Joyce Karam writes: When Donald Trump announced his candidacy on June 16, 2015, my editors at the London-based pan-Arab newspaper Al-Hayat, like most Americans, shrugged it off. “This is not serious; send something very small to page eight,” I was told.
Nine months later, Trump’s rise is the story in the Middle East when it comes to the American presidential race. My work as a journalist for Al-Hayat sends me traveling frequently in the region, and when people hear I cover US politics, their first instinct has often been to ask me about Donald Trump: “Is Trump for real?” “Why is he winning?” “Is he going to be president?” and “What will happen to us if he does?”
As Trump attracts more support in America, he gets more attention in the Middle East. And there are a few reactions to Trump that I hear over and over. Almost all are negative, some are as much about the US as they are about Trump himself, and all are a revealing look at how the Middle East perceives and thinks about American politics.
Some see in Trump a reflection of their own political figures, from dictators to buffoonish and controversial entertainers. Some take him more seriously and see him, should he become president, as a nightmare for the Middle East. [Continue reading…]