Donald J. Trump has been in office for 120 days now. And let’s just say, that it hasn’t been the smoothest hundred and twenty days. Each day brings a new scandal or a tasteless, often childish, comment tweeted by the Commander-in-Chief. The unpredictability and unreliability of the current Trump administration, including Trump himself, has caused many to question the status of United States as a world power. Many immigrants are suddenly reminded of corrupt and often failed leaderships of countries that they left behind--countries that now the United States is seeming to resemble because of its leader’s inability to make decisions that will benefit its people.
Take United States’ strategic ally Pakistan for example. Pakistan has six to seven major political parties that fight not only for the presidential seat, but seats in the Parliament as well. Despite having several political parties, the past four to five decades have seen presidents and prime ministers from the same three parties back to back. It is interesting to see whether the president holds more or the prime minister depending on which position a political party leader was elected to. When Pakistan’s People’s Party (PPP) head, Asif Ali Zardari, held the presidential seat from 2008 – 2013, the Prime Ministers under him did not hold the same power as the president. While PM Yousaf Raza Gillani did gain spotlight for losing his position since being charged with contempt of court, the next PM, Raja Pervaiz Ashraif, maintained a fairly low profile.
On the other hand, when Pakistan Muslim League – N’s (PML-N) head Nawaz Sharif became the current PM, the power shifted towards him and the current President Mamnoon Hussain is the one in the shadows now. Going back to comparison with POTUS, like Trump, Sharif was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. His family is the fourth richest in Pakistan with a net worth of over $1.4 billion. It is hard for politicians who come from wealth to relate to the average citizens who labors hard all day. Yet, these are men in charge of bringing a change and enacting policies that will help the poor. Similar to Trump, PM Nawaz Sharif was met with resistance, with the slogan “Go Nawaz Go” becoming a prominent way of protesting. The anti-Sharif movement was intensified when Panama Paper leaks revealed that Mr. Sharif had offshore accounts with more lands in Pakistan and London. Funny thing is that at least Sharif’s son admitted that there was a transparency problem and the accounts were offshore to avoid taxes. He stated that while there is nothing illegal about any of their wealth that was exposed in the leaks, there should be more accountability towards the people.
If one thinks about it, it is quite sad that the son of a corruption-ridden politician comes clean about his accounts, whereas us Americans are still waiting on seeing Mr. Trump’s tax returns. People often forget that Trump himself tweeted calling for greater transparency between the Obama administration and the country.
Furthermore, the Pakistani people wanted a leader who would not be intimidated by India considering the tensions between the two countries. A huge part of Pakistani pride comes from the nationalistic idea that Pakistanis are better than Indians--same goes vice versa. However, PM Sharif was seen getting over friendly with Indian PM Narendra Modi soon after his getting the position. This is akin to Trump promoting a campaign off of anti-Muslim sentiments, but going on tour to Saudi Arabia where he is set to give a speech on Islam, in both cases leaving the public outraged by going against desired national interest.
But wait…there’s more! PM Sharif has been accused of using his political power to make advantageous business deals by using his position as an incentive. With the Ivanka Trump making trade deals with Chinese investors, it sounds like quite the same story. It is disheartening to say the least that a country such as the United States that boasts itself for its constitution and government has reached a place where parallels like these have to be drawn. At least the Pakistani people have realized their leaders are corrupt and accepted the way others perceive the government. Yet, may Americans are far from accepting the truth. If we don’t realize our faults and improve them, how will we defend America’s position as the global superpower? How can we justify fighting from freedom in other countries when the POTUS doesn’t even want to give the media freedom to attend his private meetings?
As harsh and bitter answers to these questions might sound, finding their answers is key in maintaining America the land of laws we admire it to be.