S president Donald Trump has declared a National Emergency in his country, which, if not anything else, shows his honey badger-like persistence in putting his plans to action. There is much opposition to his various moves, as several sections are convinced that the situation in the country does not warrant such steps. Trump may not be alone in the kind of situation his leadership is facing in his country. It is a global phenomenon today that people are increasingly polarised by opinions, making it difficult for authority to introduce change or initiate a measure with ease. Democracy in decision-making is frustrating action. The biggest tragedy with the rise of dissent in democracies is the stagnation of policy. Governance is being held hostage to interests, which produces results similar to when work on the Tower of Babel was disrupted by breakdown of communication among workers, as the Biblical tale goes, by God introducing different languages among them and making them unintelligible to each other. Trump, of course, is known for his penchant for theatrics and radical action and he, as a businessperson first, will spare no trick in the book to get his way. However, we Indians can only hope, and probably never achieve, to get a leader like Trump who sticks to his election promises, no matter what impediments come in the way.
The trouble, though, is with knowing whether Trump is right or wrong. The question is which side is right. There can be no arbiter given the kind of multiplicity of voices that exist. Trump may be right in arguing that a border wall will help stamp out illegal migration and sufferings of migrating Mexicans and also reduce drug trafficking across the border. It is, no doubt, a noble intention but not a practical solution in any manner at all. Trump may also be worried that when his stated stand is to make America great again, the influx of migrants and loss of jobs as a consequence goes against his pursuits. There are parallels to this dilemma in the Indian context, particularly in the wake of the Pulwama attack on a CRPF convoy that left more than 40 jawans dead and almost as many grievously injured. People are strongly divided as war and hate mongers and those seeking a peaceful approach to resolve the dispute. In an atmosphere where patience is wearing thin among one section, arriving at a decision is bound to be a Herculean task. But the quality of leadership has to demonstrate adoption of correct and sensible decisions, factoring in multiple opinions but ensuring that the right interests are given primacy. Cutting through the clutter remains a daunting task and there is every reason for any country to be worried, whether it is the US or India. There is a dire need today for countries to look away from the entropy of opinion and focus sharply on issues at hand with what works best in the larger interests. Trump may be criticized for his dogged pursuit of the wall. But if it serves the greater interests of his country and its economy, he cannot be faulted as a leader. Dissenters should also ensure that their dissent originates solely from grave faults they observe with a national policy rather than from narrow political or business interests. In a world where opinion makers and influencers are lobbying constantly for advancement of their own interests, an administration with a sane approach will be hard to come by.