 50.8% of the total against 48.6% for Democrats.

By also detailing these funds by sector, we see that Donald Trump receives more money from agribusiness, the arms industry, gaming and oil. And Republicans are largely beating Democrats in the construction, real estate, energy and transportation sectors. The support of the Democrats and Hillary Clinton is mainly in electronics, health care, law firms, unions and cultural affairs 5.

Thus, if there was a clear preference on the part of American elites to continue the direction of the administration of Barack Obama, some branches (and therefore their leaders) have openly funded the path of change. Why ?

Clashes and woes of American hegemony   At the end of the Second World War, the United States is the only power of the capitalist world. Europe and Japan are destroyed by bombing. They can not claim any important place in the new order, especially as Germany and the Japanese archipelago are in the camp of the vanquished. Alone in front of this quasi-omnipotence stands a socialist campled by the USSR and where China, then North Korea and North Vietnam come first. At this point, the United States provides half of the world's GDP.

Little by little, Europe and Japan are recovering. Washington is then obsessed by the plan to prohibit the socialist camp to expand. It sets up military alliances around the "Soviet" bloc (like NATO 6), as well as economic zones oriented towards the free market (like the European Economic Community, ancestor of the European Union). In this context, it fosters the emergence of European and Japanese industrial and financial giants capable of competing with American multinationals.

At the same time, countries that have joined the socialist orientation are developing. The USSR becomes the second largest economic power in the world. China is coming out of its continuous impoverishment since the 19th century.

Under these conditions, the United States only represent 27% of world GDP in the 60s. And this share will continue to slip slightly.

The crisis of 1973 plunges the American economy a little more in the turmoil. Especially since, at the same time, the White House is facing major political setbacks: in 1960, in Cuba, the privileged island of the fortunate Americans who spent an idyllic holiday, revolutionaries overthrow the dictator Batista; "Communism" settles some 180 km off the coast of Florida; in 1975, Indochina celebrated its real independence by getting rid of the last pro-American regimes in the region; in 1979, an Islamist revolution chased the shah of Iran, a great ally of Washington. At the same time, the president Richard Nixon must resign for a affair of wiretapping wiretaps 7.

In the 1970s, the Soviet countries, which China has subtracted, are experiencing their first economic difficulties that will lead to their collapse fifteen years later. On the other hand, Beijing is getting rid of the political wing advocating the ideological struggle to excess. The Communist Party is moving towards unprecedented economic development in history, gradually opening the territory to foreign investment.

As a result, the balance of power between nations changes little by little. This is shown in Figure 1.

It compares the real GDP evolution of the main states or regions against the United States. To do this, we have established for each year that they are at the value 100 and we observe at what level the others are placed. A rise in the curve therefore means an economic improvement over the United States, a decline means a deterioration compared to the United States.

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Chart 1. Evolution of real GDP of the European Union, China and Japan compared to the United States 1960-2016 (USA = 100)   Notes: The United States is each year at the value 100. Real GDP is the annual market and monetary output of countries, but eliminating the influence of rising prices or inflation.

As a first step, the European countries and Japan are progressing. Europe rose from 134% in 1960 to 146% in 1974, its relative maximum. The Japanese archipelago is experiencing an even more spectacular rise: from 26% in 1960, it climbed to 53% in 1991.

For its part, China, drowning in ideological debates that necessarily affect growth, progressed slowly until the late 1970s. Then, growth is overdriven: from 4% in 1977, it reaches 56% in 2016. Parallel , the European Union and Japan are beginning to stagnate, losing some of the gains made in previous years.

In 1989 with the fall of the Berlin Wall and in 1991 with the collapse of the USSR, Washington thinks it has definitely won the game against its socialist opponent. Reagan administration official Francis Fukuyama announces the end of the story 8. Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer states that the world knows the unipolar moment, when a single power, the United States, dominates the planet 9. To show the cost to the state, who dares to question this supremacy, President George H. W. Bush declares war on Iraq, which has just invaded Kuwait.

He announces the advent of a "new international order". No one on the UN Council [10] dares to challenge this step.

But, quickly, the problems pile up for the American empire. Crises occur at a rapid pace and the White House is unable to provide adequate solutions. Each time, the Federal Reserve, the US central bank, floods liquidity US players, even foreign states facing balance of payments difficulties: Mexico in 1995, Thailand, Indonesia and South Korea in 1997 , Brazil in 1998.   How to manage hegemony?   Most American analystsThey know that this situation where the United States dominates the planet is momentary, that it will not last forever. It is anomalous that large countries such as India, China, Brazil, Indonesia do not take a larger share of world production, a proportion more in line with their demographic weight. But it is necessary both to prolong this privileged period and to set up the institutions that will allow the future prosperity of American multinationals.

But in the 1970s, competitiveness problems appeared among American companies.

In a number of traditional sectors, the superiority of the United States is being undermined. In 1989, a team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) made an edifying statement for a number of fundamental industries it analyzes: US firms do not resist competition from foreign companies, mainly Japanese, who are attacking from below range and then gradually climb; they agree to abandon the lowest level, because there is little profit, but especially volume; but, thanks to this, the Japanese companies go to the assault of the more profitable domains; There are only two possibilities left for American companies: to close their doors or to move to a third world country, or to supply them for parts of the production chain that have become non-lucrative. MIT is studying in detail automotive manufacturing, the chemical sector, civil aviation, consumer electronics, machine tools, semiconductors, computer production, photocopiers and the textile industry [11].

The Reagan administration will react essentially in two branches, the automobile and the semiconductors. In the first, it will impose "voluntary" quotas for imports from the archipelago. This will slow down the Japanese progression, but not stop it. Toyota, Nissan, Honda and others will set up factories in the United States and continue their progression towards the dominance of the sector. For processors, the White House will obtain a reciprocal agreement with Japan, guaranteeing US firms 20% of the Japanese market.

