Trumps foreign policy success or failure will be set in motion in Israel

Trump’s foreign policy success or failure will be set in motion in Israel

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Trump's foreign policy success or failure will be set in motion in Israel

Today, Pres­i­dent Trump had what a major­ity of Amer­i­cans would con­sider to be a suc­cess­ful for­eign pol­icy day. His tone when speak­ing about ter­ror­ism to the core of the Mus­lim world in the Mid­dle East was gen­er­ally approved; the left liked that he didn’t go off the rails and the right wit­nessed a breath of fresh air after eight years of fail­ure to even acknowl­edge the problem.

Not every­one was excited by his mes­sage, but con­ser­v­a­tives should be able to agree that he sounded expo­nen­tially bet­ter than Pres­i­dent Obama. He didn’t call it “rad­i­cal Islamic ter­ror­ism” but he wasn’t mak­ing excuses for them, either. Most impor­tantly, he urged Mus­lim coun­tries them­selves to take the lead on expelling and extin­guish­ing the threat; there were no Neo­con or Estab­lish­ment hawk lean­ings towards police action by America.

Now, his and the world’s atten­tions turn to Israel where he has the great­est for­eign pol­icy oppor­tu­nity as well as the biggest poten­tial let­down for those of us who con­sider Israel to be our most impor­tant strate­gic ally. His trip to the Jew­ish state will set in motion his agenda in the Mid­dle East. After suc­cess in Saudi Ara­bia, any fail­ure from a diplo­matic per­spec­tive will be mag­ni­fied. There are already peo­ple on the right attack­ing his implicit sup­port for Saudi Arabia’s most heinous activ­i­ties. If he doesn’t fol­low that up with an equally strong (or stronger) level of sup­port for Israel, the com­par­isons to Obama’s poli­cies on the Mid­dle East will grow louder.

Will he move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem? Pre­lim­i­nary reports tell us they won’t, but this is Pres­i­dent Trump so you never know what will hap­pen until it does.

Can he avoid pub­lic con­flict over allegedly reveal­ing sen­si­tive Israeli intel­li­gence to the Rus­sians? We can assume any dis­may from the Israelis or reas­sur­ances from the Pres­i­dent will hap­pen behind closed doors, so this is likely a non-​topic dur­ing this trip as far as the pub­lic is concerned.

Pre-​1967 bor­ders have sud­denly entered the equa­tion since the White House released a video show­ing Israel with­out the “occu­pied” ter­ri­to­ries as part of their lands. This may be played off as an intern’s mis­take or it may become an issue.

The BDS move­ment will be dis­cussed. It’s an issue that should bring uni­fi­ca­tion between the admin­is­tra­tion and Israeli lead­ers, par­tic­u­larly as he will undoubt­edly point out how the move­ment hurts Mus­lims as much or more than it hurts Jews.

Lastly, will there be any talks of a two-​state solu­tion? If it hap­pens dur­ing the Israel trip, it will push this por­tion of his agenda to the fore­front and we can expect reper­cus­sions from many on the Amer­i­can right as well as an adver­sar­ial sit­u­a­tion in Israel itself. This is unlikely, but again, it’s Trump so you never know.

If Pres­i­dent Trump makes it out of Saudi Ara­bia and Israel with both allies feel­ing good about their rela­tion­ship with Amer­ica, Trump will be set up for suc­cess. If Israel turns south on the Pres­i­dent, this could be the start of a for­eign pol­icy dis­as­ter that will likely spi­ral through­out his term(s).

Today, President Trump had what a majority of Americans would consider to be a successful foreign policy day. His tone when speaking about terrorism to the core of the Muslim world in the Middle East was generally approved; the left liked that he didn’t go off the rails and the right witnessed a breath of fresh air after eight years of failure to even acknowledge the problem.

Not everyone was excited by his message, but conservatives should be able to agree that he sounded exponentially better than President Obama. He didn’t call it “radical Islamic terrorism” but he wasn’t making excuses for them, either. Most importantly, he urged Muslim countries themselves to take the lead on expelling and extinguishing the threat; there were no Neocon or Establishment hawk leanings towards police action by America.

Now, his and the world’s attentions turn to Israel where he has the greatest foreign policy opportunity as well as the biggest potential letdown for those of us who consider Israel to be our most important strategic ally. His trip to the Jewish state will set in motion his agenda in the Middle East. After success in Saudi Arabia, any failure from a diplomatic perspective will be magnified. There are already people on the right attacking his implicit support for Saudi Arabia’s most heinous activities. If he doesn’t follow that up with an equally strong (or stronger) level of support for Israel, the comparisons to Obama’s policies on the Middle East will grow louder.

Will he move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem? Preliminary reports tell us they won’t, but this is President Trump so you never know what will happen until it does.

Can he avoid public conflict over allegedly revealing sensitive Israeli intelligence to the Russians? We can assume any dismay from the Israelis or reassurances from the President will happen behind closed doors, so this is likely a non-topic during this trip as far as the public is concerned.

Pre-1967 borders have suddenly entered the equation since the White House released a video showing Israel without the “occupied” territories as part of their lands. This may be played off as an intern’s mistake or it may become an issue.

The BDS movement will be discussed. It’s an issue that should bring unification between the administration and Israeli leaders, particularly as he will undoubtedly point out how the movement hurts Muslims as much or more than it hurts Jews.

Lastly, will there be any talks of a two-state solution? If it happens during the Israel trip, it will push this portion of his agenda to the forefront and we can expect repercussions from many on the American right as well as an adversarial situation in Israel itself. This is unlikely, but again, it’s Trump so you never know.

If President Trump makes it out of Saudi Arabia and Israel with both allies feeling good about their relationship with America, Trump will be set up for success. If Israel turns south on the President, this could be the start of a foreign policy disaster that will likely spiral throughout his term(s).