It seems that the president of the United States has chosen to manage the relations between his country and the rest of the world as though he were leading a business rather than a government.
It is this leadership style that was evident following the disappearance (or perhaps killing) of the well-known Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. We don’t want to delve into the details of that incident as the situation is still not entirely clear. Rather, this article is concerned with the U.S. president’s response to this incident.
The perspective of the politician differs from that of the businessman. The former considers all aspects of his decisions such as the social, political and international implications, whereas the latter is satisfied with making financial gain his only priority. The truth is that Donald Trump interacts with the world as though he were leading a big company; he treats his peers (and even U.S. citizens) as customers with whom he has a direct-benefit relationship, and if there is no benefit, he terminates the relationship. He is not very concerned with how the United States, the most powerful country in the world, appears, nor with international norms that go beyond his narrow logic.
Trump’s perspective has been made evident by various events that have taken place since he took office; but this stance was made much more apparent by the Khashoggi case. The only issue that concerned the president of the United States was the potential business the United States would lose, despite the fact that Khashoggi was a permanent resident of the United States. Of course, the U.S. president is not required to get involved in the affairs of any foreign country; however, the decision to intervene is based on two criteria. The first factor is the threat to international peace, given that consulates could no longer be safe for future international interactions. The second factor is the extent to which the standing and influence of the United States is affected, especially since the incident pertains to a resident of the United States.
However, neither of these considerations was in the president’s plan. His view of the matter was limited and fragmented and is representative of his strange new leadership style. Major world powers aren’t accustomed to this style and the dangerous consequences it has, not only for the relationships between countries, but also with respect to interpersonal relationships in general.
The logic of this administration will be very problematic in the long term. Commodifying international relations is the first step in enforcing the “law of the jungle.” Why? Because the prevailing logic of relationships and customs and the limits of what is acceptable and unacceptable between countries will change. It will change from recognizing the international laws and charters accepted by the international community to the pure logic of profitability, the kind that governs commercial and real estate translations.
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