For the rest, nothing will be decided. In areas such as the production of radios, televisions, CD players, PCs, cameras, toys, clothes, the country will produce almost nothing and will depend on foreign material, developed cheaply.

But these relocations will improve the profitability and competitiveness of companies remaining at the forefront of the global economy, ExxonMobil, General Electric, Coca-Cola, Caterpillar, Microsoft, IBM, Apple, Intel, Oracle, Dell, Walmart and then gradually Google (Alphabet), Facebook, Amazon, Yahoo ... Indeed, thanks to this new situation, employees can buy a whole range of products at a lower cost, especially their clothes and household appliances. Under these conditions, their earnings may remain lower and thus benefit these giants who continue to thrive, make bountiful profits and pay disproportionate dividends to their shareholders.

The downside is that you have to import all those products that are no longer made in the United States. Therefore, the trade balance becomes more and more negative and this is not the only effect of oil that must be brought from Mexico, Venezuela or Saudi Arabia. Chart 2 clearly shows the plummeting external accounts of merchandise trade.

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Chart 2. Evolution of the US trade balance relative to GDP 1960-2017 (in%)

Source: Calculations based on Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. International Transactions, Balance of Payments.   Until 1976, the trade balance is in surplus or close to zero. Then, it is a constant fall, with periods of punctual improvement. Since the 2007 crisis, the situation has been recovering somewhat, mainly because over-indebted households are reducing their consumption proportionally and thus reducing the purchase of imported products.

The counterpart of this situation is the obligation to have an influx of capital that compensates for the deterioration of the trade balance. In terms of balance of payments, when international trade is in deficit, there are not many solutions: the export of services must compensate; but when the trade deficit reaches 6% of GDP (as in 2005 and 2006), this is rarely enough; it is then necessary to import capital of the same order of magnitude, in the form of credits, investments or stock market investments; if that does not work, the last possibility is the devaluation of the currency. This solution would have catastrophic consequences for the global economy, since a good deal of international business is denominated inollars.

Chart 3 indicates that the natural choice was the arrival of capital needed to offset the trade deficit and avoid the fall of the US dollar.

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Chart 3. Evolution of the capital balance relative to US GDP 1960-2016 (in%)   Note: The capital balance presents a positive inflow of capital (credits, investments or investments) and negatively the exit of such capital. The balance is the balance between what comes in and what goes out.

Diagram 3 is the exact opposite of the previous one. The capital injection compensates for the trade deficit. Until 2006, it is the foreign investments on the American stock exchanges which increase massively. But the subprime crisis [12] causes a crash on Wall Street and NASDAQ [13]. In these conditions, foreign investors lose confidence in the US economy. It is then the central banks (China, Japan, Saudi Arabia ...) that buy treasury bills and that prevent the United States external accounts from causing an even more terrible explosion.

The recession of 2007 has shown the fragile situation in which Washington (and New York) is located and its increased dependence on other states. If they decide not to intervene, they certainly cause a global economic cataclysm, but they also cause the ruin of the US economy. We are far from the absolute supremacy shown by the conservative elite in the early 1990s, the fall of the Soviet system.

How, under these conditions, can we continue to ensure American hegemony? The ruling class across the Atlantic is divided. In general, Democrats [14] believe that economic strength must be restored and more American citizens should benefit. We can continue the path of free trade that allows leading multinationals to sell all over the world and reap tremendous profits. But social redistribution mechanisms must also be devised to avoid an excessive gap in wealth between people, which could lead to undesirable social conflicts.

On the contrary, the majority of Republicans think that the social situation is not a priority. Above all, it is necessary to support economic development with a military potential that can drive back foreign competitors and that can provide security protection to smaller countries.

In this way, since the 1980s, Republican presidents have greatly increased the public debt. They want to increase the military budget by limiting social spending. But this decline is more difficult to obtain because there is resistance from workers, citizens and civil servants.

As a result, budget deficits are accumulating and public debt is climbing.

On the other hand, the democratic presidents try to constrain this debt. They moderate the expenses by attacking in particular what the Department of Defense receives. Chart 4 presents this situation.

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Chart 4. US Department of Defense Official Spending Trend Relative to US 1950-2017 GDP (%)

Sources: Bureau of Economic Analysis, GDP and the National Income and Product Account (NIPA) Historical Tables for GDP and Office of Management and Budget, Historical Tables, Table 3.1. Outlays by Superfunction and Function: 1940-2023: https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/hist03z1-fy2019.xlsx, for Department of Defense Expenditures

There is a general downward trend as the United States does not face aggression. Military spending increased in proportion to GDP with the Korean War in the early 1950s and then with Vietnam in the late 1960s.

Then the budget rises with Ronald Reagan's star wars (Star Wars), to fall back to the lowest with Bill Clinton. Once again, it is going up again with operations in Afghanistan, then in Iraq. Finally, Barack Obama restricts military spending to the chagrin of Republicans.

The rise of the extreme right   In order to follow the evolution of the ideas, we have drawn up a table (Table 2) showing all the American presidents, with their political color, since the Second World War.

enter image description here   Table 2. List of Presidents of the United States since 1945

Truman takes over the government following the death of Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson after the assassination of John Kennedy and Gerald Ford after the resignation of Richard Nixon following the Watergate.

Two parties share the presidencies: Republicans and Democrats. Initially, the differences are quite small and fluctuating. Abraham Lincoln, who abolishes the escwash after the American Civil War (1861-1865), is Republican. Franklin Roosevelt, who sets up the New Deal to face the great crisis of the 1930s, is a democrat.

