Japan Institute for National Fundamentals

Speaking out

  • HOME
  • Speaking Out
  • 【#425】Positive Ratings for Trump Address Unlikely to Last Long
Hironobu Ishikawa

【#425】Positive Ratings for Trump Address Unlikely to Last Long

Hironobu Ishikawa / 2017.03.08 (Wed)

March 6, 2017

     On February 28, U.S. President Donald Trump delivered his first policy address to Congress at a joint session of the House and Senate, calling for enhancing anti-terrorism measures and vitalizing the economy under the slogan of the renewal of the American spirit. The address featured optimistic messages indicating hopes on the future while refraining from making radical arguments seen earlier, winning positive ratings from general public. A poll conducted by CNN, known as critical of the Trump administration, immediately after the address, found 78% of the viewers reacted positively to the address. How long the positive ratings will continue?

Robust spending commitment may face deadlock
     The address attracted attention by describing the United States as taking over the torch of “truth, liberty and justice” and calling for robust and meaningful engagement with the world. Coming after the absence of Trump remarks on American values, the address might have brought some sigh of relief to U.S. allies. He also clarified support for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization while touching on U.S. allies’ responsibility and burden sharing, being welcomed by relevant foreign countries.
     However, the positive ratings are unlikely to continue long. The president in the address made commitment to a 10% increase in defense spending, infrastructure investment worth $1 trillion and large tax cuts. How will he raise funds for such commitment? While any presidential policy address usually refrains from specifying how to implement policies, such robust spending commitment may face deadlock sooner or later. Trump’s arguments for virtually ignoring the World Trade Organization in addition to the withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement could stimulate protectionism to the disadvantage of American people over a long time.

Japan’s responsibility growing heavier
     Populism has brought about the Trump administration. As a matter of course, the interests of Trump’s core supporters such as white workers may be emphasized. Trump cabinet members are expected to conflict with each other and with Congress over international considerations and policy priorities, resulting in confusion. Major liberal media that had supported Hillary Clinton in last year’s presidential election are poised to enhance criticism against President Trump. Future U.S. politics is likely to grow turbulent. Japan must become more conscious of sharing responsibility with the United States, instead of merely depending on the United States, for protecting global order and rules.

Hironobu Ishikawa is a Director and Planning Committee Member, the Japan Institute for National Fundamentals.