Final Saudi observations on the US Elections

In American politics 24 hours is a lifetime, and it is difficult to predict what happens between now and the day of the elections

Faisal Al-Shammeri

Published: Updated:

The current election for the next President of the United States is nearing its end. In this final stretch there is now a legitimate opportunity to take a look at what has transpired so far and make some observations with hindsight.

What began with nearly two dozen candidates in the primaries for both parties has now become a contest of two. It goes without saying that this will be a decision that will affect not just the United States but throughout the global community. The outcome of critical events such as Ukraine, Syria, ISIS and other terrorist organizations, Iran, Yemen, and the South China Sea (just to name a few of many ongoing events of global importance) will all take their final shape based on who becomes the next president.

The United States is the only country in the world which has the ability to decisively influence events anywhere by its mere presence in any given situation. Neither Europe, Russia, or China have the same economic capacity, military potential or influence that Washington has.

Assessing strengths and weaknesses

How these factors are utilized and just as important how Washington will prioritize its use of them will have profound effect on the United States and the world at large. The purpose here is not to advocate for either candidate, assess their strengths or weaknesses but to provide a general assessment based on where we are at and a look into conventional thinking at the moment.

The United States is the only country in the world which has the ability to decisively influence events anywhere by its mere presence in any given situation.

Faisal Al-Shammeri

One candidate, Hillary Clinton, has been referred to as the most accomplished and qualified to ever seek presidency. For assumptions sake let’s agree with this. After all it would be a flattering thing for people to say and would provide a formidable basis for any candidate in direct competition to have to overcome.

If this is so why has there not been any decisive separation in the polls from their opponent and a maintaining of any substantial lead over an extended period of time during the election cycle?

Would it not be reasonable to think that at a time where there is more global uncertainty, with more dangerous potential flash points than ever since the end of The Cold War, that the most experienced, accomplished, and most qualified individual would be able to make a clear and decisive case for why they should be President?

There are no clear answers. Only the acknowledgement of their existence when one applies a reasonable assessment to the gap between conventional wisdom and the reality of the election cycle as it stands now.

The other candidate, Donald Trump, has absolutely no experience in political office and has never been considered as a viable candidate at any level, either local, state or national. Yet what began as a primary process among 17 others resulted in a clear winner for one individual who had not made a career in politics. It needs to be seriously asked how someone with no background in politics in any way, shape, or form beat career politicians in a contest where the professional and experienced should have emerged victorious.

How has he come so far?

The obvious question here is how, and why, did a candidate with no experience succeeded in getting so close to the most accomplished and qualified individual in a national election?

Here is equally important question with as many geopolitical shifts. What is making someone with no experience viable in a geopolitical environment that is the most dangerous since the end of the Cold War?

We will get answers to these questions only at the end of the elections. In American politics 24 hours is a lifetime, and it is difficult to predict what happens between now and the day of the elections. In the current American political spectrum, it is hard to determine where exactly there is a sizable slot of those who reside in the center.

German Philosopher Johann Goethe once said: “Theories are grey but real life is green.” This statement applies the current political environment within the US. The common sentiment beneath the surface in the US, and also other Western countries, is the feeling among many that there is a massive gulf between the rulers and the ruled. If drastic and immediate action is not taken, this gap will only grow and perhaps never fill again.

Those who carry this sentiment believe that their rulers are not only completely indifferent but perhaps do not care at all about their day-to-day wellbeing and legitimate concerns. This gap is interpreted by those being ruled as oozing with disdain and even downright snarky contempt.

Conventional wisdom was turned on its head with the vote by the citizens of Great Britain to leave the European Union. Many deemed it not possible beforehand that modest citizen may simply exercise their right to vote against it.

What will happen in a few hours is anybody’s guess. What does happen will affect everyone from the United States to Ukraine to Aleppo and indeed from Raqqa to Mosul, to Tehran and to the Western Pacific Ocean.


Faisal al-Shammeri is a Saudi writer based in Washington D.C. He can be found on Twitter @Mr_Alshammeri

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