Alexis Papachelas ALEXIS PAPACHELAS

‘Our’ guy and the ‘other’

COMMENT

TAGS: Politics, Diplomacy

Could Donald Trump win the US election? It’s possible. The same anti-systemic wave that has swept through Europe is now rocking the boat of the US political system. The Republican candidate is similar in ways to Ronald Reagan, whose political opponents used to refer to as the “Teflon president,” because no accusations of wrongdoing ever stuck. The US establishment is terrified and trying to unnerve Trump – to no avail so far. Hillary Clinton is part of the old establishment and is failing to galvanize voters. The middle class is angry and stagnant and Trump’s style is getting through to it.

Meanwhile, Democratic officials are getting worried as they watch members of traditional unions flirting with the Republican candidate.

What kind of President would Trump be if elected? It’s hard to tell. Every White House occupant is accountable to a system of checks and balances that does not allow them to do as they please. The only areas in which they make their own decisions is defense and foreign policy, which, of course, could determine the fate of the entire planet. Many believe that similarly to Reagan, Trump would adopt a more realistic policy if elected. Should this happen, it would be a shock to the susceptibilities of the Old Continent.

Beyond the extreme rhetoric, however, another point of interest are Trump’s views with regard to Muslims and the migration issue.

The conservative politician has openly linked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Islamic State, something which is discussed behind closed Washington doors but never in public. He believes the US must figure things out with Russia and avoid the escalation of a new Cold War, while he also thinks it necessary to back President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, as he believes that without him Egypt’s, and the entire region’s stability, would be at risk.

The Greek-American community and whatever is left of the Greek-American lobby are backing Clinton. The late Archbishop Iakovos of America would have urged the establishment of communication channels with the Republican candidate.

I strongly remember the day he called me to his office after I had written a story in which I criticized him for publicly supporting George W. Bush, more than his Greek-American opponent, Michael Dukakis.

“Listen son, if our guy gets elected, we’ll be fine,” he said, before adding: “But if the other guy wins, do you have any idea how much he will appreciate the fact that I helped him?” Well, the other guy won and Iakovos ended up enjoying unprecedented White House access.

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