But, gradually, after the Second World War, the conservative forces take possession of the republican party. Strangely, this is linked to a decision made during the presidency of Lyndon Johnson, but prepared during the tenure of John Kennedy; the adoption in 1965 of the Voting Rights Act [15], that is, non-discrimination in elections.

But at this time, Democrats have a strong influence in the southern states of the United States, formerly slavers. To give African Americans the right to vote and to be elected was not to please some of them. Notably Scoop Jackson and Pat Moynihan oppose this new path. The first recruits assistants who will be of paramount importance in American politics: Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Doug Feith and Frank Gaffney. Democrats with a retrograde, militaristic view will later become the group of neoconservatives.

This group will bring to the right new ideological conceptions that will shape the debates in the mid-1970s. In particular, he created the Coalition for a Democratic Majority (CDM) [16] in December 1972. Inspired by the theses of the Former President (Democrat) Woodrow Wilson, who gave birth in 1919 to the League of Nations, he develops a very particular vision: "Five main aspects appear in the neoconservative vision of the CDM: the defense of democracy; human rights ; the assertion of American military power; support for Israel; finally, distance from the UN multilateral system "[17]. These are recurring themes that the extreme right will take over.

Another event will shape the ideological spectrum of the United States: the unsuccessful candidacy of Barry Goldwater in the 1964 presidential election against Lyndon Johnson. It is the first to openly defend positions of extreme right, anti-union and anti-communist. But it fails totally. Conservative forces analyze this defeat and conclude that they need to be more structured. In the 1970s, thanks to the help of financial reactionaries, they created organizations, foundations, research centers, where they refine their arguments. Thus, the American Enterprise Institute, founded in 1943, took off from 1971. The Heritage Foundation appeared in 1973. The Cato Institute, libertarian think tank, arose in 1974. It is these institutions that, with the rise of the evangelists , will allow the arrival of Ronald Reagan to power. Many Democrats, from the ranks of Scoop Jackson's aides and advisers, and Pat Moynihan, join the Republican team.

In 1981, all this small world meets in a large convention, the Council for National Policy (CNP) [18], which wants to both lead the conservative movement and compete or even take the place of the Council of Foreign Relations (CFR) [19], which brings together the American establishment to discuss and define the country's foreign policy. This last project will not take. From now on, the NPC meets behind closed doors and the names of its members are not revealed. Nevertheless, the New York Times calls it "the little-known club of a few hundred of the country's most powerful conservatives" [20].

But the Reagan presidency disappoints the most intransigent of the current, especially when with the perestroika launched from 1985 by Mikhael Gorbachev, the United States renews "friendly" contacts with the USSR. Thus, a former Scoop Jackson assistant and senior Pentagon official [21] from 1983 to 1987, Frank Gaffney, was removed from office by Defense Secretary Frank Carlucci.

He creates the Center for Security Policy (CSP) [22] the following year. The words of this body are not in the lace: it immediately denounces peace agreements between the USSR and the United States. Subsequently, the CSP will stand out for the propagation of conspiracy theories arguing that Islam would dominate the planet, accusing even Barack Obama of being a Muslim who would fool his world as well as Hitler had deceived the French and the British in Munich in 1938 [23]. Note also that Doug Feith is a founding member of CSP. He will even be the chairman of the board. [24]

During the 1990s, the Conservatives did not fray. They accuse George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton's presidencies of being too soft and not facing the emerging dangers on the planet: terrorism, Iraq, China. They decide to regain control, with the help of Newt Gingrich, the new Speaker of the House from 1995 to 1999 [25]. They are conducting ideological and procedural guerrilla warfare against the Clinton administration, whosefamous case Monica Lewinsky [26].

In 1995, the CIA [27] published a memo stating that the terrorist threat against the United States is "unlikely". The Conservatives are engaged in a fierce battle to change these words to "possibly possible" and thus to create a climate of fear in which they can prosper. It is in this context that two ultra-conservative ideologues, William Kristol [28] and Robert Kagan, founded in 1997 the PNAC or Project for the New American Century ("Project for a New American Century") [29]. It wants to make the 21st century an era of American hegemony as was the twentieth century (according to its promoters).

In a book on politics that should be conducted at the dawn of the twenty-first century, the two doctrinaires write: "The task for the United States in the early 1990s should have been obvious. It was prolonging this extraordinary moment (from the Cold War - ed) and protecting the international system from any threat that might challenge it. This meant, above all, preserving and strengthening the benevolent global hegemony of the United States, which underpinned what President George Bush rightly called a "new world order". The goal of American foreign policy should have been to transform what Charles Krauthammer called a "unipolar moment" into a unipolar era. " [30]

Alongside the two intellectuals, among the signatories to the PNAC's founding charter are Dick Cheney, Lewis Libby, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Francis Fukuyama, the author of the "End of History", Jeb Bush and Frank Gaffney. But it is they who will compose the new American administration of George Bush Jr. in 2001, after disputed elections. [31] Dick Cheney will be the powerful Vice President [32], Lewis Libby will be his advisor, Donald Rumsfeld will be the Secretary of Defense, Paul Wolfowitz, his under-secretary, and Doug Feith, then at the CSP, will be the undersecretary to Defense Policy, number three of the Pentagon.

One of the first objectives of the PNAC was to continue the war in Iraq and to get rid of Saddam Hussein definitively [33]. When Doug Feith took the oath before Congress to take office in May 2001, he expressed his willingness to continue the conflict in Mesopotamia. This will surprise and disturb a Democratic parliamentarian, but Republicans can impose their choice and the Conservative will be accepted.

