It’s insane. We’re all resistant. He doesn’t realize what all he could trigger by doing this.
It turns out Donald Trump had no idea what he was doing when he decided to fulfill his “promise” to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The quote excerpted above is from a Trump confidant who recently spoke to the president and who apparently spoke to the Washington Post following Wednesday’s bizarre announcement that found the President visibly struggling to pronounce words amid what appeared to be some manner of wardrobe malfunction where “wardrobe” means his teeth and nose.
“Today, we finally acknowledge the obvious: that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality. It is also the right thing to do,” Trump said from the White House, adding that “after more than two decades of waivers, we are no closer to a lasting peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians [and] it would be folly to assume that repeating the exact same formula would now produce a different or better result.”
Obviously, Trump didn’t write the speech and the reasons why this is a bad idea are so readily apparent that they’re hardly worth repeating. What is worth repeating, however, is that this is yet another example of Trump making decisions that endanger U.S. interests – Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba has already said this constitutes a reason to attack U.S. interests in Iraq and the State Department earlier this week warned American embassies across the world to step up security in anticipation of the announcement.
Whatever you believe about the relative merits of the decision, the idea that Donald Trump (the cartoonish real estate developer, the WWE hall of fame inductee, the government neophyte, the man who cannot even be trusted with a Twitter account) should be allowed to have the final say on it is simply nuts. Although key Trump advisers including Mike Pence, Nikki Haley and of course Jared Kushner supported the decision, others did not. Those “others” include Rex Tillerson and notably, Jim Mattis.
“Tillerson, mindful of the death of four Americans in militant attacks in Benghazi, Libya, in 2012, pushed back vocally,” WaPo reports on Thursday, citing a White House official. Tillerson, like leaders across the world, told Trump that he risks unleashing a “dangerous chain reaction across the region.”
That would be the exact opposite of what Trump and Kushner have promised to do – namely forge a lasting regional peace.
According to the Post, multiple advisers now say Trump “did not seem to have a full understanding of the issue and instead appeared to be focused on ‘seeming pro-Israel,’ in and ‘making a deal.'” In other words, Donald Trump is falling back on his own talking points rather than relying on actual analysis to make decisions that could end up costing people their lives.
Consider these reactions:
Hamas: This decision has killed the peace process, has killed the Oslo (accord), has killed the settlement process. [It is] an aggression, a declaration of war on us, on the best Muslim and Christian shrines in the heart of Palestine, Jerusalem.
Palestinian Authority: This is the end of America’s role as mediator. The dangerous consequences such a decision would have to the peace process and to the peace, security and stability of the region and of the world.
Jordan: [Trump’s decision has] dangerous repercussions on the stability and security of the region.There is no alternative to a two-state solution, and Jerusalem is key to any peace agreement.
Saudi Arabia’s royal court: Trump’s decision exemplifies a drastic regression in the efforts to move the peace process forward, and is a shift away from the United States’ historically impartial position with regard to the issue of Jerusalem. [It will] further complicate the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
Egypt: It’s necessary to not complicate the state of the region by taking measures that would undermine the chances for peace in the Middle East.
Turkey: Trump is plunging the region and the world into a fire with no end in sight. Jerusalem [is] a red line for Muslims. We could go as far as cutting diplomatic ties with Israel over the issue.
UK: We believe it is unhelpful in terms of prospects for peace in the region. The British Embassy to Israel is based in Tel Aviv and we have no plans to move it.
You get the idea. And again, it’s not so much the decision as it is the process. Consider another excerpt from the WaPo piece linked above:
Once Trump indicated 10 days ago that he would not sign a second waiver, national security adviser H.R. McMaster began putting together options that officials assessed would result in the least damage.
The debate came to a head at a White House meeting Nov. 27 to hash out the waiver issue. According to people briefed on the meeting, Trump repeated his earlier assertions that he had to follow through on his campaign pledge, seemingly irritated by objections over security and the break with previous policy.
“The decision wasn’t driven by the peace process,” one senior official said. “The decision was driven by his campaign promise.”
Obviously, that is outrageous. Of course Trump’s support base won’t understand and more importantly won’t care about the specifics. All they’ll care about is Trump “keeping his promises” even if they have no idea what those promises actually mean or about what keeping those promises ultimately entails.
And see that’s all that matters to Trump. He is literally subjugating foreign policy considerations of enormous import to expediency in the interest of being able to check a box on a list of things he said he would do on the campaign trail.
Oh, and in case you were wondering how this is going over in Gaza, here’s a picture taken earlier today that pretty much sums it up…