Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad launched an attack against the US on his blog, Chedet.cc. Is this a preview of what to expect at the APEC meeting in Malaysia?
He says the US is a powerful country that could wipe humanity from the surface of the planet. But they must not forget their defeat in Vietnam.
He recalls how the US was defeated by “black pajama-clad unimpressive undersized Vietnamese.”
Mahathir also reminded the US of the mess they made in Iraq, a war that has not really ended he says.
This is Dr Mahathir’s reaction to the US killing of the Iranian general General Qasem Suleimani.
The post is republished in full in news portals, but we ask the question. Is this salvo a taste of what we will see during the APEC summit in November?
PRESSURE TO QUIT
That is if Dr Mahathir is still the Prime Minister by then. In this case, is this attack against the US a sign that Dr Mahathir will be quitting soon?
The elderly statesman is facing a full-blown revolt in the Pakatan Harapan coalition. The members of Anwar Ibrahim’s party are ganging against him.
They want a fixed timeline for his departure in May. According to Anwar’s sources, the May 2020 deadline for Mahathir to quit was agreed by the Pakatan.
But Mahathir’s party members and some PKR members, including the powerful Minister of Economic Affairs Azmin Ali, denies this.
Nevertheless, Mahathir is now at cross-roads. Leaving power in May will deny him the historic role of hosting the APEC twice in his career.
The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation is an inter-governmental forum in the Pacific Rim. The US is one of the 21 member countries.
The State Department says the US works within APEC to prevent threats to sustainable growth. As a regional leader, it counters the dangers of diseases and the defends the integrity of financial systems.
THE TRUMP EFFECT
But under President Donald Trump, this is not exactly the case. The American leader does not like such groupings where the US will have to give more and take back less.
Mahathir has already made it clear that he does not like Trump. During the KL Summit, Dr Mahathir told the media if he could, he would impose sanctions on Trump.
This in response to the sanctions the Trump administration imposes on its foes, including Iran. Mahathir has also called Trump and international bully.
At the APEC 2017 in Vietnam, Trump attacks countries “cheating” America and and not “playing by the rules”. He launched a tirade against predatory economic policies by some countries.
What will Trump do if he decides to come to Malaysia for APEC 2020? No one knows. But if he comes, and Mahathir is still Prime Minister, it might flare-up just like in 1998.