Monday, December 19, 2016

Who’s afraid of Donald Trump in the Middle East?

Not much can be ascertained about President-elect Donald Trump’s administration future policies for the Middle East - any more than for most other parts of the world, except that his starting points are likely to be diametrically opposed to those of Barack Obama.
It is all still in the making. The Russian policy he decides to pursue after he enters the White House and his administration is in place is as unfathomable as are the motives that led him to appoint his lawyer and close adviser, the pro-settlement David Friedman, as US ambassador to Israel.

The Democratic Party, in pain from Hillary Clinton’s defeat by Trump, is presenting him as a slavish fan of Putin and has sold this perception to much of the mainstream media.

However, it defies belief that the new president will succumb to Putin’s wiles and allow America’s global stance to be shaped in Moscow. Trump will far more likely present the Kremlin with a clear proposition for measuring Putin’s willingness to follow the Trump line. In as far as he does, the Russian leader will enjoy cooperation in Washington.

The president-elect’s approach to Israel may be equally clear-cut. In this case, the Israeli and US media joined in a front-page chorus denigrating the Friedman appointment as signaling that Donald Trump was ready to ignite a Middle East conflagration by moving the US embassy forthwith to Jerusalem, abandoning the two-station solution of the Israel-Palestinian dispute adopted by his two predecessors, and promoting Israel’s instant annexation of the settlement blocs in Judea and Samaria. 

None of this can be inferred from the president elect’s statement Thursday, Dec. 15:
“Friedman has been a longtime friend and trusted adviser to me. His strong relationships in Israel will form the foundation of his diplomatic mission and be a tremendous asset to our country as we strengthen the ties with our allies and strive for peace in the Middle East.” READ MORE