I am always amazed at Arab reaction to the results of US elections. This year saw the winner Donald Trump an outsider to the American political scene beat the Arab favorite Hillary Clinton. This man, who has never served in public office, nor in the military, defeated Clinton because America wanted change. Even in the Gulf many expressed “shock and disappointment”.
But as one American told me last week, you people have to get your act together. And remember, he added, the presidency is all about domestic issues. And personally, I am not going to worry or spend sleepless nights over Mr. Trump’s victory. For to us they all are the same. Hillary Clinton supported the attack on Iraq, she bombed Libya, WikiLeaks exposed her dark role in the Syrian conflict and on record she stated that if she had won, Netanyahu would be the first visitor to the White House!
Mr. Trump also is not a pushover. Forget his comic acts. He has his own plans. His appointments have alarmed Americans at large. His chief of staff Reince Priebus and Stephen Bannon his top advisor are the personalities being discussed in talk shows across America. While Priebus is viewed as smart and temperate, Bannon is viewed as racist, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic. Meanwhile, Retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, whom President-elect Trump has picked as his national security adviser, is on record as once having described Islam as “a cancer.”
Nancy Pelosi the House Minority leader has described these appointments to critical posts as “alarming”. Another name cropping up is Richard Grenell, a senior US diplomat to the UN, as the next US ambassador to the United Nations. He is a strong supporter of Israel and a great critic of Obama’s foreign policy, especially the Iran nuclear deal. He is more to the right than John Bolton the hawkish former US ambassador to the UN.
Reports that Mr. Trump is also being advised by Frank Gaffney another right-wing Islamophobe is a matter of discomfort to the Muslim minority.
Whatever the case may be and whomever Mr. Trump appoints, that is none of our business. What we need to do is to put our own house in order. We should learn from past mistakes never to put our eggs in one basket. Our relationship should not be with the occupant of the White House only, but with Congress, academia, associations and Americans of every group.
We have always ignored Afro-Americans, Latinos, Hispanics, Asian-Americans and other minorities in the US. It is time to build bridges of understanding. And we need to do away with public relations companies who have been sucking our blood for years. We can initiate our programs for outreach.
The American people in all their diversity are fair people and need to be made aware of our historical relations and partnership. We forget that there are new players and actors in American society. We fail to understand the new nuances in the mode of communication. The message of subservience and dependability that they get from us should stop.
We, too, are a proud nation and a region that has contributed positively to world order and will continue to do so.
And America should know that an equal partnership based on common interest and shared values will be of far greater value than patronization. However, to do that we should be strong and have a clear message that can be heard without any misinterpretation.
So Donald Trump’s residency in the White House should not be of any worry nor should it cause us sleepless nights. On our part, we wish Mr. Trump good luck and hope he does his part to promote peace and order not only within America, but across the globe.