The Trump administration’s strategy may not be evident since the media tends to report on events as if there is no connection and, in the case of President Trump, there is more than a little reluctance to give Trump credit for anything.
Whether it was earning headlines, the Trump administration began to implement a broad comprehensive Middle East strategy. Trump commissioned his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to be his emissary to untangle the complex conundrums that have plagued that portion of the world for millennia. As might be expected, the #NeverTrump media immediately questioned Kushner’s qualifications and scoffed at what they determined to be unrealistic goals.
The first hint of this strategy was Trump’s unprecedented trip to the Middle East, making a visit to Saudi Arabia his first stop. His visit drew an audience of 58 heads-of-state and other senior officials from Muslim majority nations – putting the lie to a drumbeat of domestic left-wing accusations that he is Islamophobic and is damaging America’s leadership in the Middle East.
In that visit, Trump successfully recruited Arab allies in the fight against ISIS and Iran. The meeting resulted in pressure on Yemen, which has been officially an American ally while turning a blind eye to terrorism funding from within the country.
Trump changed the military “rules of engagement” – ordering a more aggressive approach than former President Obama’s failing “lead from behind” strategy. This has greatly diminished the control and influence of ISIS in the Middle East. It has been a long time since our evening news has reported day-after-day on some of the most heinous crimes against humanity – beheadings, mass murders and summary executions committed by children.
Trump gave fair warning of his intent to end the deal with Iran that allowed – nay, enhanced – the ability of Iran to fund terrorism throughout the region even as it continued to develop intercontinental ballistic missiles. Any Iran deal must be comprehensive if Middle East stability is to be achieved. Allowing Iran to operate as a rogue nation and state sponsor of terrorism for the next eight years makes stability impossible.
The presence of U.S. military on the ground in Syria and the two attacks in response to the use of chemical weapons – with America joined by Britain and France in the second – provides insight into the larger strategy. The U.S. will not allow Iran to create multi-national hegemony in the region in concert with Russia.
Moving the United States embassy to Jerusalem is the latest major move in the overall strategy. The first and foremost fact to understand is that the OFFICIAL policy of the United States is that Jerusalem IS the recognized capital of Israel – and has been officially the fact since Congress made that the official policy in 1995. Trump did not change policy, but simply implemented existence policy.
The legislation does allow the President to waive the move of the embassy to Jerusalem. Though Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama all strongly reaffirmed the American policy in the strongest terms, only to then kick the can down the road by signing the waiver.
It was said that they did not want to interfere with peace negations. What has become very clear is that the establishment strategy never worked, never came close to working and actually allowed the Palestinian issue to worsen. Today, the diplomatic old guard wants to continue the failed policies based on a flawed assumption and ineffective actions.
Critics of the move claim that the move has not taken America out of its role as an “honest broker” in potential settlement talks. This is wrong on two accounts. America was not and could not be an “honest broker” without betraying our alliance with Israel. America is on the side of Israel … period.
Secondly, those who believe that America has been cut out of any roll in negotiations is simply naïve or dishonest. Nothing can progress regarding the Palestinian issue without U.S. involvement … period. Israel and such Arab nations as Saudi Arabia and Egypt will never isolate America from the talks. Trump has pretty much assured that.
Critics claim that the Palestinian authorities will now never agree to talks. Nonsense. They will not agree until the price of maintaining aggression against Israel becomes too high of a price to pay.
We need to keep in mind that the Palestinians have never agreed to talks in good faith … ever. They refuse to accept the right of Israel to exist. As long as that is the case, there will be no progress, no Palestinian state and no peace. There can be no two-state solution if the Palestinians maintain opposition to the existence of one of those states.
Critics argue that the move of the embassy should have been a final negotiating point – something of a cherry on the diplomatic cupcake. Since the eventual move of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem is non-negotiable, it could never serve as a negotiating bargaining chip. Taking it off the table means that negotiators can focus on issues where compromise is possible. In not clarifying this point up front, the negotiations would be bogged down debating a point that is undebatable.
Except for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who found a reason to praise Trump for making the move, Democrats and their sycophants in the media have literally aided and abetted the terrorist side of the controversy by making Israel the enemy. While they pay lip service to the value of the alliance, they point the accusing finger at Israel and America – specifically Benjamin Netanyahu and Donald Trump.
The anti-Trump/American/Israeli bias in the media is evident in the sympathetic view of the Hamas-promoted demonstrations at the border. The violent demonstrations at the border were no surprise. They were standard operating procedure for Hamas. The terrorist group has a long history of pandering for international sympathy by placing civilians in situations of high risk. They literally sacrifice their own people for publicity.
While the demonstrations gained a lot of publicity, more noteworthy was the relatively mild reaction by the international community – including most of the Arab world with the notable exception of Turkey. The Palestinian issue is becoming more of a burden than a cause as many of the Arab states focus their attention on Iran.
What Trump seems to be doing very successfully is creating an order out of the tangled web of the Middle East. Rather than follow the policies of previous administration -- which was to merely slow the deterioration of the situation, and not always successfully at that – but to create a clear demarcation between the good guys and the bad guys – and then go after the bad guys.
This is not to oversimplify the problem or the solutions, but in less than two years, Trump had made more progress toward resolution than the previous four presidents. It is not small irony that what was believed to be an America First isolationist presidency is turning out to be a dynamic re-emergence of the United States as the world’s business, military and diplomatic leader.