Since the attacks of September 11, the Department of Defense proposes to attack Baghdad in retaliation. It is Secretary of State Colin Powell who will divert the government from this goal by pinning Afghanistan instead. But the Iraqi obsession will persevere and - irony of history - the conservatives will impose on Colin Powell to defend the attack against Saddam Hussein at the UN, from "evidence" that today everyone knows false and false.

In September 2001, the Ministry of Defense will present the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), which as its name suggests defines for four years US military policy. It is produced by the Deputy Secretary of Defense Policy, that is, Doug Feith. He will repeat the themes put forward by the PNAC: the United States must remain the global hegemonic power for the years, if not the decade to come. In this report and the one that will follow regarding the national security policy, Washington defends the idea of ​​conducting preventive wars [35].

It is interesting to note that Donald Rumsfeld in the introduction to this paper writes: "The Quadrennial Defense Review and the accompanying report were largely completed prior to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States. In general, these attacks confirm the strategic direction and planning principles that resulted from this report, particularly when they focused on domestic defense, on surprise, on preparedness to address asymmetric threats [36], the need to develop new concepts of deterrence, the need for a capacity-based strategy and the need to deliberately balance different dimensions of risk. However, the attacks of September 11, 2001 in the United States require us to act more quickly in these directions, even if we are engaged in a war on terror. "[37] The attacks therefore confirm the conservatives in their militaristic, security and even authoritarian vision.

They manage to trigger two so-called preventive wars, one against Afghanistan, the other against Iraq, two sovereign states. The current chaotic situation in the Middle East stems from these haphazard decisions. The Bush Jr. Government Decrees the Patriot Act, an "Anti-Terrorism" Law that Clears the Legal Distinctionbetween investigations by domestic police and those conducted by the secret services. It defines new categories such as enemy combatants or illegal, allowing Washington to place those who correspond to a special camp at Guantanamo, without charge and time limit. It is a zone of lawlessness initiated by the United States.

Of course, these directions have raised the indignation of many people around the world, including Americans. Torture reported in Iraqi prisons by American servicemen has discredited Republican conservatives. In addition, despite the cries of victory of President Bush Jr. just after the success of purely military operations, invasions are gradually becoming human catastrophes and financial sinkholes for the US state. They cost many lives, including those of American soldiers.

After eight years of disastrous outside adventures, voters choose to give the reins of political power to Democrats and Barack Obama. Especially since the economic crisis that breaks out from 2007 shows a greedy and greedy financial sector, without morality as long as there is money to be won. The Republicans, with their very liberal vision of letting the market act, are badly taken. They will begin to take steps to save this world of finance, to the detriment of indebted households and taxpayers.

Barack Obama will represent a hope for change. But this one will be quickly disappointed. The new president extends the Patriot Act several times. Then, in 2015, following the incendiary revelations of Edgar Snowden two years earlier about the NSA's vast listening of communications [39], he replaces the law with the Freedom Act, which is not so good ( Liberty Act, in French), since the main change is to allow wiretaps only after approval by a court of law, that of FISA (US Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court [40]). ]). As for Guantanamo, despite its promises, in eight years of mandate, Obama has not managed to suspend this camp.

Like the Clinton government, it has not taken American workers out of debt, poorly paid jobs and the misery that many of them live in. In social terms, its main contribution is the establishment of Obamacare, a health insurance system for some 32 million Americans, leaving 23 million citizens without coverage. Although still very incomplete, the Republican right is trying at all costs to dismember repeal this health coverage.

As early as 2008, grassroots activists from the right created the Tea Party for Taxed Enough Already, [41] an openly libertarian movement opposing the rescue of banks by the injunction the state. But their program is the free market and the withdrawal of the state in the economy.

In 2010, in the mid-term elections to renew the 435 seats in the House and 100 in the Senate, the Republicans take the lead. They control the Congress and the Democrats retain the majority in the Senate only of a jump seat. We find ourselves in a situation similar to that faced by Bill Clinton.

If the harassment of the 1990s focused on the escapades of the president, two decades later attacks the origins of Obama.

In 2012, Republicans send Mitt Romney, a "moderate" [42] who acquired a small fortune by participating in the founding of an investment company, Bain Capital, and who was also governor of Massachusetts from 2002 to 2007 , fight Barack Obama in the presidential election. The Conservatives will catch up four years later. Several candidates compete in extreme positions to reduce the taxation of the richest, to return to the financial regulation measures taken during the recent economic crisis, to restrict illegal immigration, to increase the budgets of Defense and National Security ...

The favorite of the extreme right is besides Ted Cruz. It is supported by the Tea Party, less influential than in 2008. It is funded by the Koch brothers, who, at the head of a powerful conglomerate erected from oil, actively support the most conservative and libertarian pretenders [43]. ]. He is also advised by Robert Mercer, a former IBM employee and president of Renaissance Technologies, one of the largest US hedge funds [44]. The latter funds the racist, misogynistic, supremacist media site [45] Breitbart News, created in 2007 by Andrew Breitbart and animated until recently by Steve Bannon. The latter, close to the American extreme right, agrees to participate in the campaign of Ted Cruz.

But this one loses the primary of the republican partylicely face Donald Trump. The Mercers decide to support the candidate chosen by the voters, unlike the Koch. They propose that Steve Bannon become the political leader of the Trump campaign, which he agrees. The collaboration will prove fruitful.

Once elected, the 45th President of the United States receives help from Charles and David Koch. Vice President Mike Pence, another evangelical Christian conservative, homophobic, anti-abortionist and close to the Tea Party, allows rapprochement. This will favor the composition of the new administration from the most conservative forces in the country.

