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memri
September 26, 2019 No.
8294

Influential UAE Businessman Al-Habtoor: President Trump Is Unfit To Lead The Free World

In an op-ed titled "Wanted: A New Leader For The 'Free World'" in the Saudi-based English daily Arab News, the influential UAE businessman Khalaf Al-Habtoor voiced his grave disappointment with U.S. President Donald Trump, saying that he had had "high hopes" for this presidency but that these hopes had been dashed. Harshly criticizing Trump's inconsistency and his penchant for alienating allies while cozying up to enemies, he stated that as a result of his numerous policy pivots, America's adversaries – notably Iran – were not taking his threats seriously. He added that "money talks loudest in the Trump White House" and that "even the most disreputable can win his favor with an offer of billions of dollars' worth of investments or weapons purchases" – citing as an example Trump's relationship with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, whom the president had once accused of funding terrorism.


Trump with Al-Thani (Source: Aljazeera.com)

Below are excerpts from Al-Habtoor's op-ed:[1]

"I once had high hopes for U.S. President Donald Trump. I appreciated his big personality, positive outlook, and business acumen. He enticed the leaders of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Egypt early in his presidency with promises to be the 'great defender' against Iranian aggression and his vow to cleanse the region of terrorism. I had high hopes for President Trump and, sad to say, they have all been dashed...

"Trump is a maestro of making threats and promises that change on a dime. His policy U-turns, inability to discern fact from fiction, and withdrawal from U.S. commitments on a range of issues have been wake-up calls.

"He initially billed himself as an anti-war leader pledging to bring home U.S. troops from Middle East conflict zones. The troops remain. U.S. bases have increased. And, since he grew comfortable in his Oval Office chair, he has been provoking leaders, some with access to a nuclear button, in the mistaken belief they will capitulate to his demands. How is that working for him?

"In the trade war, China's President Xi Jinping shows no signs of rolling over. On the contrary, he is matching U.S. tariffs blow for blow.

"North Korea's Kim Jong Un is clearly unimpressed with Trump's honeyed approach; he demands action in the form of sanctions relief before engaging in further face-to-face talks.

"Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro has hung on to his chair despite the Trump administration's far-reaching attempts to replace him.

"Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has refused to return to the table or meet with his American counterpart to renegotiate the nuclear deal as long as anti-Iranian sanctions persist. Trump has threatened Iran with obliteration. Iran's Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammed Javad Zarif now threatens all-out war if struck in response to his country's alleged role in airstrikes on two Saudi oil facilities.

"How can we put our trust in such an inconsistent character? He could force countries into the position where they will have to take sides and then stand on the sidelines watching, or – in the worst-case scenario – decide to help our enemies.

"The 'great defender' treats friendly heads of state with disrespect as though they are underlings who exist only to do his bidding, and those he has targeted with insulting tweets are seen during press conferences groveling before him.

"Trump's message to all knocking at his door is 'pay up or else. Money talks loudest in the Trump White House. Even the most disreputable can win his favor with an offer of billions of dollars' worth of investments or weapons purchases. They vie with each other as to who can come up with the biggest enticements. He has given deeper meaning to the saying 'there is no such thing as a free lunch....'

"Frankly, his behavior hardly befits the world's greatest democracy, which was founded on the unshakeable values that are enshrined in the U.S. Constitution and the rule of law.

"There are exceptions. This 'America First' president reserves his charm offensives for the likes of his friend Kim who, while testing ballistic missiles, sends him 'beautiful letters,' or Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom U.S. intelligence agencies accuse of meddling in the 2016 election. He fawns all over Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, whom he once charged with funding terrorism, because, in his book, who cares as long as the billions keep rolling in."

"And not forgetting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the recipient of the U.S. president's most spectacular gifts – Jerusalem and the occupied Golan Heights. And, if Netanyahu had been re-elected, he would have received Trump's blessing to annex the Jordan Valley, part of the Dead Sea, and all Jewish colonies in the West Bank. However, Trump is allergic to losers. If his buddy facing three corruption cases falls on his face, the U.S. president will not be picking him up..."

 

[1] Arabnews.com, September 26, 2019.