With the elections looking more and more like a battle between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, one has to wonder which of two will actually be better for the Middle East. Hillary Clinton certainly has the experience in the political realm that Trump lacks, but no one can forget the travesty of Benghazi or (more recently in the news) the email scandal. It seems that her experience in politics (both foreign and domestic) are tainted, leaving people to wonder about who is the superior option for the Middle East conundrum, Clinton or Trump.
When dealing with an area like the Middle East, it is important that they key players from the United States know what they are doing, so experience in foreign politics is paramount. A recent poll from Israel’s Channel 1 said found that fifty-one percent of respondents felt that both are better than Obama for Israel. On the other hand twenty-six percent said there would not be a change.
It is no secret that there has been tension between the Obama administration and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Though Clinton appears to be pro-Israel with her rhetoric, everyone still remembers that she served as Obama’s Secretary of State from 2009 until 2013. While Trump has declared in April that allies of the United States have not paid ‘their fair share’ for security. This is an issue because Israel receives more military aid than any other country.
So who does Israel consider to be the better candidate? Even though Trump stated that he would be neutral in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, sixty-two percent of Israeli Jews in the Israel Democracy Institute’s poll say that Trump is more ‘committed to safeguarding Israel’s security’, whereas forty-eight percent feel that Clinton ‘would block any attempt to attack or isolate Israel.’ Even with the difference in those numbers the same poll shows that between Clinton and Trump, Israel prefers Clinton.
Israel is not the only nation in the Middle East with an opinion on American politics. Iran feels that Clinton is the better option between the two. Hillary Clinton after all had a big hand in getting the nuclear deal with Iran signed. She pointed out at MSNBC’s Democratic forum, ‘I spent 18 months putting together the sanctions against Iran so that we could force them to the negotiating table.’ Donald Trump has been adamant in his criticisms for the unsigned and often broken deal.
There are some like Republican Senator John McCain that feel neither Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump have the ‘necessary strategy and outlook’ needed to be a successful commander and chief. Senator Lindsey Graham goes further stating that the comments Donald Trump has made in the past on accepting the Syrian regime ‘ tells me he has no idea what that means for the region’.
Senator McCain prefers a more direct approach to the Middle East. ‘What we need to do is go to Raqqa and kill them…go take them out in Raqqa where they are now basing most of these , or at least some of these attacks. Once the ground war is won, a battle for the hearts and minds of the people can begin. And then get into the long ideological struggle to defeat this metastasizing evil that is afflicting all of the Middle East and parts of the world.’ It is important to note that though McCain and Trump have not seen eye to eye on issues, he will support the GOP and vote for Trump.
Iran prefers Clinton, and Israel is mainly split but leans towards Clinton. So who is better for the Middle East? Setting aside the fact that some of the Middle East nations treat women as second class citizens with little to no rights and that in the more Orthodox (Jewish) sections they do not show women in a newspaper, the experience that Clinton has over Trump is exponential. Her husband was a great ally of Israel and knows how to handle difficult issues in the Middle East. The big question to really determine who will be better is who Trump and Clinton choose as their running mate. Trump has stated that he wants someone with experience in politics that can help govern.
If Trump chooses the proper vice presidential candidate instead of someone who will only be loyal to what he says than his experience in business and negotiations could help solve some of the big issues that the Middle East faces. One of the most important things a president or any leader needs to do is surround him/herself with people that will advise them properly and not say only what the leader wants to hear. A true leader needs to be able to listen to their advisors and make decisions that will help their nation succeed and prosper. In the business world Trump succeeded at just that, even though he has also failed.
Hillary Clinton, though she won her seat in politics, and was the Secretary of State from 2009 until 2013 has had some tremendous failures that show he inability to form a competent foreign policy. Her response to the issue was to lay blame on Congress via Twitter ‘A lesson from Benghazi: Congress needs to do its part to ensure that our diplomats in dangerous parts of the world are as safe as possible.’
There is a back and forth to who will be the better option for the Middle East. No one has a crystal ball or the ability to see the future. Ron Schleifer, a senior lecturer from Ariel University has said it best, ‘It is the devil we know or the devil we don’t know. That is basically the question everyone is asking themselves.’