In the history of the United States, there has never been a first daughter who has been as visible and influential as Ivanka Trump. Before Ivanka, daughters of Presidents were mainly quiet in the background, were classical pianists, or aspiring actresses (Patti Davis, daughter of President Ronald Reagan) and became TV personalities (Jenna Bush Hager); others were non-conventional (Amy Lynn Carter, daughter of President Jimmy Carter, who was arrested for protesting against the CIA), and even served as acting First Lady (Mary Scott Harrison, Mary Woodrow Wilson), vocal supporters of their father (Julie Nixon), many worked for charitable causes (Susan Ford, Lynda Bird Johnson, Luci Baines Johnson, Chelsea Clinton), or would become social entrepreneurs (Barbara Pierce Bush) and ambassadors (Caroline Kennedy).
Ivanka Trump, sitting in the Presidential chair, while her father and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, are standing beside her.
Ivanka is a first daughter who has been actively involved in politics on all levels. Although, her role is officially: “Adviser to the President”, Ivanka has acted as a diplomat, ambassador, liaison and even took the place of former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s role in meeting with the South Korean Foreign Minister last month, a meeting which was followed by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s secret meetings with North Korea in early April, in which shortly after, her father, President Trump declared that he “gave his blessings” in peace talks between South and North Korea.
Ivanka Trump in a meeting with South Korean Foreign Minister Kyung-Wha Kang last month taking the place of former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Serving under her father in the US Govt, Ivanka has opened her life up to extreme public scrutiny, and the media has generally been critical of every aspect of Ivanka’s past business dealings to the questions about her conflict of interests to unwelcome comments and messages from other women whom she has attempted to support.
Girls Who Code founder Reshma Saujani told Ivanka “not to use her story” in which Ivanka wrote favourably about the founder in her book: Women Who Work: Rewriting the Rules of Success. Whereas, Reshma could’ve used this opportunity to open a dialogue with Ivanka about President Trump’s policies, she decided to publicly shun her instead.
Many children of Presidents often differed with their fathers in their political views. The Bush sisters, Jenna (right) and Barbara (left) do not consider themselves Republican nor Democrats, and Barbara Pierce Bush (named after her grandmother) was a public advocate of gay marriage.
Former Vice President Dick Cheney did not attend the wedding of his lesbian daughter, Mary Cheney (right) to her longtime partner, Heather Poe (left). During his time in office, Dick Cheney did not support gay marriage, however, he said he was “delighted” that Mary married her same sex partner in 2012.
It appears that in our era of #MeToo, we have embraced and empowered women who have been victims of sexual harassment, but women, such as Ivanka, who holds an influential and powerful position, we have mocked, ridiculed and rejected relentlessly, which is paradoxical to the atmosphere of cultivated solidarity. If we are to truly embrace and support a fair gender society, we must also support the women who are in power and work with them to effect change that is necessary to move our society forward.
Ivanka, who in the past, has been a supporter of Hillary Clinton, before her father ran for office, describes herself as non-partisan, as many young people have begun to shed their Democratic or Republican identities. In an increasing climate of the politics of division, race bait politics has served to create a deep divide amongst people, in which the important issues are often unnoticed in favour of the emotional discourse that occurs when people are distracted by fake news. As Cambridge Analytica has taught us, when people are preoccupied by emotional discourses in heightened racial tension through highlighted news coverage, they do not pay attention to what the government lobbyists are actually doing right in front of them.
We live in a society in which corporate lobbyists have all but eroded the system of representative democracy. When the Founding Fathers of America created a separation between Church and State, they did not foresee the same relationship play out between Corporation and State nearly 100 years later.
President Eisenhower warned Americans of the emerging business model of war as profit in the Military Industrial Complex. China, learning from the downfall of past colonial eras and regimes has shifted towards the building of new trading routes to connect Asia with Europe and Africa in an emerging era of global trade to exert their soft power.
Beginning in the late 1950s, this era would mark the beginning of the domination of the Military Industrial Complex. President Eisenhower in his farewell address in 1961 warned us that the “war as profit” model, in which military expenditures exceed all other spending raises a threat to the quality of life in America.
President Eisenhower alerted the population that, “We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.”
