Soros VS Trump: Ideological Battle or Sole Aspiration for Power?

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A philanthropist, a businessman or a state splitter? George Soros is often characterized by these and many other descriptions. George Soros is the man who has a peculiar influence on the political realities of many countries worldwide and generates concerns about his actions in those countries. He is well-known for the activity of his Open Society Foundations, with the help of which large financial flows are directed to many countries. These foundations act in more than 120 countries and an amount of $15.2 billion has been spent up today, while George Soros personally has spent more than $32 billion. A question arises about what aims this rich Hungarian Jew Businessman is pursuing. As a man of liberal ideology George Soros has put all his efforts to finance liberal values in ‘’closed societies’’, more specifically in post-socialist and Eastern European countries. His ideological inspiration was found in the classic book of Carl Popper  “The Open Society and its Enemies”, which according to Soros ‘’had made a profound impression’’ on him.

George Soros thinks that the main purpose of human existence is to create a world which is not comprised of sovereign states but of global community, the members of which have a perception of having equal interests in freedom, equality and prosperity. In his opinion, the creation of global community is the only way to fight such kind of existential challenges as climate change and nuclear proliferation. 

George Soros’s activity in different countries results in some legislative acts which forbid or restrict his activity there. In those countries Soros’s character is being demonized at state level. Let’s observe the countries where this tendency is present. First-Hungary, the birthplace of of Soros. The Open Society Foundation was established in Hungary in 1984. But today’s Prime Minister of Hungary has a negative perception of Soros’s activity in Hungary, in spite of the fact that in 1989 he received a scholarship from Soros to study at Oxford University. Even while being in the opposition, his small underground foundation ‘’Századvég’’ published critical newspapers, created on a copy machine that was paid for by Soros. In recent years Orban started a campaign against Soros. In June Hungary passed a legislative act called “Stop Soros” law. Crafted by Orban himself, it created a new crime, called “promoting and supporting illegal migration,” banning organizations from helping undocumented immigrants. Under the new law, distributing information about the asylum process or giving migrants financial help, could result in a 12-month jail sentence. It is notable, that Orban considers the promotion of the migration as a threat to national security and George Soros as the main contributor to that threat. Indeed, Soros has financed some human rights organizations on the migration issues. “Stop Soros law” was passed on the international day of migration, five days after Orban had a telephone conversation with Trump. 

Moreover, following the 2018 elections the Open Society Foundation moved from Budapest to Berlin, trying to avoid the prosecution of Orban’s government. The campaign against Soros was accompanied by the distribution of billboards throughout the country in which it was written, “We shall not let Soros have the last laugh.” The Israel’s ambassador to Hungary referring to this billboard issued a statement saying it “evokes sad memories but also sows hatred and fear”. This statement was immediately followed by the clarification issued by the Israel’s MFA; “Israel deplores any expression of anti-Semitism in any country and stands with Jewish communities everywhere in confronting this hatred. This was the sole purpose of the statement issued by Israel’s ambassador to Hungary. In no way was the statement meant to delegitimize criticism of George Soros, who continuously undermines Israel’s democratically elected governments by funding organizations that defame the Jewish state and seek to deny it the right to defend itself”.

Soros’s activity is not welcomed in Israel as well, in spite of his Jewish origin. The reason for this is the fact that Soros criticized Israel’s and the USA’s policy against Palestine, especially the denial of the right of Hamas to participate in the Palestinian government. In ‘’New York Review of Books’’ (2007), Soros criticized the USA for “rejecting the democratically elected Hamas government”. Open Society Foundation is funding such organizations as Al-Haq, AL-Mezan, Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, as well as Israeli NGOs such as Yesh Din, Breaking the Silence, and Adalah. These groups have actively participated in Durban strategy by which they were trying to portray Israel as  “racist” and“apartheid state”, which commits war crimes. Soros also finances such kind of organizations which are leading the international boycott, sanctions, and divestment (BDS) and “lawfare” campaigns, including the filing of international lawsuits aimed at harassing Israeli officials. From these organizations AL-Haq and Palestinial Center for Human Rights have links to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a terrorist organization designated as such by the US, EU, Canada, and Israel. Moreover, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s son Yair Netanyahu in his twitter page wrote, “Soros is the number 1 anti Israeli and anti Jewish world actor.”

In another country- Russia, the activities of George Soros were not just limited but, in fact, were forbidden. In 2015 the Open Society Institute Assistance Foundation and the Open Society Foundation were included in the list of international and foreign non-governmental organizations, which activities are deemed as undesirable in the territory of Russian Federation. According to legislation ‘’the undesirable organizations’’ are not allowed to establish structures, spread their own informative materials  and conduct transactions in monetary means or its other property in credit and non-credit financial structures.

The other country where George Soros’s activity is condemned is Turkey. When speaking about George Soros, President Erdogan mentioned ‘’The person (Kavala) who financed terrorists during the Gezi incidents (2013 anti-government Gezi Park protests, one of the biggest political challenges to Erdogan’s 15-year rule) is already in prison. And who is behind him? The famous Hungarian Jew Soros. This is a man who assigns people to divide nations and shatter them. He has so much money and he spends it this way’’. The Open Society Foundation decided to stop its activities in Turkey in 2018; according to press release ‘’Faced with an increasingly hostile political environment and a number of baseless accusations․’’

George Soros’s activities are also banned in Turkey’s ally- Azerbaijan. In 2003 Soros was  speaking glowingly of Azerbaijan noting that it had the potential to join the world leaders in oil production thanks to its “commitment to transparency.” Beginning from 2005 he became more critical of Azerbaijan, specifically in his article published in the Financial Times on the eve of Azerbaijan Parliamentary elections, he urged Azerbaijan to dismiss the ban on foreign financing of the observers. The relations continued to be tense and in 2010 Open Society Foundation limited Baku’s office activities, and officially ceased to operate in 2014. What’s interesting is that even after these events on January 22, 2015 Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev met with George Soros in Davos and ‘’exchanged views over ongoing development processes in Azerbaijan’’. Months after the meeting, when the investigative report by OCCRP was published showing how Azerbaijani Elite spent around $2.8 billion to influence/lobby European lawmakers, Aliyev, through his press secretary, blamed it on George Soros and Armenian lobby, specifically noting that ‘’The dirty deeds of George Soros need to be investigated…The Armenian lobby working in concert with him has been waging a smear campaign against the president of Azerbaijan and members of his family.’’

