The dilemma of the Arab policymaker

The Obama Doctrine expressed through an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg in the April issue of The Atlantic caused consternation and alarm to many in the Arab world. Many commentators, writers and those wielding political power were rattled. Social media was full of attacks by many trolls, including some who had never even heard of the magazine before.

Obama, as is customary with residents of the White House, has made farewell visits to Europe and the Middle East. This caused satisfaction to many who expressed gleefully that they had seen the last of him and that when he is gone, things will go back to normal and we will be the favorite allies of the US once again.

However, this is nothing more than wishful thinking and total naiveté. It seems that some of our policymakers and America “experts” have not learned anything in the past 50 years.

Things change, people and nations move on and geostrategies gather new dimensions and veer toward a totally strange paradigm shift. I advise the self-appointed political pundits in our area to have a look at what Aunty Hillary Clinton is saying and doing.

In speech after speech, she blares out her total support for Israel. She is on record as saying to AIPAC members: “One of the first things I will do in office is to invite the Israeli prime minister to visit the White House”.

Things change, people and nations move on and geostrategies gather new dimensions and veer toward a totally strange paradigm shift

Khaled Almaeena

She also said: “We will never allow Israel’s adversaries (meaning us Arabs) to think a wedge can be driven between us”. She also stressed that as president “I will vigorously oppose any attempt by outside parties to impose a solution including by the UN Security Council.”

This means that Israeli terrorists have a green light to kill, burn and maim Palestinians. It also means that Israeli defiance and its interference in the Arab world, which is already battered by internecine fighting, lack of statesmanship and no political will, will increase.

The Trump bump

And then, of course, don’t forget Trump who will truly give us a bump!! He has openly stated that he will not depend on oil from the Middle East, nor will he be bothered by threats. On the contrary, he plans aggressive action. With the political climate reaching a frenzied level and Obama hardly getting two lines in the first five pages of any publication, writers and political analysts continue pouring out words that are truly misleading.

How then do we deal with such a situation? Please don’t tell me to pour more money into the coffers of the sleazy PR firms that are hovering around us. And please do not bring up memories of the past friendship which does not exist in the minds of US policymakers. And don’t go running to American institutes and think tanks or ask reporters to write something good about us.
What we need is a totally different approach by politically savvy individuals, not necessarily from academia, who have an insight into the American political system.

And for a start we can have some new faces – from outside the beltway.

To those who are gloating about Obama’s departure, I would like to remind them that to the Arabs in this neck of the woods, Obama is the last Santa Claus.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on May. 01, 2016.
Khaled Almaeena is a veteran Saudi journalist, commentator, businessman and the editor-at-large of the Saudi Gazette. Almaeena has held a broad range of positions in Saudi media for over thirty years, including CEO of a PR firm, Saudi Television news anchor, talk show host, radio announcer, lecturer and journalist. As a journalist, Almaeena has represented Saudi media at Arab summits in Baghdad, Morocco and elsewhere. In 1990, he was one of four journalists to cover the historic resumption of diplomatic ties between Saudi Arabia and Russia. He also traveled to China as part of this diplomatic mission. Almaeena's political and social columns appear regularly in Gulf News, Asharq al-Aswat, al-Eqtisadiah, Arab News, Times of Oman, Asian Age and The China Post. He can be reached at and followed on Twitter: @KhaledAlmaeena

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:48 - GMT 06:48
Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.