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Opinion: Do Not Fear Trump - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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When Barack Obama won the US presidency eight years ago, the event was followed by a torrent of cheerful statements and optimism. At the time, I wrote about the event and said that we should not overdo the optimism. It has only been one day since Donald Trump won the US election, and people are rushing to voice their pessimistic opinions. I say once again, do not overdo the pessimism.

Do not look to the President-elect Trump, look to the United States as a state of institutions. There will be many positions, considerations and decisions that Trump’s government will deal with according to new facts. The President-elect will then make decisions in accordance with the interests of his country, and it is then that we will be able to tell the difference between him and Barack Obama. Changes are expected but there will not be a change in foreign policy.

Trump won the US presidency and thus ended the electoral contest. You will not hear talk of Muslims and foreigners later. After about two months from now, the President-elect will sit in the Oval Office and begin his work. The Middle East and its backlog of problems will occupy a large portion of his time and preoccupy him; there is the war in Syria, the fight against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, Iranian, Russian and Turkish interventions, the war in Yemen, the Libyan issue, the waves of refugees , the Palestinian issue and above all of this, fighting terrorist organisations.

In the past, the Middle East was an area with one issue. Now, it has become the worst and most dangerous area in the world where many uncontrollable fires rage. Will Trump move away from the policy of his predecessor Obama? He is likely to do so with issues that previous policies failed to resolve, those that developments have proved to be a threat to the US and its allies in Europe and those that are related to international balances.

To those whose minds have been influenced by what has been written and said during the election campaigns and who have concluded that Trump is against Muslims, I say the following. They must observe two important points; Trump’s personal history, and the system of the American state, its constitution and judicial institutions. The president-elect has a long personal record of dealing with Muslims and there hasn’t been any racial stance recorded against him. He has never been involved in media or political campaigns against Muslims, whether in America or in other countries. Even after the phobia that spread in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks, Trump did not participate in campaigns against Muslims despite being a resident of New York.

In contrast, standing against Muslim terrorists and extremists cannot be considered a racist position under any circumstances. This is also our position as Muslims. Those who try to confuse enmity towards extremism with enmity against Islam are ideological groups that believe in terrorist ideology and want to lobby in order to serve their political purposes.

Arab governments have much to do with regards to communicating with the new administration in Washington after its formation. They must also deal with the United States, the great state that has an effect on the region’s stability and prosperity. At the same time, we must not place the blame on Washington and lose sight of the fact that most of our problems and our issues are the products of our decisions and actions, and that most of the solutions to these problems are in our hands.

In subsequent articles I will try and analyse the possible positions of the President-elect on our issues because most events are variable and interdependent. There is no doubt that Trump’s presidential term will be more decisive and dangerous than Obama’s eight years in office.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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