It has been repeatedly polled that the majority of Americans are against foreign invasions of other nations. Television coverage of the Vietnam War lead to protest on a massive scale in the 1970s, which ultimately lead to a banning of war coverage in the media in subsequent generations. After the devastating effects of the Iraq War began to seep into the American economy, Senator Patrick Leahy introduced the War Profiteering Prevention Act of 2007 to prevent corporations and private individuals to profit from war, which never garnered any support and never became enacted.
The top 10 US defense contractors continued to profit on war expenditures whilst the US economy tumbled into a stock market crash in 2008.
Why the Iraq War may never find any resolution. Many US Senators, both Democrats and Republicans alike made $196 million+ in 2008 alone in personal profits due to their investment in the Iraq War. Many members of Congress are set to gain even more personal profit if the US were to enter a war with Syria and Iran. War profiteering is still legal in the United States.
The words of the Eisenhower era echoes in our generation today, as we have seen how the war profiteering model has launched the American economy into successive recessions, whilst the top 10 defense contractors and many members of Congress have profited on the bloodshed of our soldiers.
"It is with the book of history, and not with isolated pages, that the United States will ever wish to be identified. My country wants to be constructive, not destructive. It wants agreement, not wars, among nations. It wants itself to live in freedom, and in the confidence that the people of every other nation enjoy equally the right of choosing their own way of life."
— President Dwight D. Eisenhower
China, as an emerging superpower, has learned from past colonial eras and regimes that the war profiteering model is inherently unstable, and that the best way to continue to expand its power is through infrastructure development and trade, and has launched an initiative similar to the one that the US had created in Europe under the Marshall Plan. After the devastation of WWII, the US launched the Marshall Plan, an initiative by General George C. Marshall which provided economic assistance (equivalent to $110 billion US dollars today) to help build Western European economies. During this time, the US grew in influence and power as a global world power due to its investment in Europe, and would eventually become the largest world economy.
In a parallel manner, China has the launched the One Belt One Road plan, and the US has sat in stony silence, resisting China’s efforts toward peace and building new trade pathways, similar to how the former USSR objected against the Marshall Plan during its inception nearly 80 years ago. The USSR would continue to use the war profiteering model at the cost of its GDP which would eventually lead to its downfall in 1991.
Academics have made comparisons to the USSR in 1950 to the present era USA in which a similar pattern is taking shape of the spending of military expenditures relative to its GDP. This pattern suggests that the US is heading towards a decline similar to that of the USSR if the war profiteering model is to continue.
Despite that South and North Korea have both wanted peace for decades, it wasn’t until recently that there was a sudden shift in the tide. A war with North Korea would only come at the cost of great collateral damage in South Korea and Japan, two allies of the US. Instead in previous administrations, the US govt had refused to open a dialogue with North Korea, although President Obama enacted a foreign diplomacy policy of nuclear disarmament, restoring full relations with Cuba and a deal with Iran through the pressure of sanctions. However, President Trump is the first US President who is opening the United States to a meeting with North Korean leaders, and this represents a break in the cycle in which one wonders how much Ivanka had steered her father towards a possible open dialogue towards peaceful resolution?
Different styles in diplomacy and hospitality. Ivanka Trump at the 2018 Olympics. She sends a winning smile in the direction of North Korean General Yong-Chol Kim whilst Vice President Mike Pence does not acknowledge nor make eye contact with Yo-Jung Kim, sister to the North Korean leader who is seated behind him.
Although Mike Pompeo, the US Secretary of State and the former CIA director, met with the North Korean leaders in early April, and most likely had discussions about guaranteed security protections for the North Korean leaders, in which US defense contractors would probably most likely profit, it appears that Ivanka’s diplomatic role at the Olympics and her subsequent meeting with the South Korean Foreign Minister Kyung-Wha Kang, could’ve influenced her father, President Trump to also give his “blessings” for peace in the region.
The question then is can Ivanka Trump steer our nation’s present course from “war as business” economic model to one that supports education, infrastructure, small businesses and clean energy?
However, now as a war with Syria and Iran loom in the horizon, with many members of Congress set to privately profit (in addition to the defense industries’ top 10), can Ivanka Trump, a woman, a mother, an entrepreneur, and adviser to the President be able to take on the war profiteering corporations to alter the United States' path from a fate similar to the one that the Soviet Union realised too late which ultimately lead to its dissolution?