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The Exciting Presidential Term of Trump - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English
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Opinion

The Exciting Presidential Term of Trump

Donald Trump attends a campaign event at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio August 1, 2016. REUTERS/Eric Thayer

Don’t claim that you are not concerned and that the U.S. is a far country. You know that it is a neighboring one although it is in another continent. If its economy stumbles, the global economy does too. You know that its fleets are the masters of the seas and oceans.

You know, very well, that it is the sole superpower and that its stance in the Security Council counts even if it does not use its veto power. You know that its aircrafts carry out precision strikes and that it has the best universities where you wish you can enroll your children.

You know that its attitude affects your country’s stability and fate, when it chooses to excessively interfere or when it decides to remain distant and isolate itself.

The U.S. is a superpower and a huge problem. Whether you like it or not, you should deal with it.

One day, former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein mockingly mentioned the collapse of western leaders because of the end of their terms, a media scandal or their fears from public opinion.

Sarcastically Saddam said: “How could a leader who has only won 51% of votes take a historic decision?” Like others, Saddam believed that the leader who makes history is the one who receives 99% of his nation’s backing and that enthusiasm might even urge the dead to vote.

Saddam failed to perceive the new reality. Former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi also enjoyed counting the U.S. presidents who collapsed while he kept his grip on power – the Middle East has paid a heavy price for policies adopted by men who are uninformed about this world.

The days before the U.S. president-elect is granted official powers are usually important but in Donald Trump’s case the transition period is more difficult than any post-elections stage. His statements during his electoral campaign did not reveal a clear comprehensive policy – this vagueness doubled confusion and excitement as well.

Observers believe that his foreign policy will be based on three axes that concern our region: His deep belief of possible cooperation with Russia, combating radical Islam and reducing Iranian power in the region.

A diplomat gave me an example of what might possibly happen. He said that Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi called Trump after his victory to be assured that the U.S. will continue to be a partner in the Mosul battle. Abadi discussed with Trump strategic relations between the two countries and the importance of U.S. support to the Iraqi army in combating ISIS and purging Mosul.

Trump affirmed his country’s commitment to assisting Iraq in its war against ISIS, logistically and economically. However, Trump made it clear that the continuity of these ties is conditioned with Iraq having an independent policy unlike that of Iran.

The diplomat added that Trump did not specify his demand but clarified that the U.S. will not be providing assistance without getting anything in return.

Abadi is not the only one awaiting the White House to declare its new policies. Perhaps, the head of the Syrian regime, Bashar Assad, is considering the possible gains in case Trump chooses to cooperate with Russia in the war against terrorism – Assad is considering the role his regime would play in a possible U.S.-Russian deal.

These are exciting days of anticipation. Russian President Vladimir Putin himself is waiting. The Chinese president is ready for all possibilities and Germany’s Chancellor has concerns over Trump’s protectionism.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is also adopting a wait-and-see approach to decide on his next step with Russia.

Leaders of GCC countries are awaiting Trump’s policy towards Iran while Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is eager to know whether Trump would make good on his promise to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.

Trump’s term will be exciting and full of terse statements, tweets and tumult.

Ghassan Charbel

Ghassan Charbel

Ghassan Charbel is the editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.

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