President Donald Trump´s State of the Union address, two years after taking office, appeared as a mirror of the internal challenges the United States is facing, which, in turn, impact on key global political and economic issues.
Trump´s conciliatory tone before a Congress with a Democrat-controlled House should mark the moment for the President and Congress to reach consensus to strengthen America´s democracy and economy.
A strong sense of unity to resolve internal differences is urgently needed, without causing governmental shutdowns that demoralize, and affect families and businesses.
The map to reach consensus that Trump himself mentions must include addressing global issues as well, such as peace agreements, climate change effects, heartbreaking humanitarian crisis that lead to mass exodus, and that democratic fractures that destabilize countries such as Venezuela and Nicaragua.
The country must give way to a new dialogue that, without leaving border protection behind, can address the migration problem, with solutions that prioritize respect for human rights. Insisting on building a wall cannot lead to another government shutdown in a nation well-known for its principled democracy and human rights leadership.
In calling to heal old wounds, the President opened a space that should encourage reviewing positions on peace agreements, such as the nuclear disarmament treaty with Russia, and other issues that would imply relegating diplomacy. This critical issue implores for a strict control of nuclear weapons that guarantees world peace, particularly through the elimination of short and medium-range missiles.
In terms of international politics, the confirmation of a new meeting with the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un stands out. Diplomatic efforts by US presidents have avoided regional conflicts. A renewed agenda for collaboration and mutual benefit can strengthen the democratic essence that has been an American pillar. That spirit should prevail regarding conflicts in Latin America. The right step is to peacefully contribute to the restoration of democracy.
As for global economic issues, the fact that the presidential address did not reflect consistency on a constructive dialogue about the policy with China raises concerns. The tariff dispute, as well as a position that considers all immigrants are criminals, is based on arguments under debate, such as the alleged China´s usurpation of U.S. intellectual property. This position seems to ignore the history of scientists and other immigrant intellectuals who settled in the United States and whose findings contributed to the world and not only to the country where they settled after leaving their homeland.
Meanwhile, it is unacceptable to minimize investigations that will allow to clarify any allegation that might shed shadows on U.S. democratic institutions, particularly, the electoral institution. Any investigation, whether into the government leadership or not, should be conducted with thoroughness.
Two years before the end of President Trump´s tenure, which was marked by deep political divisions, the President, far from combative rhetoric, must lead the way to the permanent growth of this still-young nation. Regarding social and economic issues that American people demand, it is essential to strengthen respect for democratic values and human rights, in solidarity with the rest of the Americas and the world.