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HOME  > Past issues  > 2019 February 6 - 12  > Trump’s State of Union Address raises new concerns about further divisions in US society and the increase in military spending
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2019 February 6 - 12 TOP3 [POLITICS]

Trump’s State of Union Address raises new concerns about further divisions in US society and the increase in military spending

February 7, 2019

Akahata editorial

U.S. President Donald Trump on February 5 delivered his State of the Union Address. Once again, he called for constructing of a wall along the Mexican border, clinging to his long-held policy which has been a source of division and chaos in the U.S. Concerning international issues, while announcing the date of the next U.S.-North Korea summit meeting, Trump justified his decision to withdraw the country from the nuclear deal with Iran, expressing his intent to maintain his stance to turn his back on multilateralism and to promote a further military buildup.

Ignoring international efforts to abolish nuclear weapons

Just a few days earlier, the Trump administration officially announced its intent to abrogate the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. In his speech, Trump explained the reason for the abrogation by saying, “While we followed the agreement and the rules to the letter, Russia repeatedly violated its terms” and defended the U.S. nuclear buildup. This runs counter to the international trend demanding the abolition of nuclear weapons.

In the address, Trump strongly supported Israel. Concerning the relocation of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem in Israeli-occupied territory, he stated, “Our approach is based on principled realism, not discredited theories that have failed for decades to yield progress.” Trump expressed his hostility toward the UN resolution which states that the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital violates international law.

While showing support for Israel’s continued occupation, Trump made it clear that he will take a hard-line toward Iran, suggesting that all options are on the table.

Regarding economic policies, Trump spoke about his policy on employment and the trade talks with China, apparently having the 2020 presidential election in his mind.

He said nothing about the existing social inequalities in the U.S.

President Trump is pushing ahead with his policies giving preferential treatment only to the rich and large corporations while hurting the socially vulnerable by such means as adversely revising or abolishing healthcare insurance programs. In fact, he is faced with the reality that many Americans "cannot escape from poverty".

In his address, he spent much time talking about a new wall on the Mexican border and stated that he will proceed with the construction of "a smart, strategic, see-through steel barrier".

He postponed his State of the Union address for one week because of his demand for 5.7 billion dollars (approx. \620 billion) in border wall funding. With many lawmakers critical of the building of a border wall, his budget demand could not immediately gain Congressional approval, which brought about the partial federal government shutdown for more than one month. Consequently, this closure affected many people's daily lives to a great extent.

Regarding Trump's proposed border wall, the influential financial paper Wall Street Journal reported in its online edition published on January 22 that this is a clear indication of the serious cultural divide among the American populace.

Stop US-Russia arms race

Japan cannot dismiss the impact of the U.S. withdrawal from the INF nuclear treaty. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga Yoshihide in the February 4 press briefing said, "The abrogation of the treaty is not desirable, but I understand the U.S. concerns that led to its withdrawal announcement." In "response" to Russia, the United States is making a push for the commencement of R&D on new types of intermediate-range nuclear missiles. This may increase the possibility of the presence of such missiles in Japan. The Japanese government, as the government of the only atomic-bombed country, should end its subservience to the U.S. and call on both the U.S. and Russia to refrain from embarking on yet another nuclear arms race.

Past related article:
> Hibakusha protest against Trump's decision to pull out of INF Treaty [October 24, 2018]
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