The absence of dignity and integrity as displayed in dialogue by a few of the leading candidates running for the U.S. presidency is overwhelmingly alarming to the lions’ share of our international colleagues who are savvy in world affairs. I share this first-hand insight not to be judgmental or personally degrade a presidential candidate, but to present a viewpoint to those who might otherwise not be aware of the strong feelings that persist among many educated foreigners.
I have been asked by friends, colleagues and dignitaries during my recent visit to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates and while in attendance at a conference in S. California last week, which included 200 predominantly international individuals spanning six continents, how such a great country as ours has allowed its reputation to be compromised by candidates’ petty and vicious political rhetoric and does not sensibly focus on major issues facing our country and others.
Regardless of political affiliation, Mr. Trump has been the media-fed target of greatest concern in unsolicited feedback from a cross-section of well-informed individuals because of his hot-headed, unapologetic, egocentric personality and perceived lack of knowledge in both domestic and U.S. foreign policy, and because of the anxiety of possibly having a reactionary Commander-in-Chief. Of no surprise, concern was expressed concerning his ethnic profiling and vacillating stances on issues that run counter to the principles and free society upon which our country operates, and principles which are admired internationally. Comments have included Mr. Trump’s seeming inability to complete a sentence without an explosive inclusion and without continuity of subject matter – perceived to be unsuitable characteristics for the leader of the U.S.
When Mr. Trump called for banning Muslims from entering the U.S. last December, ripple effects were felt within Islamic countries which, incidentally, happen to include approximately 1.5 billion Muslims, or 21% of the global population. As an example, and as reported in Dubai’s Gulf News, Damac Properties, one of the largest developers in Dubai with 2015 revenues of US$2.3 billion, is currently developing an upscale residential community in Dubai that was named Trump International Golf Club until three days after his comments. The Trump name was removed from a stone wall at the entrance to the project and images of Mr. Trump were removed from a nearby billboard.
Yes, it is frustrating, even embarrassing, to listen to remarks from citizens from other countries that question, both subtly and vehemently, the integrity of a future leader of the free world.