Why Donald Trump is Not Good for Egypt

“Trump is a total badass. I really like the way he speaks…He knows how to deliver his points effectively!” -Some Egyptian dude in Dahab, October 2016, in reference to Trump’s debate performances.

It’s difficult not to be blown away by the number of Egyptians who, in a great spirit of masochism, praise Donald Trump as some kind of rebellious hero. They talk about him as if he’s a challenge to the status quo, claiming he will change the course of U.S. policy toward the Middle East. “At least he’s not Hillary Clinton.” they sneer (although if asked to name a reason for their animosity toward the former Secretary of State, they likely will be unable to deliver).

“Why not”, they ask, “give Trump a chance? Let him show us what he can do. He wants to gut Washington of the political elite!” Sure, Trump isn’t part of the political elite, which these folks criticize for being vulnerable to special interest groups and corporate lobbyists in Washington. What Trump IS a part of, however, is the corporate elite. So, by the above logic, you’d think a situation in which the evil corporate interest is ELECTED DIRECTLY INTO OFFICE would be much worse. Right?

Trump promised to drain the swamp of the political elite and instead replaced it with the corporate elite, a select group of billionaires (collectively worth $4.5 billion USD according to Forbes) and “yes men” who, like abused puppies, will faithfully do their owners’ bidding for better or for worse. In what world does Trump represent a man of the people, let alone a man of the working class when he is so far removed?

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Trump, himself, most famously owns The Trump Organization and controls more than 500 businesses in two dozen countries around the world. As President, he has yet to divest himself and therefore cannot be assumed to be devoid of ulterior motive in regard to his policy decisions. His pick for Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson (not included in the above graphic), was the CEO of Exxon Mobil and the American Petroleum Institute, and like Trump, has zero political experience whatsoever. Betsy DeVos, the recently confirmed Secretary of Education, is the daughter-in-law of Armway’s co-founder and the sister of Blackwater’s founder. Steve Mnuchin, Trump’s pick for Secretary of the Treasury, held a lucrative career at Goldman Sachs before moving on to hedge funds. So much for cutting ties with Wall Street, eh?

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Trump’s Business Interests Worldwide. From Time Magazine, January 2017

That said, Trump is a wildly unstable man who has been widely diagnosed by psychiatrists with malignant narcissism. Just recently, a letter signed by 33 mental health professionals made the rounds, showing exactly what many U.S. citizens (the 53% who voted for Hillary and many others who voted third party or chose not to vote at all) feared: That our President is mentally ill. Just a quick glance at his Twitter feed, and the diagnosis is easily observable, evidenced by his obsession with his own popularity and the legitimacy of his win.

What’s that? You don’t see it? Ask yourself why.

If you don’t see a problem with Trump’s erratic behavior and dictatorial tactics, you may need to take a good, hard look in the mirror. Could it be, perhaps, that you share some of the same qualities as America’s new Supreme Leader? If you don’t feel for the many people who’ve been threatened or affected by Trump’s policies, perhaps it’s because you, like Trump, lack empathy. Perhaps you’ve managed to rationalize putting your own self-interest above others, an act that is rooted in the self-defeating and anti-democratic worldview, similar to that of Trump, that life is a zero-sum game: one person’s gain is another person’s loss.

Trump will be good for the Middle East. He’ll be more hands off than previous U.S. presidents.” First of all, if you hadn’t heard, Trump thinks that by virtue of being brown and Muslim, you’re more likely to be a terrorist and should be subject to more intensive vetting procedures. He believes, furthermore, that only Muslims can be responsible for terrorism, as evidenced by his administration’s recently released (and debunked) list of terrorist attacks not reported by the media. All of these claims come in the face of real facts showing that only a small number of terrorist attacks in the U.S. were committed by foreign nationals; most were committed by U.S. born citizens.

What will it take for you to admit that Trump is a racist who is not good for you nor any Muslim? What will you say if Muslims are asked to register? Where will you stand if he orders internment camps against Muslims similar to the ones employed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt against the Japanese (62% of which were U.S. citizens) during World War II? He’ll do his best to make it sound justified…The question is will you fall for it?

Photo by Wio News
Photo by Wio News

There are very few things about the Trump administration that look promising to Egypt. Although it’s not likely that Trump will take away Egypt’s $2.2 billion annual aid package (given the good relationship between Trump and Sisi) Trump has shown ambivalence toward the human rights abuse clause that has traditionally been attached to the package. Do you care about human rights abuses? Then again, it’s easy for Egypt’s elite to roll in $$$$ protected by Sisi while Muslims in Trump’s America face mass discrimination.

Do you claim to care about Palestine? During Trump and Netanyahu’s joint press conference last month, Trump all but scrapped traditional U.S. policy supporting the two-state solution, saying passively that it’s up to Israeli and Palestinian negotiators to decide.

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Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Furthermore, David Friedman, Trump’s pick for ambassador to Israel, has caused outcry among Palestinian activists and liberal Jews in the U.S. alike. Why? Because Friedman is a known extremist when it comes to the Israel policy and raised millions of dollars for the construction of a Faculty Building on the illegal Israeli settlement of Beit Al near Ramallah. According to Friedman, Palestinian statehood an “illusion”, the two-state solution as a “scam”, his liberal Jewish critics are “kapos”, and Israel has a God-given right to settle the Palestinian West Bank (which he refers to by its biblical name “Judea and Samaria”). Can you imagine how he views Muslims?

It is interesting how the members of Egypt’s elite who support Trump for the “good of Egypt” (ignoring the fact that he regularly threatens minorities in the U.S.) are the same ones who utterly slammed the U.S.’s “hypocritical” decision to support Morsi in 2012 because they felt he was threatening their freedom.

Egyptian Trump supporters, it’s time to wake up. Even if you’re just self-interested and don’t actually care about other human beings, please realize this: Your interests do not line up with Trump’s interests (whatever they may be at this particular moment in time). He will throw you under the bus in a second if you are unlucky enough to get in the way of his “tremendous” plans. Trump is for Trump, not anyone else.

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