News from the Arab Press

The key to understanding Donald Trump

March 8, 2017


Al-Nahar, Lebanon, March 2

The two months that passed since President Trump first stepped into office have been characterized by a fervent media frenzy. Much of it – perhaps most if it – is understandable and warranted: the president has made countless remarks and passed numerous policies that should be of concern to every American. However, I can’t help but think that some of the hype we are witnessing is caused by our failure to understand how Trump operates. Let us start from the end: Trump is a stubborn, egotistic and narcissistic human being, who has very little, if any, experience as a politician. This might help us understand why his clashes with the media are not much different to his clashes with everyone else around him – including those he respects and likes. Take, for example, Trump’s own Republican Party, which the President has no interest in upsetting. Trump could have chosen a thousand targets to engage in confrontation with other than the GOP’s old-time symbol Senator John McCain. But to everyone’s disbelief, Trump did exactly that. Not because he is a stern ideologue, but because he doesn’t know any better. The same goes for the Australian prime minister, whom Trump publicly offended during his first week in office. Australia is one of the United States’ closest allies. Trump could have chosen a thousand other countries to critique, but he didn’t understand that in politics and diplomacy, one cannot simply go on a whim. And then there’s Trump’s notorious speech at the CIA headquarters, in which the President criticized George W. Bush for not taking over Iraqi oil fields. Trump’s modus operandi is to act as if he is still working in his office at the top floor of the Trump Tower. He understands neither the repercussions of his actions, nor their magnitude. Luckily for him – and for all of us in the world – Trump is surrounded by a few experienced strongmen who can tame him. These are Secretary Mattis, Secretary Tillerson, and CIA Director Pompeo, without whom Trump cannot make a single decision. Instead of feeding off of this hype and giving Trump the attention he craves, let us be wiser. We can keep scrutinizing the President’s actions, while realizing that the only beneficiary of this media frenzy is Trump himself. — Ahmad Faraj

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