While George Soros is a liberal whose main goal is to promote liberal values, the US President Donald Trump is a conservative person and is a member of a conservative GOP. Trump and his surroundings are criticizing Soros by calling him “bogeyman.” Conspirology theorists and white nationalists consider Soros as a “master manipulator” and Trump is hinting these ideas himself not even trying to exclude the idea that the caravans of migrants coming from Mexico are financed by him. Trump’s hostility towards Soros is apparent both in his speeches and in his twitter posts. For example, during one of his recent speeches in the White House, while criticizing the globalists (the active proponent of which is George Soros) some in the audience started calling out “Soros”, even someone shouted “lock him up.” Trump repeated the same exclamation, saying “lock him up.” Quite often in the campaigns directed against him Trump sees the track of Soros’s financing. More specifically, referring to the protests against the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, Trump said, “The very rude elevator screamers are paid professionals only looking to make Senators look bad. Don’t fall for it! Also, look at all of the professionally made identical signs. Paid for by Soros and others…”

Following his father Donald Trump Jr. retweeted claims about Soros which said ‘’ Soros goal; the overthrow of US constitutional republic’’, ‘’George Soros is a nazi who turned in his fellow Jews 2 be murdered in German concentration camps & stole their wealth.‘’ Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani made retweet, where Soros was called an ‘’anti-Christ.’’

One of the main reasons for the hostility with the Republicans is that George Soros actively finances Democratic candidates in every election. It’s noteworthy that during the 2016 Presidential Elections George Soros gave more than $20 million to Democratic politicians, making him one of the party’s biggest individual donors. His goal was to defeat Donald Trump in 2016 elections. That’s why he contributed more that $12 million to Hillary Clinton’s presidential race («Hillary Action Fund» (PAC), «Hillary for America», «Hillary Victory Fund»- $867,200 2015-2016, «Priorities USA Action» (the largest Democratic Party super PAC)- $9.5 million, 2015-2016, «American Bridge 21st Century» (PAC)-  $2 million). George Soros’s this fierce struggle against Trump reminds of his struggle against George W. Bush in the 2004 elections. He gave a then-unprecedented $27 million spending spree to Democratic candidates trying to prevent President George W. Bush reelection in 2004. 

The defeat of Donald Trump was so important for George Soros that the latter has even financed the 2016 Republican candidates who ran against Trump. Overall, the organization founded by George Soros (Soros Fund Management) contributed $36800 to the Republican candidates. Though this sum of money is minute compared to the millions contributed to the Democrats, it is very important that Soros is already trying to go inside the Republican Party and generate anti-Trump sentiments. The biggest contribution among the Republican candidates was received by Paul Ryan- $10800. Despite George Soros’s all efforts, Donald Trump became the USA president, but the latter’s administration is described by Soros as ‘’danger to the world but as a purely temporary phenomenon. ‘’

Generally, George Soros is a prominent and active supporter of Democratic Party and its representatives, which is once more proved in 2018 Midterm elections. Among the candidate recipients of the contribution are Gina Ortiz, Tim Kaine, Tina Smith, Claire McCaskill, Heidi Hetkamp, Jon Tester, Sherrod Brown, Tammy Baldwin, Perry Gershon, Jacky Rosen, Kristen Sinema, Bill Nelson, Joe Donelly, Andy Kim, etc. This is not an exhaustive list of democratic candidates who received thousands of dollars from George Soros and his family members. Most of the candidates, who were financed by the Soros, were eventually elected and now are members of Congress. A distinguished candidate, who received money from Soros for her candidacy race, is one of the members of the famous Democratic ‘’Squad’’ Ilhan Omar (received 2700$). She is one of the most active Trump critiques in Democratic Party, who received Trump’s attention, Donald Trump even called her out “to go back home” (Somali). Ilhan in her turn described Trump as “fascist.”

Peculiarly, many 2020 Democratic presidential candidates have been financed by George Soros during their campaigns for Congress. Among those candidates are Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Kristen Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Tim Ryan. George Soros continues to contribute large sums of money to Political Action Committees (PAC) (Priorities USA Action- $5 million, 2018, American Bridge 21st Century-$380,000, 2018). His intention to actively engage in 2020 Presidential elections is testified by his newly founded Democracy PAC, which has already been contributed $5.1 million. This contribution for $5.1 million made George Soros the biggest individual donor so far for 2020 elections.

Besides financing different candidates in US elections, George Soros participates in domestic affairs through his Open Society Foundation from which the biggest proportion of the budget is allocated to the USA (2019- $109.8 million). 

In conclusion, it becomes apparent that George Soros is not acting on behalf of the US government, but rather he has his own vision of constructing the world based on his liberal ideologies. Thus, USA, being the leading superpower in the world, has an extraordinary importance to George Soros and reaching the victory of his presidential candidate or the candidate whose views are close to his own is very important to him. On the way of making his candidate for the president of the USA and defeating his main opponent, he won’t save and will fully use all his resources to reach his goal.