This is evidenced by the choice of the new national security advisor, an influential position on American foreign policy: John Bolton. This one comes from the movement of the neoconservatives. In 1998, he signed the PNAC letter to attack Saddam Hussein's Iraq, addressed to Bill Clinton. He is a fierce supporter of preventive warfare and a fierce opponent of humanitarian missions. He joins the Bush Jr. Administration at the State Department in charge of disarmament issues. It is in this context that he proposes sanctions against Iran and North Korea. In 2005, he became an ambassador to the UN, an institution that he often denigrates. He will resign from this post at the end of 2006, under pressure from Democrats who won the mid-term elections.

This historical journey shows that there is a project that is not always clear and that can be shared only partially between libertarians, neoliberals, neoconservatives, ultraconservatives ... There is a desire to conquer the power to impose its ideas and his vision to American society and the planet.

There are, however, significant differences between libertarians, who advocate full free trade, but a state that is in retreat, if not non-existent, and conservatives, preferring a strong state in military and security matters, to ensure the global hegemony of the United States. Nevertheless, one can observe a disturbing drift in the different successive republican governments.

First, there was Richard Nixon (1969-1974), a staunch anti-communist and a supporter of a strong and authoritarian state. But he had to resign because of the Watergate (see above). Then, the Conservatives elected Ronald Reagan (1981-1989), a former actor who denounced some of his colleagues in the witch hunt of the 1950s and whose administration has promoted the neoliberal policies that the planet suffers so much today. . George W. Bush (2001-2009) pushed the American strategy a little further by authorizing the preventive wars, with immediate application to Afghanistan and Iraq, and the Patriot Act. Now, it's Donald Trump's turn with a conservative cohort at the helm. It is also the first time that an individual who has sympathies for neo-Nazis, in this case, Steve Bannon, joins the American government team [46].

As former Nobel economist Paul Krugman writes: "The nature of the hold that movement conservatism exerts on the Republican Party is easy to summarize: yes Virginia, the great right-wing conspiracy exists. There is a set of tight institutions, ultimately obeying a handful of individuals, who collectively reward the faithful and punish dissenters. These institutions provide resourceful politicians with the resources to win elections, a safe haven in the event of defeat, and lucrative career opportunities after their tenure. They guarantee favorable press coverage for those who follow the party line. They harass and weaken opponents. And they maintain a permanent army of militants and intellectuals "[47].

Military priority   Why did the establishment authorize the election of Donald Trump and did not put all his forces to prevent it, when it undeniably had the means? First, because it is divided on the strategy to follow to remain hegemonic in international relations, as we have already pointed out above. But also because one party believes that the use of force and military means, which far surpass those of other countries, is indispensable in this task.

Since the end of the cold war, the United States has established what their armed force should be to conduct simultaneously and only two wars of medium importance [48]. This is an astonishing position, because after the collapse of the USSR, there is no longer an adversary of comparable size. Some thought that the time had come for the "peace dividend". They must have disillusioned quickly. The Pentagon immediately put things right: there would be no massive reduction in the defense budget.

In addition, he canIt must be paradoxical that the US military forces must correspond to those that allow two simultaneous fights to take place in isolation. However, the United States is at the top of the arms trade around the world, selling mainly to its allies, Israel, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States ... They pursue objectives sometimes against their neighbors, with the support from Washington. Moreover, since this orientation was defined, the White House has struggled to steer their armed conflicts with the help of other countries, these contributing to the deployment of forces or having to pay the bill.

As a result, despite the end of the cold war, the United States remains largely the leader in military spending, as shown in the following chart and table.

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Chart 5. Trends in military spending in the United States, China, Russia and the European Union 1990-2016 (in billions of 2015 dollars)

Source: SIPRI, Military Expenditure Database, Data for all countries 1949-2016: https://www.sipri.org/sites/default/files/SIPRI-Milex-data-1949-2016.xlsx. Note: Using amounts in 2015 dollars helps neutralize inflation and provide statistics in real terms.

It is observed that the amounts used by the United States actually drop during the 1990s, but rather weakly. They then return strongly upward upon the accession of the Bush Jr. team to power. They decline with the arrival of Obama, to grow again at the end of the period, even before the election of Donald Trump.

Table 3 shows these data as a total percentage of the total amounts spent.

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Table 3. Share of military expenditures of major countries in the world total 1992-2016 (in%)

In 1992, the United States accounted for nearly half of the world's Defense funding. This share goes under 40% in 2000. But with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Washington returns to its position of the end of the cold war. The crisis is occurring, we must save the US financial system, essential in the global economic strategy. Barack Obama resolves to reduce military spending.

Nevertheless, the White House's often arrogant way of doing business is not to the taste of the emerging powers, who feel that at one time or another American interests will come into conflict with their own. willingness to develop. They must build or rebuild their armed forces. Thus, China's share is constantly rising in statistics. And Russia, which had reduced its spending in the 1990s, is again spending significant amounts on defense.

This situation worries the Conservatives. They say that economic domination is threatened by new actors and, in this respect, it is difficult to prevent catching up. To annoy him perhaps, to restrain him without doubt, but not to forbid him. Thus, military supremacy and the undisputed political advantage it provides remain, in fact, the main tool for the United States to maintain world hegemony.

This is the reasoning of a whole section of the economy that operates thanks to military orders, especially since the Pentagon can often fund a lot of basic research. These are the sectors that traditionally finance the Republican Party. But there is also a part of the American ruling class that believes that the model of domination, as it has been established since the 1980s, can no longer survive and that military and political force must be used more. This is the breeding ground on which will develop the latest currents of the extreme right, always very active in the media and social networks.

