A Whopper or a Big Mac? The US political divide on the Mideast

There are recurring themes regarding the concerns of the outgoing and incoming US administrations, but the policies are very different

Faisal Al-Shammeri
Faisal Al-Shammeri
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Both Burger King and McDonald’s are the same on one aspect. They both specialize in providing fast food and both have a focus on burgers. However a Whopper is not the same as a Big Mac. It is here where there are differences between the two, or as it has been stated before in what it is that they do. The two political parties in The United States are both obviously political in nature, and they both work actively in many of the same areas, but like the difference between the Whopper and Big Mac there are differences between the two.

So in looking at how the presidential election in the United States could affect us here in the Middle East, we should take a look at the issues that are affecting the region as a whole. In no particular order, but perhaps in their own way all being of equal importance, the subjects of Syria, Iraq, Iran, ISIS, and terrorism all have a direct impact on our lives throughout the region whether we are able to realize it or not. So how will the potential outcomes of the presidential election affect these issues and what are the differences between the two candidates? We can focus on what we know so far, with hindsight and the actions that people have taken, and try to apply them to a reasonable expectation for what may happen down the road.

The most applicable context we are able to draw. We will focus on Syria, Iraq, Iran, daesh, and terrorism as the subjects of focus. During this time , foreign policy for the departed administration, we can see that the following happened:

1 Syria - Unclear articulation on what the United States policy in Syria actually is and a failure to do what was said, the famous “red line” that was crossed, and never heard from again.

2 Syria & Assad - Inability to clearly articulate what, if any, is the role for Assad in Syria.

3 Iraq - Withdrawal from Iraq that created a vacuum where ISIS could step in even when many advised that it would be best to keep behind some American force to address security concerns.

4 Iran - Legitimization of, and direct negotiations with Iran over a nuclear program that was secret, illegally regarded by many, and now rubber-stamped internationally.

5 ISIS - Inability to clearly articulate a military mission and campaign to take on, destroy and defeat ISIS.

6 Terrorism - An indifference to Iranian-sponsored terrorism in the region where countries like Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, the Arabian Gulf States, and Yemen deal with this reality. Again we can focus on what we know, and with eight years of hindsight we can make a reasonable assessment on these facts, and furthermore believe that these results via policy will be continued.

The president elect represents the Republican party, has no practical experience in the realm of politics so we can look at what may happen in a Republican administration through the prism of what the Republican Party has supported as policy and what has been said so far during the campaign. In looking at the subjects of focus, Syria, Iraq, Iran, ISIS, and terrorism throughout the reason we can look at what policy has been offered and supported by the party in the past, to the current day as well, and its voters as an idea of where a Republican administration would go:

1 Syria - The Republican party since the war in Syria began, has advocated for a more forceful American presence inside Syria itself and the use of the United States armed forces to be a decisive instrument of change on the Syrian front to not only defeat ISIS, but other terror groups as well alongside regional and non-regional allies actively participating.

2 Syria & Assad - The Republican Party and its leaders do not support, and see no role for, Assad in the future of Syria in any way.

3 Iraq - The Republican Party was forcefully against the military withdrawal from Iraq believing that Iraq needed the presence of American forces to help with security concerns and continue to help stabilize Iraq in a critical period.

4 Iran - Nobody in the Republican party supports negotiations with the legitimization of the government of Iran and its nuclear program. The Republican party’s leadership along with its rank and file voters look at Iran as a clear enemy of the United States, a belligerent state, and the number one sponsor of terror throughout the world.

5 ISIS - The candidate and the Repubican Party believe that ISIS needs to be confronted militarily, destroyed, and that the indecisiveness of the departed Democratic administration helped ISIS grow, only making the problem worse for the region and beyond.

6 Terrorism - Regarding terrorism from Iran and elsewhere the Republican party and its president elect both believe that terrorism in all its forms needs to be confronted and destroyed, not only by the United States but its allies when this is possible.

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