SOROS TELLS OBAMA: NAJIB’S POSITION IS UNSUSTAINABLE, HE WILL TRY TO CLING ON BY BRUTE FORCE & USE OF VIOLENT RACIAL CONFLICT
BELOW ARE THE RECOMMENDATIONS BILLIONAIRE GEORGE SOROS MADE TO PRESIDENT OBAMA IN A MEMO LEAKED BY WIKILEAKS
1) Make the TIP Report independent of political designs The administration’s adoption of the TPP as the cornerstone of its engagement with Malaysia may have led it to miss the opportunity to exercise leadership on democracy and the rule of law. These values have never been more relevant, whether with China’s growing influence or Islamic radicalism in view.
US leadership in Southeast Asia is based on its promotion and underwriting of a rule-based international order. Such leadership, to be credible, needs to also be consistent on matters of fundamental principle.
The United States’ credibility on human trafficking will be but the first casualty of this approach if the TIP Report is not freed from ‘political interference.’ If the standards or rules it offers on fundamental human rights (and economic freedom, in the case of the TPP) are so transparently self-serving, the US will be seen to have less to offer the region than China, with its ‘win-win’, investment driven formula of engagement.
2) Dissociate from Najib…soon
The administration should consider a plan to distance itself from Mr Najib. The open scandal around Najib has spiraled out of control and his position is unsustainable. He is determined to remain in power but can only do so by brute force. If he does ‘survive,’ it will have been by destroying all independent institutions. A focus on the TPP may have lulled the administration into missing the trajectory of this crisis. The administration should understand where the Najib bus is headed, and find a place to get off soon rather than later.
The Sunnylands Summit will bring much attention to ASEAN. Malaysia may draw negative media coverage over 1MDB, rising radicalism,21and the fate of Anwar Ibrahim.
Demand Anwar’s release
At a closed door meeting with Mr. Najib in Kuala Lumpur in November 2015, the President firmly requested the release of Mr. Anwar, on health grounds, for medical treatment in Washington. Najib has not complied. That this is widely known in Malaysia and yet has not been complied with compounds President Obama’s loss of face there.
The request must now be put in firmer terms. For the US, Mr. Anwar’s release for treatment in Washington meanwhile is a ‘no-regrets move’ while the crisis plays out in Malaysia. Malaysia is already in uncharted waters. There is no outcome that will bring back the prior status quo.
If Najib survives, Anwar’s presence in the US would give the administration insight and strategic leverage against the repressive measures Najib is likely to inflict on Malaysians. It would also provide a counter narrative to the Muslim world on the US role vis-a-vis democracy in the Muslim world.
If Najib is forced to step down it could be a chaotic, potentially violent process. Najib is likely to use the emergency security powers he has prepared for himself. He may try to divert the challenge by sparking racial conflict as he has done before. There will be a leadership vacuum. Anwar could play a critical role negotiating a peaceful return to constitutional government and preventing civil strife. Mr. Anwar could also be instrumental in forming a new government. It is important that the liberal and plural values that he stands for be protected.