We are closing in on the first year of the Trump admin in the Middle East….and so far it has been NOTHING impressive. More of doing the same things and Tweeting about it.
He, Trump, was going to put the peace process between the Israelis and the Palestinians on the front burner and use his sin-in-law to formulate a success and a treaty that all can live with…..we are still waiting on that miracle of miracles….
There were quite a number of people in the Israeli peace camp who hoped, even believed, in the statements made by US President Donald Trump regarding his intentions to consolidate a large “package deal” between Israel, the Palestinians and all the Arab states. The rapid pace of presidential envoy Jason Greenblatt’s jet-setting between Jerusalem and Ramallah in the West Bank also strengthened the perception that the current arch-conservative president might succeed where two liberal presidents — Bill Clinton and Barack Obama — failed.
During last year’s presidential campaign, Donald Trump promised to do a great deal more in the Middle East than his immediate predecessors, but with much less. That is, he would achieve significantly more than Barack Obama at a much smaller sacrifice of blood and treasure than was incurred under George W. Bush. This he would accomplish by defining American interests sharply and pursuing them aggressively, not to say ruthlessly. The result would be a global restoration of American credibility and, as Trump never ceased to remind voters, renewed global respect.
As an act of political “signaling,” Trump’s blunt message was savvy. Many Americans, especially those in his base of supporters, regarded Obama as timid, weak, and more solicitous of enemies than of friends; Bush, they believed, had been strong in some ways but prone to quixotic adventures like building democracy in the Middle East, a putative sin of which Obama had at least been innocent. Trump offered an attractive alternative: a hybrid approach that would combine the best qualities of his predecessors in office while jettisoning their worst inclinations. “America First” meant placing a Bush-style readiness to use military force in support of a leaner, Obama-style agenda that nixed democracy promotion. Unlike Bush, Trump would resist thankless nation-building projects; unlike Obama, he would reward friends and punish enemies.
So far this first year has been nothing but chaos piled on chaos…..that is Trump’s total foreign policy and the Middle East has been the most chaotic of them all.