Harshit Rai is a third year student at the Symbiosis Law School, Pune.
The presidential election in United States, last year was charged with divisive politics, with Trump’s focus on the elimination of “radical Islamic terrorism” at all costs. His pre-poll promise included taking radical measures against immigration and ending terrorism. In this context Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia gained more importance. It tested the anti-radical Islam rhetoric of president Trump on practical grounds of diplomacy and set the tone at which the policy of Trump administration will operate in continuation of his election promise.
Trump on his maiden visit to Saudi Arabia exhorted leaders to get rid of extremists asking them to “drive them (extremists) out of places of worship, drive them out of communities and drive them out of this earth.” Even as he expressed United States interest in working with Middle Eastern Nations in partnership, he put the responsibility on countries to eradicate terror.  This address is significant, as it not only draws the outline of the future partnership between the countries in Trump administration, but also marks a departure from the policy of United States during the Obama years. Democracy and Human Rights found no mention in Trump’s address.
“We are not here to lecture, we are not here to tell other people how to live, what to do, how to be or how to worship”, he said.  Though Obama in his speech in Cairo acknowledged that United States could not claim to know what is best for everyone, he reposed his faith in democratically elected governments and protection of Human Rights. He underscored the need for increased co-operation with countries to build educational and medical infrastructure. Obama’s speech was a milestone in the history of American diplomacy. It acknowledged that 9/11 triggered certain acts by the government which were regrettable. He expressed that torture practices in Guantanamo bay had to be stopped and forces returned. Engagement with Iran and the culmination of a nuclear deal was a remarkable achievement of the Obama tenure.  Trump, however made his stance clear in Riyadh while bashing Iran declaring it to be “ungrateful” towards the US government.