May 10, 2016

Political Scientist: Trump Knows About Ukraine?(0) Clinton?(mainstream approach)

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are likely to be their parties' nominees for the U.S. presidential election on Nov. 8.
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Editor's Note: The following is an interview by Lviv journalist Ostap Yarysh with Richard Farkas, a political scientist of DePaul University in Chicago. He was one of the creators of new Bosnian constitution in 1993 and a professor of former Ukrainian Finance Minister Natalie Yaresko. During a recent trip by Farkas to Ukraine, Yarysh talked with him about the elections in the United States and its impact on Ukraine and the European Union.
Ostap Yarysh: What about the impact of the U.S. presidential elections on Ukraine?
Richard Farkas: If the contest is between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton (and most likely that would be), the difference for Ukraine will be dramatic.
Clinton will bring the mainstream approach, which is not such good news for Ukraine, because she will not be emotional. She will be very calculating, and will assess whether or not help from the United States can make a real difference. And if she assesses that it can, she will definitely commit. If she thinks it can’t make a difference, she won’t do it for just symbolic reasons. Hillary is hard-nosed, thoughtful, but diplomatic person, who will approach Ukraine with great caution.
If Trump becomes president, and I can’t imagine that, the consequences will be completely unpredictable. He doesn’t know anything about Ukraine. I mean, absolutely anything. He couldn’t name two cities in Ukraine, he couldn’t find Donbas with help. He probably has a journalistic understanding of what happened here. So it would be like putting a dog in charge and asking him to go this way, which is plus Ukraine, or that way, which is minus Ukraine. There would be no predicting, which way the dog would go. Trump makes decisions by himself, without any advice.
The real debate in America is whether he believes in that. It seems impossible that an educated person could believe in some of the things he says. If I was Ukrainian, and I saw Trump getting elected, I would strap in, because I don’t know what’s going to happen. He would likely send the U.S. army here to Ukraine, and I have no idea which side he would choose then. Moreover, he threatens to use nuclear weapons. I would love to be able to tell you there is something good about Trump. I listen to him all the time, and I can’t identify anything for you.
About Ted Cruz. Why he has dropped out of the race? I think people were not running away from Trump because the only other place to run to was Cruz, and it was not a good choice. He is a fanatic religious person. For him, if you are not a protestant, you don’t know God. If I were in Ukraine, I would say that I’m worry about that. He would decide countries are good or bad depending upon his narrow religious sense about things. And that’s very strange, because his heritage is Cuban and all of his constituencies from Texas are “Bible thumping”. They’re simplistic and not tolerant. Cruz wouldn’t be better situation, in fact.
Now, Bernie Sanders is a different animal. In fact, for Ukraine, Sanders or Clinton wouldn’t make a difference. But Bernie Sanders can’t win. Though, if he won, I think he would be forced to take a fresh look at Ukraine, and he would be very cautious. Sanders can’t get elected for two reasons. One is, that he likes saying he is a socialist. Well, that’s not a bad thing, except for everybody in America over 50 years old. For them it means “Soviet style”. That’s why he can’t get the votes of old people. That’s why all of his speeches are in college campuses, and students are excited about Bernie. He talks about change all the time. He talks about the need for the U.S. to recommit itself, to the general public and to liberal causes. Young people like that. The idea is not bad, but in America’s politics you need money. Let’s imagine that most of his supporters, who are students, will send, let’s say, 15$ to the campaign. But you can’t win the campaign with young people and 15$ per head.
The impact of the elections in the U.S. on Europe will be exactly the same as on Ukraine. Same problems, same advantages. The EU has no idea what Trump would do. He has talked about creating more distance between the United States and the EU, he has talked about leaving NATO. So what we can predict? If Hillary Clinton wins, the relationship with Europe will continue. In fact, I can’t tell you a country where the story would be different. If you said: “What about Mexico? Or Cuba? Or Canada? Or Indonesia?”, I would give you the same answer. I don’t think there is a country in the world that will get advantages with Trump presidency. Even Russia, although they think they will get. Their main reason is that Hillary Clinton knows Russia better, so she will be more cautious and won’t get fooled about Russia. On the other hand, Trump knows nothing about Russia. He thinks that Russia is just Vladimir Putin, so he can make a deal with him and force him to be a “good guy.”
So, let’s summarize. I think, the difference between Trump and Clinton is the biggest in recent history of elections. Hillary Clinton gets elected – policy doesn’t change much. Donald Trump gets elected – it’s a roll of a dice, nobody knows what’s going to happen. An absolute gamble.