The Conservatives will address, in particular, the fact that current military spending no longer allows states to conduct two medium-sized conflicts on their own. They say Barack Obama's policy has made this option impossible with the budget cuts in the defense sector. And, as they know so well, they have multiplied their ideological assaults.

For example, two military experts from the far-right think tank The Heritage Foundation write: "The (current) army is the smallest since 1940, even though soldiers have to deploy very frequently." [49]

To support this statement, Doug Feith explains, "We were the preponderant military power and our enormous economic strength gave us influence. But during the Obama years, the American influence diminished. ". And he continues calling for another policy: "One of the first things President Trump wants is to rebuild and reaffirm American power." [50] In other words: increase the defense budget.

Mackenzie Eaglen goes onr the American Enterprise Institute (AEI): "Politicians can not disregard the need to have a strong presence in Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

This would mean that US commitments in the Middle East would disappear or they would suddenly become easier or would be a lesser burden for the military. ". He pursues : "

To perpetuate itself as a world power, the United States can never be in a position - as it is now - to have to mobilize the last reserves of its military force for any theater of action. On the contrary, military planners must increase the size of the armed forces by using available resources. US forces must commit to a permanent, permanent presence wherever they can effectively deter threats before they become hostilities. ". [51]

This is an appeal we had heard in the 90s, at the time of the Clinton presidency. The two founders of the PNAC had published a book to this effect and claimed: "Our current threat is the decline of our military strength, our will and our confusion about our role in the world." [52].

All Republican candidates were undoubtedly sensitive to this "alarm call". But the best of them, the one who could beat Hillary Clinton, was undeniably Donald Trump. The others were too close to the establishment, with a rather similar speech. Only Trump could really mobilize the popular electorate and reverse the trend that gave winning Democrats almost every time.

Upon his arrival at the White House, Trump will satisfy the most conservative elites of the country. It will start a deregulation of the economy and finance, which has not yet taken on its full dimension.

It is a question of returning to the Volcker rule of the Dodd-Frank Act, voted to deal with the crisis of 2007-2009. This limits or even prohibits the activities of proprietary investment companies in certain areas. In the months leading up to the recession, several institutions, including Goldman Sachs, were found to offer subprime products to their clients, while they speculated on the collapse of these same assets. There was clearly a conflict of interest. As early as February 3, just days after his inauguration, Donald Trump signed two decrees to challenge the Dodd-Frank Act.

Then, in December 2017, it promulgates a tax reform, which benefits companies, especially those producing in the United States, and the most fortunate Americans. The windfall available to those who need it the most is $ 1.5 trillion over ten years. [53] This represents a transfer of about 8% of GDP to the richest, as recipient firms are likely to pay the surplus to their shareholders and managers.

Finally, the 2018 budget was redefined according to republican priorities, with a rise in the sums allocated to the Defense and National Security departments, to the detriment of social and environmental spending. The goal is to put military spending at 3.3% of GDP in 2020 compared with 3.1% in 2017 [54]. This requires going from $ 590 billion in 2017 to $ 668 billion in 2020.

Under Donald Trump, appointments in the administration of former military and officers take a disproportionate measure. Defense Secretary James Mattis was the commander of CENTCOM, responsible for US military operations in the Middle East, Central Asia and South Asia under Obama's presidency. One might think that the minister in charge of defense is usually an officer. But in the United States (as in other countries), this is rarely the case. More surprisingly, Ryan Zinke, Secretary of State for the Interior, served in the Navy from 1985 to 2008 and retired on that date with the rank of Commander. John Kelly, first secretary of state for Homeland Security and then chief of staff of the White House, is a former retired general. Sonny Perdue, Secretary of State for Agriculture, is a former captain of the US Air Force. This is also the case of Rick Perry, the Secretary of State for Energy.

Overall, the employers can be happy with these measures, even if it remains circumspect on the way Donald Trump intervenes in the debates, through incendiary tweets. Senior corporate officials also access the government. The most emblematic is Rex Tillerson, CEO from 2006 to 2016 of ExxonMobil, the largest oil company in the world, who becomes Secretary of State of the United States [56]. Steven Mnuchin, who worked at Goldman Sachs until 2002, then in several investment companies, is chosen to besecretary of the Treasury [57]. Wilbur Ross was at the head of investment companies, often in charge of buying, then reselling firms sometimes in difficulty (including those of Trump), before being appointed to the Commerce. Gary Cohn was number two at Goldman Sachs from 2006 to 2016, when he joined the government team as head of the National Economic Council, which advises the president on economic situations. [58]

For relations with the power, the employers also modify the contact persons. At the powerful Business Roundtable (BRT, the Business Round Table), which brings together more than a hundred presidents or senior leaders of the largest US multinationals, [59] a new president is elected and a new managing director is appointed. The first is Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JP Morgan Chase, the largest US bank. It was part of the Forum Strategy and Politics, set up by the White House [60]. The second is Joshua Bolten, who was White House chief of staff under President Bush Jr. from 2006 to 2009. The bosses had chosen two officials who could easily dialogue with the power in Washington.

The Trump Administration's philosophy is provided by the National Security Strategy Report, published in December 2017. It is based on the expression of American power: "The United States that competes successfully is the best guarantee to prevent conflicts. Just as American weakness invites us to challenge them, their strength and confidence discourage (others) wars and thus promote peace. "[61]

It points to three major opponents who oppose this hegemony: "Three main forces - the revisionist powers of China and Russia, the rogue states of Iran and North Korea and the transnational criminal organizations, especially the jihadist terrorist groups - actively challenge the United States, its allies and partners. [62] Cuba and Venezuela are also mentioned as anachronistic authoritarian regimes, but are considered regional threats [63].

