This year’s election of Donald Trump will determine the fate of many Americans and the rest of the world population. The election exposed an alarmingly real division in American society. A division that means there is yet a lot for the ‘land of the free’ to work on.
Clinton’s supporters can be divided as such: those who genuinely believe in her ideologies, mission and objectives, those who believe that it is about time ‘the greatest country in the world’ elect a female President, and those who are faced with no better option.
Trump has sparked a lot of support for various reasons. First, there is a quite large population that in fact believes in his rhetoric. Second, there is a portion of the population that believes a businessman is more equipped to bring the US economy up again, especially that it has not been able to recover since the 2008 recession. Third, some value his honesty and bluntness, for many believe politicians are only good at rhetoric. Nonetheless, Donald Trump is a vocal racist, islamophobic and xenophobic individual who deliberately called to cleanse the US from immigrants, to build a wall with Mexico, and to kill Muslims with pigs’ blood.
So, what does this election mean to the Arab Word and the Middle East?
For the Arabs and Middle Easterners in the United States, whether immigrants, students or citizens, fear and panic is widespread. People are afraid that Trump’s victory will give rise to fascist movements and will encourage more islamophobic, anti-immigrant and xenophobic attitudes towards people of colour. Universities are sending emails to international students urging them to stay safe.
Trump’s election means that the current immigration crisis is about to get even more complex. In a strange paradox, it means Syrians, Kurds and Iraqis will have American doors closed on their faces as they flee their war zones.
Donald Trump plans to reconcile friendships with Russia’s Putin, Turkey’s Erdogan and Egypt’s el-Sissi, but what do these friendships mean? Is Putin altruistic or does Trump’s ascension benefit Putin strategically?
Nonetheless, these so-called friendships imply support for Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria and a new front for the so-called ‘War on Terror’. Trump will most likely create a Washington supported Sunni block with Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt and the rest of Sunni-majority states. Whilst Trump’s formal position on Iran is unclear, aligning with Russia (Iran’s ally) in Syria and creating a Sunni block along with his definite disapproval of the nuclear deal will achieve exactly what he wants, and that is alienating Iran.
It is impossible to speak about American elections and its relations with the Middle East without highlighting Israel. It is therefore expected that one relationship that is most likely to be improved is that between the US and Benjamin Netanyahu. Palestinians should be ready to expect that the US will be less likely to hold Israel accountable for its violations of human rights. Netanyahu will have the support of Washington to move along with his agendas, particularly in light of the recently growing rift between John Kerry and the Likud Party in Obama’s final month in office.
Trump’s victory may be a victory for the predominantly white, privileged, elitist population, but it definitely means fear, grief and anxiety for much of the rest of the world.