Get real, Donald Trump!

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I love Donald Trump; don’t get me wrong! He is a great America president, and he has done great things in just a couple of years. His solutions to tough issues, like terrorism, North Korea and Iran, are thorough, strong and effective.

Still, I cannot overlook some of his flaws. He seems to be theatrical at times, to an unbearable level. I understand that his style got him elected to the White House. I do appreciate that he is a pragmatic businessman. And that his voters like it that way.

But, hey! He is already there. It is about time he became more presidential. The world that laughed at his speech in the United Nations is looking forward to a more serious posture. This is the United States of America we are talking about! This is the leader of the Free World and the engine of its train of progress. Once you sit behind that desk in the Oval Office, we, the human race, expect a moral authority to rise above all trivialities, personalities and egos.

No, I don’t mean to be like Obama. I never like smooth salesmen of great but false promises. We had enough of slick diplomacy with shallow, if not wicked, politics. With Trump, what you see is what you get. I love that about him - most of the time. I don’t expect perfection. We are but humans. However, I do expect principles, I do demand principles that fits the beacon of freedom, justice and humanity, “the land of the free and the home of the brave” – one of the greatest nations on earth.

With that in mind, imagine my shock to read that the leader of such a great country is demanding money for protection! Is basically saying the best army in the world is merely guns for hire!

Strong-arm tactics might work for a while. You may get tons of dollars in the form of concessions, exports and jobs. You may win the hearts and minds of a good part of your fellow countrymen. In four years, you would probably guarantee your reelection. But, by then, you would have run your course and be out of luck. By then, you would have united the world against you. And by then, it might be too late to repair the damage to your national prestige and standing. And that won’t be Fake News!

Dear Donald Trump, I cannot thank you enough for standing up to global terrorism, because this is a matter of principle. I cannot express how much I appreciate your admirable stand against the sponsors of terror, hatred and division, because that is a matter of principle. I valued your approach to the Muslim world after meeting with its leaders, here in Riyadh, and agreeing on a new phase of cooperation against the ills and threats to all nations. I particularly valued your respect and appreciation for the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, and America’s most trusted partner and friend, Saudi Arabia.

Still, you seem to have missed some important facts about us. Our proud nation has always stood shoulder to shoulder with its allies - never above, nor beneath. We have always carried our weight, supported our friends, and stood by our principles. Even when we were not rich and during rough times, we never asked for nor accepted charity from anyone, including your government. We paid our way, and gave more than yours to help others.

We take our security seriously. Since our nation’s birth, 300 years ago, we have defended our borders, maintained our internal security, and have had enough left to support our neighbors. Yes, we imported armaments from advanced industries, like yours, but we paid for them in full. We hired trainers, but ultimately, it was our soldiers, not yours, who fought for our independence and security. There are no foreign military bases on our sacred land, not yours, not others.

Now let us be realistic, Mr. Businessman. We are buyers not sellers. We are free to buy from you and from others. You need our cash as much as we need your fighter jets. We favored your products because we believed you were more of an ally than others. But we have never been short of markets.

The security of the Arabian Gulf and Red Sea is as important to us as it is to you. Others pay to secure their global interests; you are lucky that you don’t - not here at least.

Mr. President, you may still count on our loyalty; but, please, sir, don’t ever bet on our patience! An Arab lives or dies on matters of dignity and principles.

— Dr. Khaled M. Batarfi is a Saudi writer based in Jeddah. He can be reached at: Kbatarfi@gmail.com Follow him on Twitter: @kbatarfi


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