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In a crisis Banana Republics often turn to a strongman, like Venezuela's Hugo Chavez.
Dennis Jett
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Dennis Jett, a former career diplomat who served in Argentina and Peru, is a professor of international affairs at Penn State University. His latest book is “American Ambassadors: The Past, Present and Future of America’s Diplomats.”

It's official: the United States is a Third World country

It's official: the United States is a Third World country

Trump's presidency promises massive tax cuts for the rich, chump change for the middle class and the working poor will get the the finger, writes Dennis Jett. "And income inequality, which is already at historic highs in this country, will grow even more and make other third world countries look downright egalitarian.

In a crisis Banana Republics often turn to a strongman, like Venezuela&#...
In a crisis Banana Republics often turn to a strongman, like Venezuela's Hugo Chavez.

If there is one clear result of this presidential election, it is that the United States has become a third world country. No, it has not sunk into the ranks of the underdeveloped economically (yet), but it certainly has gotten there politically.

Here is the evidence. How many times have people in Latin America, in response to the troubles that their countries faced, said “we need a strong leader.” That is the solution for which many Americans cast their ballots on Election Day as they expressed their disgust with the dysfunctionality of Washington.

They assumed that someone like Donald Trump, who pretends to be a strong leader, is going to fix everything and make their lives better. And just like those in Latin America who have expressed similar sentiments over so many years, they could not be more wrong.

Usually in Latin America a new president enters office with sky-high approval ratings. Then as he proves incapable of changing much of anything, those ratings start to decline until he leaves office with his approval in the low teens, if not single digits.

Trump won’t even get that much of a break at the start. A plurality of people voted against him again calling into question, as it did in 2000, whether the United States is really a democracy. And the demonstrations around the country show how deeply unpopular he is already.

So the first major party candidate in American history with zero experience in government or the military is going to make the government run efficiently and command the military wisely? A man whose supposedly successful business empire is one giant con job and Ponzi scheme can make the changes required?

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The lobbyists and billionaires have already hijacked the transition in order to ensure Washington continues to serve the interests of wealthy and influential.

So nothing will change for the better and it will not take people long to figure that out. Even if their only source of information is Fox News and their response to globalization is to bury their heads in the sand, they still have to face reality, the lack of blue collar jobs and triumph of the status quo.

And what little confidence there is in Trump will soon start to decline. One professor, who accurately predicted his victory, is now saying he will also be impeached.

Of course congress will attempt to distract people from reality by doing things like “reforming” taxes, which means exploding the deficit and giving the rich massive cuts, the middle class chump change and the working poor the finger.

And income inequality, which is already at historic highs in this country, will grow even more and make other third world countries look downright egalitarian.

Obamacare will be repealed so the insurance companies can increase their profits and millions of Americans will return to being one illness away from financial ruin. Thousands of them will die prematurely as a result.

Meanwhile, Washington will keep the fear of terrorism, which is as much of a risk for the average America as getting stuck by lightening on a clear day, alive and healthy.

As in the third world, the legislative branch in Washington has an approval rating in the teens, which is still higher than it deserves. The only thing that will change is people will look for the next easy answer instead of trying to understand how their government works and demand that it do better for all. At least we have no history of military coups so that easy answer presumably won’t be available.

But those who care about American leadership should not be discouraged. The United States will be a leader—just of the third world and no longer the entire world.

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