What’s the worst that can happen under Trump?
What is the worst that can be expected from the new American president? Let us be good sports about it and run through the things that frighten Arab governments, media organisations, writers and analysts, given Donald Trump’s bullying nature and his campaign promises.
We will not concern ourselves with the promises and threats he made regarding US internal affairs and Barack Obama’s legacy. We will not concern ourselves, as 21st-century Arabs and as Arabs stuck in the sixth century, with US relations with Mexico, Canada, Europe, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Russia and China.
It is not easy for Arab populations and their governments and media to discover the falsehood of the news on CNN, Yahoo or most other US news outlets that until recently we held in high esteem and believed them to be highly professional, honourable and unable to deceive their readers or viewers.
It is incredible how low these giants have fallen. Even the mighty CNN turned out to be just a pale imitation of Al Jazeera. The latter has spent tremendous energy making mountains out of molehills, trying to convince Egyptians of the legitimacy of Muhammad Morsi’s reign and heralding the imminent fall of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s dictatorship and the happy return of the Islamic caliphate.
Strangely enough, an Arab journalist recently called for urgent concerted actions to protect the media from Trump’s “animosity” towards the press, the same media that have been tripping over each other to report on the man who has heaped insults on its members. How low can you get?
For the sake of pertinence, let us forget that circus and focus on Trump’s policies that relate to our vital concerns. These concerns are three: our people’s security, our countries’ futures and respect for our dignity, faith and cultures.
Here is the gist of some of Trump’s foreign policy projects:
— Trump proposes to “unite the civilised world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth”.
— “Defeating (the Islamic State) ISIS and other radical Islamic terror groups will be our highest priority.”
— He will deport all illegal immigrants.
— He will move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
— He will establish security zones in Syria and the rich Arab Gulf countries will pay for them.
— He will not protect any country in the world, including the Arab Gulf countries, without a fee.
Should we then start preparing for war?
Let us be fair play and cool and logically examine the merits of each of these points.
Regarding the first two points, are not we all clamouring about the eradication of radical Islam? Are there still among us people who justify ISIS’s savagery, backwardness and injustice? Do not some of us believe and say that ISIS is an Iranian creation or Obama’s creation or Bashar Assad’s creation? So why do not we believe Trump and hope he will use US military might and rid us all of ISIS and its evil?
About deporting illegal immigrants, any foreigner living in the United States knows that every year or so, the US administration, regardless of who is in the White House, regularises the situation of those whose presence in the country is outside the boundaries of the immigration statutes. Green cards may be given to those with a clean criminal record without any racial, ethnic or religious discrimination. There is no reason to believe that the Trump administration will change the rules. Those who will be kicked out will be those who broke the hospitality rules. We should all agree that they have only themselves to blame.
What about moving the US embassy to Jerusalem? Correct me if I am wrong but have not we heard that tune before? We heard it at every election but it never happened.
Well, suppose Trump decides to do it, and he might. Would that obliterate Jerusalem’s Arab identity? Of course not. None of that will change anything in the only possible and acceptable solution for Palestinians, that of two states. No matter how arrogantly Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu may behave or how hard Trump woos the US Jewish lobby, they cannot change history.
All US administrations have been pro-Israel no matter the location of the US embassy. So let us not bury our heads in the sand.
If Obama voted against building new colonies in the Palestinian territories, it was not because he had suddenly experienced pangs of remorse. He was simply settling an old score with Netanyahu.
Obama knows very well that neither Trump’s administration, nor any other US administration for that matter, will uphold the UN Security Council resolution. Like hundreds of previous similar resolutions, its fate will be the wastepaper basket.
Perhaps the only thing we hope Trump and his cabinet will carry out, of course with the blessings of his friend and role model Russian President Vladimir Putin, is to immediately establish security zones in Syria and put a stop to Iran’s foolishness in Syria and the Middle East. If Trump promises the second result, the rich Gulf countries will be more than happy to back him up financially.
Finally, if Trump does in deeds, not in words, rein in the aggressive, retrograde and radical Iranian regime and bring in security and stability to the region, no one among the Arabs would mind and he would be met with standing ovations.