What do the presidential polls mean for the Middle East?

What do the presidential polls mean for the Middle East?

By Opinions

Published: Tue 8 Nov 2016, 3:39 PM

Last updated: Tue 8 Nov 2016, 6:04 PM

As the US goes to polls today, Khaleej Times spoke with some leading academics and opinion makers in the region. Here is what they said.
Hillary is easy to work with, says Abdul Khaleq Abdulla
This is going to be a very tight race. American presidential elections always go right down to the wire. Everyone is tuned into these ballots. People in the Middle East and the UAE are following the developments with some degree of anticipation and anxiety. Personally I support Hillary Clinton. Her candidature has the support of a majority of people in the Gulf States. There are reasons for this. Not only is she the most qualified of the two candidates, she has both - experience and credibility on her side. Clinton is familiar and understands the problems of the US and the world. I root for Clinton because I find her companionable. She is a known figure around major global capitals and people find her reliable. On the other hand, Trump fails to excite anyone. His win will take the US down a path of uncertainty in turbulent times. Already America under President Obama was difficult. Trump will make things much more difficult. He has been known to say one thing today and altogether another, the next morning. His stance on key issues is zigzag and unreliable. The world will be better off if it wakes up to Clinton as the president-elect on November 9.
The writer is a professor of Political Science and Chairman of the Arab Council for Social Sciences.
A Catch-22 situation, says Dr Ebrahim Rashed Al Hosani
Choosing between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is a very tough call. I don't have any particular endorsement for either because both the candidates have nothing substantial - in terms of policy for the Middle East. It is a fact that both presidential candidates are disliked by a majority of Americans. Trump for his boorishness and Clinton for being a status-quoist. What do you expect someone from the region to make of it? Frankly both fail to impress. Be it their foreign policies and plans or their views about the region - there is not much hope. Trump is an outright embarrassment - with his views on minorities, people of other ethnicities, women and the American allies. Hillary, although more experienced of the two, hasn't come out shining. I don't think she would deviate much from President Obama's foreign policy positions, which have been very weak and mostly knee-jerk. Be it Syria, Palestine or Lebanon, the Americans have basically let everyone down. There is an apprehension that a Clinton administration might not be too radically different from its predecessor, especially when it comes to dealing with the Arab world. For me the choice in these elections was shoddy.
The writer is a visiting professor at Media department, College of Media and Social Sciences, Ajman University
Why we are so keyed up? Asks Mohammed Al-Odadi
I am amazed by the attention and focus that the US elections are evincing in this part of the world. In many ways I find it quite ironical. This is an American election; it is about that country, their problems and complexities. The interest people have shown here is strange. Why are we dying to know who the next occupant of the White House is going to be? Why are we so captivated by these elections? It is America's destiny, not ours. Our destiny should be ours. I am not excluding the enormous power - both hard and soft - that America yields in the world - including the Middle East. We need to have clarity about the way their democratic system works. There is a notion that if Trump becomes the president, he will upset the apple cart. Sometimes we misconstrue the powers of the US president. America has its institutional checks ad balances in place. The decision to go to war, for instance, is not presidential but congressional. In hindsight Trump is nasty and Hillary is basically not going to be at variance with the policies of the incumbent. It does not inspire much hope but that is the reality of these elections.
 




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