Richard Farkas 
Richard Farkas is a political scientist of DePaul University in Chicago.
OY: What about the political situation in the USA?
RF: The American political system is broken. It was designed over 200 years ago by people who didn’t believe in democracy, and it doesn’t work today. Do you have any thing in your home which is about 200 years old? If yes, does it work? I don’t think so. The same thing is with American constitution.
The Republican Party has all chances to destroy itself until November. What’s going to happen after this? The Republican moderates will say that they need to go back to find the platform. They will leave, and they won’t use the old name. The old name is forever destroyed by Trump, who says he’s a Republican and conservative. They will have to create a new name. Maybe it would be called the “All-Republican Party” or the “All-American Party,” whatever. But I can’t imagine that the Republicans won’t go completely back to zero and start from the absolute beginning.
The Republican and Democratic parties are not well organized. There is no single person in the country who is the member of the party. There is no person who has a card in his pocket that certifies his membership. They may have some cards that say you’ve donated money, but there is no such thing as membership. So for republicans it’s not a question of calling back the party cards or reissuing them with the new name. There is nothing to reissue – it’s just a question of people feel they’re part of.
By August Sanders will also drop out of the race. Young people, who are the main part of his voters, get very enthused about something, but the very few people can keep their enthusiasm high for nine months. In other words, they have to remain as excited about Bernie in May, in July, in August and in October. And most young people will find something new to be interested in. It’s like relationships. When universities let out in June, young people will start to get jobs, they will go home, and they will be not visiting universities anymore and therefore political rallies too. The air is going to go out of a balloon. Most likely that by August Bernie will say: “Hillary Clinton is my choice; I hope she will take up some of my ideas.” In fact, some people think that it’s the best situation you can be in: run for office and lose. Because you get the chance to say all of the things you want to say, but you have no responsibility for that, and you don’t have to do that.
If Trump becomes a president, will there be a revolution like in Ukraine? No, it is not possible at all. People have so much respect for the institutions. There are people right now, who will tell you that the worst thing that has ever happened in American politics is Barack Obama. And all of them are outspokenly critical. But nobody assassinated him, nobody made demonstrations and nobody said she should be impeached. They just wait for next November. That’s how it works here.
Many of the primaries were in states that are not very developed, not very high-educated, and not very rich. But the fact that Trump and Clinton won in New York means that they can appeal to the other kind of voter. And that is significant. Though, these educated, reasoned people, they will all tell you in November that they wish they made a different choice. But in the end, Hillary will win, and she will be the better choice.
OY: What about Donald Trump?
RF: Trump has no experience, he has never held any political position. People who vote for him love him because he doesn’t ask them even for $15. He says: “I’m independent”, which actually means that he is not responsible to anybody except himself. The mainstream explanation of his political success is that he appeals to people who think that they’ve been left behind and disadvantaged. And the reason that they have found that appeal is that he constantly talks about winning and losing. Make America Great Again! I think America is pretty great. At least, it is not a loser. Trump’s voters are people who think they are losers. And he promises that they are going to win. People think that he speaks just to them. That by his presidency they are going to be winners.
Four months ago all Republican candidates, including Marco Rubio, Cruz and Trump signed an agreement saying that they all will support the person who wins the nomination. None of them have done that. Except Chris Christie – he dropped out at the beginning; now he’s expecting to become a vice president. But all the others don’t support Trump. And that’s why I’m almost sure that he won’t win. Trump doesn’t have the support of his party. There are no moderate Republicans who are ready to get behind Trump. In fact, they would be happy to see him get crushed.
The most active debate in the U.S. now is whether Trump is just playing a role or not. I don’t think so. In my opinion, he actually believes not in everything he says, but in two things for sure. One: he can solve all problems. Two: he;s gonna win.
He is anti-intellectual. He thinks that diplomacy is about him telling China, Japan, Russia, Mexico, the E.U., NATO, what they should do.
Trump has six advisors. A foreign policy advisor, George Papadopoulos, is my former student. And I have to say, he was a terrible student, just out of reality. I think Trump even doesn’t know who he is. People may say: “Do you remember George? You shook his hand three days ago, when we were talking about Israel.” In my opinion, Donald Trump thinks doesn’t need any advisors about foreign policy. Probably he thinks that entire world is just a sequence of deals.
As I said, most likely Clinton will win. For Trump it will be the great defeat, but he will stay in politics. After that, he is going to say (and you will remember this in November after elections): “It is the ultimate proof that America is a loser. People have made a classic mistake, they’ve missed the opportunity to elect me. America is going into to garbage." And the biggest problem is that he will believe it.
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