Beyond Trump’s Threat: A Time for Action!

By Jumana Ghunaimat

تم نشره في Sat 23 December / Dec 2017. 01:00 AM - آخر تعديل في Sun 24 December / Dec 2017. 03:49 AM
  • Jumana Ghunaimat


How will Jordan overcome the suspension of US aid, should President Trump make good on his threat?


A few days ago Trump threated all who vote in favour of the UNGA Jerusalem Resolution, which rejects Trump’s earlier declarations, to cut aid.


In Jordan’s case, the Unite States is the Kingdom’s top donor, and it is no secret that Jordan has been facing a growing deficit, even with the States’ continued annual support.


How will Jordan fair if Uncle Sam should keep his word?!


This is perhaps the Jordanians’ most pressing question at this point.


The decision was made and non-negotiable. Jordan’s stance is principally immovable. The Americans were informed of our stand, clearly and early on; no concessions will be afforded in regards to Jerusalem, not now or ever.


It is very likely that Jordan will pay the price for such a steadfast position in the face of Trump’s bullying. Jordanians, however, are beginning to realise that and are preparing for it.


Jordan and Palestine are the leading catalysts in the global wave that struck down Trump’s rash and reckless aspirations. It is only natural that such a stand will have consequences.


Meanwhile, the recession of aid is not entirely new to Jordan.


Jordan’s dependency on aid was obviously coming to an end, as other Arab states have turned their backs to us long before the US ever considered doing so.


Recently, the Gulf Grant was suspended, after years of support from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) through the years of the “Arab Spring”.


The first to suspend support was Qatar, who failed to meet their USD1.25 billion commitment to Jordan.


Either way, nothing so far indicates the US Administration intends to carry out its President’s threat.


However, this doesn’t mean that it is likely to happen at any given point.


The future, in this regards, is open to all possible scenarios.


One possibility is that Jordan will keep receiving US aid for the next few years. It is possible that the US agrees to sign the pending 5-year aid commitment plan to an undisclosed annual figure.


There are strategic Jordanian-American interests and relations based on mutual benefits. Jordan’s role in this relationship is not only to receive aid.


Jordan plays a vital role in the attainment of common interests. Much of it favour of American interests!


The worst case scenario is that Trump does keep his word, which further complicates an already entangled economic situation.


US annual support amounts to more than USD1.2 billion, USD475 million of which go directly to supporting the budget bill. The rest goes to military aid and developmental projects channelled through the US Agency for International Development (USAID). Not to mention that the US is one of Jordan’s primary credit guarantor.


If that were to happen, honestly, it will make things worse, especially with the other grants from the EU and Japan being so limited. In this case, the next few years will be even harsher than we anticipated. More so a reason to declare a state of economic emergency, even ahead of the storm!


We do not know for sure what US intentions are at this point, but there is growing internal opposition to providing further financial aid to Jordan. It has been growing over the recent years.


Jordan’s stand in the face of the US now will only give those voice more reason to grow.


Government officials say that US statesmen have openly expressed their frustration with their country’s aid commitments to Jordan over these last few months.


They have often asked, “when will Jordan’s dependency on US aid ever come to an end? When will Jordan be able to rely on its own financial resources?”


The point is that Trump’s threats, in light of the recent suspension of Arab aid and grants, renders Jordan alone, both politically and economically.


Naturally, this is a reality that requires radical recalculations and a new approach to mitigate threats, regional and foreign. All the more reason to depend on ourselves as well, whether or not Trump suspends aid!


It would be wise to expedite domestic economic reforms and developments. We must propose a different, new business model!


Jordanians today stand united in the face of all threats. Our stand is unwavering and we need to maintain our course, whilst simultaneously building for economic independence.


By doing so, we protect our strategic national interests and remove all sources of threats. But we can only do so by turning inwards for change and progress, while maintaining long-term, alliances with allies who do not resort to arm bending and threats.


Short of the circumstances, this might actually be an opportunity, a historic moment of alignment, a precursor for us to build a strong, independent economy. We have the means for it, and frankly, it is about time.


We need to recalculate, both domestically and regionally, to reinforce our security and stability and strengthen its foundations against all and any threats!


It is but a reality postponed, constituting the pressing need for us to depend on ourselves for a change. We have seen this coming for a few years now, and this time we should act not react.

This article is an edited translation of the Arabic version, published by AlGhad.