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The black thread in the White House

It is too early to answer these substantial questions as we are still in the first few days of Trump in power

Turki Aldakhil

Published: Updated:

Donald Trump took oath of office as President of the United States amid a wave of protests and a torrent of criticism voiced through different television channels and media outlets and amid cacophonic left-leaning establishments that have opposed him.

It was a complete ceremony attended by supporters and members of the opposition. Trump’s speech represented his practical agenda and it contained three important points. The first one was the slogan “America First”. He explained it by saying there is decline associated with supporting other powers at America’s expense. It is as if he means NATO and the EU by this and believes that supporting other armies will not be at the expense of the American army.

The second point is related to terrorism which he wants to “eradicate” in cooperating with major countries and superpowers. The third point is related to other civilizations which Trump thinks must work together to confront the culture that supports terrorism.

This statement has stirred controversy among political analysts. Does Trump differentiate between terrorism, which some Muslims practice, and Islam as a religion? It’s too early to answer these substantial questions as we are still in the first few days of Trump in power. Unlike former President Barack Obama, Trump made statements that repeatedly address terrorism supported by Iran. By this, he’s referring to Hezbollah.

Trump’s statements about “America First” take us back to the Eight Predictions made by a group of experts from the Global Future Councils when asked to give their take on the world in 2030.

They said all products will have become services, there will be a global price on carbon, hospitals will be no more and will be replaced by home-spitals, humans will eat much less meat, today’s Syrian refugees will be 2030’s CEOs, humans will be ready to move toward the Red Planet, the values that built the West will have been tested to breaking point and US dominance will be over as there will be a handful of global powers such as Japan and India.

These are the features of the upcoming era. America’s withdrawal from the world has increased during Obama’s term and Trump’s era will not witness the return of continuous intervention or motivation for battles or wars or defense of the persecuted like what happened during the past decade of the 20th century in the Balkans.

A quick evaluation of an administration that will rule the greatest, strongest and richest country is not wise now, not until actions become manifest and not until we can tell the white thread from the black thread in the White House

Turki Aldakhil

Divided opinion

Most analysts are divided between two camps. There are those who are excessively optimistic and think Trump will spend his days as president discussing Arab countries’ and Middle Eastern affairs and there are those who view Trump as a white racist enemy who sees evil in Muslims and hates and despises Arabs.

Truth be told, it is all simpler than all that. Trump is a businessman and his mentality is based on interests. He did mention this in his speeches when he stated relations with countries will only be based on one pillar which is the real interest of the US.
Therefore, our partnership with him may succeed if, on the level of Gulf or moderate countries, we seek common ground that we can launch work from to build a future where there is more interaction between the current American administration and moderate Arab and Muslim powers.

When Obama was inaugurated, people cheered him. Tears were also shed. His speech in Chicago was watched and heard by many. However, the disappointment came later when it turned out he intended to abandon moderate countries and he headed toward Iran and Cuba. He was seemingly oblivious of the history of the US and its emphasis on the point that late academic Fouad Ajami described him as “hopeless.”

A quick evaluation of an administration that will rule the greatest, strongest and richest country is not wise now, not until actions become manifest and not until we can tell the white thread from the black thread in the White House. Trump’s slogan “America First” is a message to the world that the axis of relations with America is interest, and it’s no more, no less.

Trump is neither an angel nor a demon. He is a president contained by institutions and proof to that is how he flirted with the CIA after he was inaugurated and after he had attacked it during the elections. He’s contained by the constitution and by an arsenal of advisors. He’s an exceptional president during a critical phase that we’ve known nothing like in our modern era.

This article was first published in Al Sharq al-Awsat on January 24, 2016.
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Turki Aldakhil is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. He began his career as a print journalist, covering politics and culture for the Saudi newspapers Okaz, Al-Riyadh and Al-Watan. He then moved to pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat and pan-Arab news magazine Al-Majalla. Turki later became a radio correspondent for the French-owned pan-Arab Radio Monte Carlo and MBC FM. He proceeded to Elaph, an online news magazine and Alarabiya.net, the news channel’s online platform. Over a ten-year period, Dakhil’s weekly Al Arabiya talk show “Edaat” (Spotlights) provided an opportunity for proponents of Arab and Islamic social reform to make their case to a mass audience. Turki also owns Al Mesbar Studies and Research Centre and Madarek Publishing House in Dubai. He has received several awards and honors, including the America Abroad Media annual award for his role in supporting civil society, human rights and advancing women’s roles in Gulf societies. He tweets @TurkiAldakhil.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.