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Trump And Mohammed Bin Salman: Button Politics – OpEd


Two things that Americans miss the most are better economic times at home and US global greatness. In essence, Americans miss what their nation used to be.


Domestically, life was not as it had been in recent decades; No longer were RVs and jet skiers in every house and great Christmases and New Years Eve parties were things of the past, etc.

Globally, America had a greater button and everyone knew it. Now even Ecuador, let alone North Korea, dares challenge America.

Who is to blame? Politicians who caused the decline and the Media, which failed to highlight and effectively scrutinize that decline.

It is the politicians who caused the huge budget and trade deficits by allowing all the ‘unfair’ agreements that the US signed. On top of those ‘terrible deals’, it was the politicians who put, others, non-whites, ahead of the interest of the whites by allowing people from ‘shithole’ countries to invade America. The Media was there, but kept dealing the Americans ‘fake news’.

Trump provides the answers to all that is wrong with America in a language that even Klu Klux Klan and NRA members can understand. No political jargon and no complex economic terminology; only pure street talk language.


NAFTA, NATO, Nato, China, aid to third world countries, among other things, have eaten into the pie that should have been mainly for the Americans. It is hard to disagree with that if you are an American, isn’t it?

When Trump tells Kim Jong Un that “my Button is bigger than yours,” one can’t help but think of Clint Eastwood. That is the kind of an image Americans want to be identified by, and that is exactly what Trump promises to deliver. The long lost image of actions and greatness.

As for negative social changes, it is argued that aliens from other countries have brought it to America. Crime and other un-American behavior are squarely the result of welcoming people without proper ‘vetting’, goes the argument.

The solution: Build a huge wall that ensures that all of Latin America stays out. It has worked to keep the Palestinians out of Israel, and it should be just as effective to keep all the opportunist of the South out. As for other ‘shit-holers’, ban them from coming; Simple and clear. For the poor and disenfranchised of America who just manage to get by, that sounds like beautiful music.

Simply put, Trump knows the grievances of America and speaks it in a language they can understand. By addressing the reasons behind the economic decline through breaking past ‘unfair’ contracts and dealings he is mostly touching the feelings of less fortunate America. And by vowing to make America’s button be respected again he addresses the better-off, the racists and ultra nationalists of America.

While the media is focused on Trump’s tweets, weight and his extra-marital affairs with porn stars, Trump appears to be grabbing Americans imagination by the…

While his thinking may or may not have scientific or mathematical backing, it still resonates positively because the majority of Americans are neither economists or sociologists nor do they trust them. They would care less if there is scientific data to the contrary. After all, it is the politicians, economists, sociologists and all the other “ists” and their polished language that landed American where it is today and Trump is none of them.

His much younger friend who is just as inexperienced in politics, Mohammed Bin Salman, is playing the same game. Like the Americans, the Saudis are not having it as easy as before. Unemployment is high, incomes low, inequality on the rise, and not only are state subsidies being phased out, but for the first time taxes are being introduced.

The solution: Divert all the resentment and anger of the public to the filthy rich. The very people that Bin Salman was dining with yesterday are now his enemies. By cracking down on the elite and seizing their wealth and prestige, Bin Salman not only provides the poor of the Kingdom an avenue to vent their resentments, but also comes across as Robin Hood and offers hope.

In essence, Bin Salman is using the public’s vengefulness against the filthy rich to make them see a savior in him. This is the way that rulers distance themselves from the resentment of the masses by putting on a Robin Hood hat. Bin Salman has turned the tables upside down. He is insinuating that while he might be a royal he behaves like none of them. You’ve got to love that type of character, especially if you are poor and uneducated and own only hope.

By allowing women to drive and go to football games, he is projecting an image of a new Saudi Arabia where people enjoy freedoms that they have never dreamed of in the past. The problem with that is that he is undermining the very structure of the Kingdom. The very people he wishes to play the Robin Hood card with are the poor, uneducated and who, under any circumstances, resent being placed at par with women.

Whatever game these two men are playing is working for now. The problem is that they are both incapable of seeing beyond tomorrow and are not equipped to foresee the consequences of their actions to the future generations.

The two leaders understand what words and actions they can employ to get support from the public, but it is absolutely clear that they have no idea where it will lead. What is clear though is that they appear to care less where it leads. Their main concern is only crossing the bridge, not what lays beyond it.

Of course, the danger to the world is that if your foes ignore the size of your button, you may have to press it just a little to prove to them that it does exist and that it is indeed bigger.

The danger to Bin Salman is that Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that effectively belongs to and sets an example to all Muslims. Unhinged freedoms for women, bikini resorts, etc. on the holiest of lands will not go well with millions of Muslims. Bin Salman can play and maneuver as he wishes, but undermining what Islam is about could spell far greater dangers for him and the Kingdom.

Trump might have sold off his casinos, but gambling is in his blood. While he sees in Kim Jong Un a young reckless man with dangerous toys, he is willing to gamble on another young man, Mohammed Bin Salman. Their relationship and style could prove a catalyst for where America, the Middle East and the world are headed.

Zaher Mahruqi

Zaher Mahruqi follows world events, and seeks to shed light on the Arab and Muslim perspectives on regional and world events. The author can be contacted at [email protected]

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