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What Trump’s Diagnosis Reveals About the Future of Our Region

What Trump’s Diagnosis Reveals About the Future of Our Region

Al-Etihad, UAE, October 4

The news of President Donald Trump and the first lady being tested positive for coronavirus astonished us all on the morning of October 2. Fortunately, remarkable progress has been made in the development of a cure for the virus, and Trump seems to have reacted well to the treatment he is currently receiving. Still, the news affected the global community almost immediately. One impact was a drop in the price of US stocks and a concurrent decline in oil prices. But the biggest concern was about the upcoming presidential election and the impact of Trump’s illness on his ability to complete his campaign. Reactions to Trump’s diagnosis revealed a lot about current political tensions and polarization in the United States. There were those who expressed their sympathy and wished the president a speedy recovery, while a large portion of Americans celebrated and wished him death. Many expressed their anger at this hatred, including notable American political pundits from the conservative side of the political map. Although Trump’s political rival Joe Biden wished Trump a speedy recovery in a public tweet, many other notable politicians, such as Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and George W. Bush, did not comment right away, leading to widespread resentment among Trump’s supporters. This deep polarization was manifested not only in America but also abroad – including in our region. In the Middle East, everyone is monitoring the elections very closely, fearful of the outcome. Radical groups, supported by Iran, are hoping that Biden wins the election, with the hope that he would restore Obama’s pacificatory foreign policy. As for those who stand against this trend, they hope to see President Trump get re-elected. It is for this reason that the reactions to Trump’s illness differed so dramatically. The source of this polarization lies in the fundamental difference between the two camps on matters pertaining to national security, such as how to deal with extremist regimes and political Islamist groups. Some actually believe that polarization in the US has gotten so bad that American society is on the verge of disintegration. Therefore, we must be prepared and ready to deal with any election outcome, no matter which candidate wins. We will have to solve our own problems, on our own, instead of relying on the United States to do it for us. –Najat Al-Saeed (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

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