The problem is that with the economic crisis, the Obama administration (which is not explicitly mentioned) has reduced military spending, while its opponents are increasing: "The US military remains the strongest in the world. However, the benefits of the United States diminish as rival states modernize and strengthen their conventional and nuclear forces. [64]

It is therefore necessary, according to this document, to reaffirm American hegemonic power by increasing military capabilities. The report's authors write: "The United States will seek to find, in a position of strength, places of cooperation with its adversaries, ensuring above all that our military power remains unmatched and fully integrated with our allies and all our instruments of power. A powerful army gives our diplomats the opportunity to operate in a position of strength. In this way, together with our allies and partners, we can discourage and, if necessary, defeat aggression against American interests. This will increase the likelihood of managing disputes without violent conflict and preserve the peace. "[65]

The terms of preserving peace should not be misleading. This is a decidedly warlike strategy that the Trump administration has chosen, because the goal is not peace and harmony for everyone, but for American interests, that is to say primarily those of multinationals. .

Increased global tensions   The plan of the conservatives and the extreme right is to reaffirm the absolute primacy of the United States on the planet through the expression of brute force and brutality. This was already the case under the Bush Jr. government. But the consequences had been so catastrophic that it had to go through a Democratic interlude. Today, this reactionary current has taken over the reins and imposes its orientations to the world.

But that will not go without trouble. The first problem is the rise in public debt. This is already close to 101% of GDP in 2017. However, according to the Trump administration's budget planning, based on a rather optimistic average annual GDP growth of 4.2%, the deficit of Federal state is expected to increase from 3.5% in 2017 to 4.5% in 2020 [66]. As a result, public debt is expected to rise by nearly 5 percent of GDP, according to these forecasts.

Then the trade policy is reversed. The United States, whose multinationals largely benefit from the global openness system, wants to levy customs taxes on the products of so-called predatory countries (such as China). In other words, they are looking for butter and pudding.

In 2017, the trade deficital was $ 811 billion, or about 4.2% of US GDP.

But, it is due both to the import of raw materials indispensable for the development of the country, and of ordinary goods supplied at a low price by Third World nations. These are no longer produced in the United States. It is therefore unthinkable that the negative balance of the trade balance is really resolved.

In addition, these commodities delivered to low-wage employees allow large companies to pay less for their workers, as explained above. If tariffs are levied, this will mean that the goods will be sold at a higher price and that the wages of the employees will normally have to be raised. Not to mention that some sectors rely heavily on these inexpensive imports. Disputes and social conflicts are likely to increase in the United States.

Finally, the countries targeted by the Trump administration can carry out reprisals of the same type, that is to say, tax the American products too. It is clear that, in this case, the commercial war launched by Washington, damaging in itself, could have political, diplomatic or even military consequences.

 

Notes:

1 The name generally given to the New York Stock Exchange.

2 The Apprentice, broadcast on the national channel NBC.

3 The libertarian ideology, which is especially present in the United States, is an economic-political vision where there would be only small individual owners, with hardly any state (or for very limited sovereign functions) . The main followers of this design are Milton Friedman and Friedrich von Hayek.

4 OpenSecrets.org, 2016 Presidential Race: http://www.opensecrets.org/pres16/.

5 Hence Hollywood's strong support for Hillary Clinton.

6 North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which originally includes the United States, Canada and the most important Western European countries (West Germany joined the association in 1955) .

7 What has been called the Watergate affair.

8 Francis Fukuyama, The End of History and the Last Man, Editions Flammarion, Paris, 1992. He will come back later on this diagnosis.

9 Charles Krauthammer, "The Unipolar Moment," Foreign Affairs, Volume 70, No. 1, 1990.

[10] United Nations.

[11] Michael Dertouzos, Richard Lester, Robert Solow, Made in America, InterEditions, Paris, 1990.

[12] These mortgages were granted to households that were unable to repay them.

[13] The Stock Exchange of technology stocks like Microsoft, Facebook, eBay, Yahoo ...

[14] We are dealing here only with the policy followed by the party leadership and we neglect the effect that Bernie Sanders introduced into this movement, with a campaign claiming a kind of democratic socialism.

[15] Voting Rights Act.

[16] Coalition for a Democratic Majority.

[17] Justin Vaïsse, History of Neoconservatism in the United States, Editions Odile Jacob, Paris, 2008, p.150.

[18] Literally the Council for a National Policy.

[19] The Council for Foreign Relations. The CFR publishes the prestigious journal Foreign Affairs.

[20] The New York Times, August 28, 2004: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/28/us/2004-campaign-conservatives-club-most-powerful-gathers-strictest-privacy.html.

[21] The name given to the Ministry of Defense because of its shape.

[22] The center for a security policy.

[23] The Huffington Post, December 19, 2016.

[24] Among the founding members of this association are Richard Perle, Jeane Kirkpatrick, ambassador to the United Nations between 1981 and 1985, Edwin Feulner, founder of Heritage Foundation, Edward Teller, father of the H bomb or hydrogen bomb, and James Woolsey, director of the CIA between 1993 and 1995.

[25] Two years after the appointment of Bill Clinton as president, the Republicans take a large electoral victory to the renewal of the House at mid-term (of the President). They become the majority for the first time since 1952. Newt Gingrich is a climateosceptic, an opponent of the Palestinians and a supporter of creationism, the current affirming the foundation of the world by a god, opposing the theory of evolution, admitted in the scientific community. In 2016, he brings his favors to Donald Trump.

[26] In short, this young businesswoman had sex with Bill Clinton's president. Initially, this one denied. But a president can not lie under oath. Republicans have tried to condemn him and dismiss him on this basis.

[27] The Central Intelligence Agency (or Central Intelligence Agency) represents the US secret service since 1947.

