By Oscar Clifford-Smith
Donald Trump’s executive order, signed on Friday, which banned nationals of seven Muslim majority countries from entering the United States (albeit temporarily), has ruffled the feathers of large sections of the American and International community. The nations chosen, along with exemptions for those belonging to minority religions within these nations, is the antithesis to America’s religious freedom foundations. Many world leaders have rushed to condemn the executive order while some have downplayed its impact. Meanwhile, the UK’s Theresa May and Australia’s Malcolm Turnbull have shamefully refused to condemn the action. Amongst all the noise however, it’s important to take a look at what the intentions of Trump’s new refugee policy actually are.
The seven countries listed in the visa ban are Yemen, Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Syria, Sudan and Libya. The Trump administration’s argument is that citizens of these countries are a threat to US national security so should not be allowed entry. However, no citizen of these nations has been responsible for a fatal attack on US soil in 40 years. Perhaps the administration has (alternate) facts about these countries that they have yet to divulge? They couldn’t possibly have been chosen because a) Mr Trump has no business interests in these countries and b) globally they are relatively small powers which the United States can deal without.
Now lets look at some majority Muslim nations that did not make the list. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates. 15 of the September 11 hijackers were Saudi citizens, 2 were from the UAE and the other two were Egyptian and Lebanese. Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkey and Indonesia also did not make the list. Citizens of these countries have been responsible for terror attacks on US soil or have very real issues with extremism. The Boston marathon bombing was orchestrated by brothers of Russian decent so why not them?
Doesn’t add up does it? That’s because the countries on the ban list were not chosen for security reasons. They are simply easy targets. Pakistan and Afghanistan are viewed as strategic military allies. Meanwhile, President Trump has too many business interests in Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt, the UAE and Indonesia. Interests he has indicated he has no intention of ever placing in a blind trust. He’s not going to jeopardise these in the name of something as irritating as ‘national interest’.
Friday’s executive order needs to be viewed as a PR stunt. The executive order is temporary, while the countries chosen are meaningless in terms of potential threats to US soil. But if you fire up large sections of the international community and the media, you look like you’re doing something right? And it is this impression that is crucial to Trump if he wants to enact his sinister agenda.
What many people seem to forget is thought bubble/Presidential candidate Trump said he was going to do something like this all along. All the way back in November 2015, Trump refused to rule a Muslim registry in or out. Then a temporary Muslim ban was floated. This ban then became temporary. His position constantly shifted throughout the campaign. This legislative ambiguity is classic Trump, but you can’t argue that something wasn’t on the cards. His many statements throughout the long campaign confirmed that he was gunning for Muslims. As with pretty much everything about the 45th President, no one knew for sure what the plan was, but the agenda was clear as day.
To get elected, Trump used the politics of division to fire up a section of the American voters. He owes them. And now he’s been elected, he appears to be following through on the basic premise of one of his thought bubbles. The immigration restrictions on 7 Islamic majority nations is the Administration telling their base “You got what you wanted! Now look away while I make your beloved institutions great again/redundant!”