FORMER American president Donald Trump is once again leading in the vortex of news cycle as the United States is heading towards presidential elections that will be held later this year. His legal travails aside, Trump appears to be in a strong position as the Republican nominee to challenge Joe Biden, with both men carrying political baggage.

Comparatively, President Biden’s ratings are embarrassingly low, and his aging factor is not helping his cause either. Besides, he has to face off a harsh battle against negative perceptions on several fronts; from immigration and economy to foreign policy related to Ukraine as well as Israel. The decision to continue limitless military and diplomatic support to Israel despite domestic and international criticism is limiting his own chances at the polls.

On the other hand, Trump’s return after four years of hiatus is an alarming prospect. He is being seen as an agent of chaos. If he gets a second term, he will be a self-professed autocrat surrounded by loyalists who share his scant respect for truth and law. Americans fear social division, and a spike in racism and violence. The world at large will have to Trump-proof itself against a whimsical deal-maker who believes he can charm away the most complicated of issues.

Metaphorically speaking, the Americans will be asked to choose between a rock and a hard place, or between the devil and the deep blue sea. Whatever the choice may be, its implications will be global. One can only hope that the Americans will choose sensibly and prudently.

Shafi Ahmed Khowaja
Hyderabad

Published in Dawn, February 20th, 2024

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