[28] William Kristol is the son of Irving Kristol (1920-2009), considered the initiator of the neoconservative movement. These are usually people from the Democratic Party ore the American left and who have gone to the extreme right.

[29] The PNAC will be under in 2006. On the one hand, by that date, it will have accomplished its mission largely. On the other hand, the American Enterprise Institute, more usually specialized in economic issues, will resume the militaristic and security themes of the association.

[30] Robert Kagan and William Kristol, "Introduction: National Interest and Global Responsibility," in Robert Kagan and William Kristol, Present Dangers. Crisis and Opportunity in American Foreign and Defense Policy, Encounter Books, San Francisco, 2000, p.6.

[31] At that time, the two candidates, Al Gore and George Bush, were neck and neck. Votes have been recounted several times. Finally, it was the Supreme Court, where the Conservatives were in the majority, who finally decided to give Bush the victory, while Gore had a higher total vote.

[32] Normally, in the United States, the title and role of the vice-president are purely honorary. But Dick Cheney will completely change this situation. He will begin his term by writing a report on the essential nature of the energy sector for the United States. This former Secretary of Defense, under Bush Sr., was from 1995 to 2000 executive chairman of Halliburton, a US multinational oil and gas services company.

[33] In the first Iraq war in 1991, President George H. W. Bush stopped hostilities after the "liberation" of Kuwait and the end of Iraqi military threats. The Conservatives blame the administration for not having gone to Baghdad to overthrow Saddam Hussein.

[34] The American equivalent of the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

[35] A war even before the opponent triggers it. This is a highly questionable conception, because the potential threat (which can be imaginary enough) serves as a reason to provoke hostilities.

[36] US strategists define their military situation in terms of asymmetric threats. Since, according to them, there is no adversary to their size and nobody dares to confront them too openly, the major risk, they say, comes from non-state forces, well organized, very mobile and drowned in populations. In this way, these forces can strike with impunity the United States or their allies and these can not fight back, since they do not have to do to a hostile state.

[37] Quadrennial Defense Review Report, 30 September 2001, p.

[38] This camp is located in the bay of the same name south of the Cuban island. It was granted in 1898 in the United States following the Spanish-American war that liberates Cuba from Spanish colonization. Normally, Washington pays rent for this possession, but Fidel Castro refuses it. In 1994, the US government of the day decided to found a detention center for Haitians accused of the military coup of September 1991. This is where after September 2001 the so-called terrorists are gathered.

[39] The National Security Agency is a department of the Defense Department in charge of telephone, electronic and computer intelligence.

[40] Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court or also FISC in English.

[41] The Tea Party title also refers to an event of the war of independence. In 1773, the British Crown on which the American colonies depended decided to heavily tax tea from China to pay its huge debts. The American colonists refused to receive this tea, which was considered too expensive, and in Boston they threw the shipments of the precious liquid arriving by ship overboard. This symbolic act took the name of Boston Tea Party and prelude to the war of independence (1775-1783).

[42] In the Republican Party, he presents himself as a fierce opponent of Donald Trump.

[43] They are among the most important financiers of the Cato Institute. But they also support Marco Rubio and Rand Paul.

[44] A hedge fund is a hedge fund that, in general, conducts short-term financial activities.

[45] The supremacists are supporters of the "racial" superiority of whites over other ethnicities.

[46] Although he was removed from office on August 18, 2017, following the events in Charlottesville, which resulted in the death of a young civil rights activist. While Heather Heyer was murdered by a neo-Nazi who voluntarily crushed him with a car, Steve Bannon is responsible for President Donald Trump's first statement that the violence came from both sides, as well as supporters of the extreme right as antifascists.

[47] Paul Krugman, The America We Want, Editions Flammarion, Paris, 2008, p.197. It alludes to a famous 1897 editorial published in the New York Sun whose title was: "Yes, Virginia, theSanta Claus exists ".

[48] ​​A war of great importance, even global, is not envisaged, because there is more opponent of the same size as the United States, according to the opinion of the American strategists.

[49] Thomas Spoehr and Rachel Zissimos, "Preventing a Defense Crisis: The 2018 National Defense Authorization Act Must Begin to Restore US Military Strength," The Heritage Foundation, Backgrounder, p.2.

[50] Doug Feith, "Reflections on US Military Policy," The Brown Journal of World Affairs, Fall / Winter 2017, p.1.

[51] Mackenzie Eaglen, "Recommendations for a Future National Defense Strategy," American Enterprise Institute, November 30, 2017, p.3

[52] Robert Kagan and William Kristol, op. cit., p.

[53] The Echoes, December 26, 2017.

[54] Office of Management and Budget, An American Budget, Fiscal Year 2019, US. Government Publishing Office, Washington, 2018, p.123.

[55] This is a basic position directly attached to the president.

[56] He was removed from office by Trump on March 13, 2018 for divergence of opinion and replaced by CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

[57] The Minister of Finance.

[58] Gary Cohn resigns on March 6, 2018 to oppose the "protectionist" orientation of US trade policy.

[59] This association created in 1972 will inspire the founding in Europe of the Round Table of European Industrialists, which is one of the most influential lobbies on the orientations of the European Union.

[60] He resigned following Trump's statements after the Charlottesville assassination. Then, the president dissolves the organ.

[61] National Security Strategy of the United States of America, December 2017, p.3.

[62] National Security Strategy of the United States of America, December 2017, p.25.

[63] National Security Strategy of the United States of America, December 2017, p.51.

[64] National Security Strategy of the United States of America, December 2017, p.3.

[65] National Security Strategy of the United States of America, December 2017, p.26.

[66] Office of Management and Budget, op. cit., p.118.

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