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The Trump effect

The initial two and a half years of President Trump’s national security policy have departed sharply from those of President Obama, his predecessor at the White House.

The nature of Trump’s national security policy may be assessed through the worldview of Vice President Mike Pence and the two most crucial appointments: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was a “Tea Party” leader in the US House of Representatives, and National Security Advisor John Bolton, who has been a consistent advocate of a bolstered US posture of deterrence – in the face of rogue regimes and organizations – by flexing political, economic and military muscle. In 1991, it was Bolton who led the successful US campaign to revoke “Zionism is Racism” from UN records. Both Pompeo and Bolton have been consistent critics of Obama’s national security policy.

The worldview of President Obama (and his Secretary of State, John Kerry) was shaped by the following principles:

  1. No US moral, political, economic exceptionalism;
  2. Preference of multinational – over unilateral – initiatives;
  3. Considering the UN as a key factor in shaping the global arena;
  4. Viewing non-assertive Western Europe as a role model;
  5. Embracing the worldview of the State Department establishment, which has been persistently divorced from Middle East complexity (e.g., the “Arab Spring” illusion);
  6. Adopting negotiation, reconciliation and containment as key tactics when dealing with rogue regimes (e.g., the 2015 JCPOA nuclear agreement);
  7. Approaching rogue Islamic entities as potential allies rather than lethal opponents and enemies (e.g., “Islam has always been a part of the American Story,” Cairo, June 4, 2009);
  8. Playing down Islamic terrorism by designating the murder of 13 Fort Hood, TX, US soldiers by radical Muslim Major Nidal Hasan, as “workplace violence” (and later on, as “combat related casualties”), prohibiting the use of the term “Islamic terrorism;”
  9. Defining the Palestinian issue as the root cause of the Arab-Israeli conflict, a core cause of Middle East turbulence and a crown-jewel of Arab policy-makers;
  10. Assuming that a resolution – not management – of conflicts is a realistic option in the unpredictable, violent, intolerant, volcanic Middle East, which has never experienced long-term intra-Muslim peaceful coexistence.

The worldview of President Trump (Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and National Security Advisor John Bolton) is shaped by a dramatically different set of principles:

  1. Reviving US exceptionalism economically, militarily and through energy-independence;
  2. Preferring unilateral – over multilateral – US initiatives;
  3. Recognizing UN hostility toward the US and its limited impact on global affairs;
  4. Deep reservations about the national security and trade conduct of Europe (including NATO), while expanding cooperation with productive US allies, such as Israel;
  5. Departing sharply from the worldview of the State Department establishment (e.g., identifying the “Arab Tsunami”), while reflecting the worldview of “Small Town and Flyover America”;
  6. Confronting and deterring rogue regimes, as demonstrated by the withdrawal from the 2015 JCPOA nuclear agreement and the imposition of unprecedented sanctions on Iran;
  7. Awareness of the Ayatollahs defining the US as “the Great Satan” (since 1979!);
  8. Perceiving Sunni and Shite Islamic terrorism a clear and present, lethal threat to the US and its allies;
  9. Awareness that the Palestinian issue has never been the root cause of the Arab-Israeli conflict, is not a core cause of Middle East turbulence, nor a crown-jewel of Arab policy makers;
  10. Comprehending that the real, tectonic Middle East – which has never, yet, lent itself to intra-Arab peaceful coexistence – is not ripe for Western-style conflict resolution, but rather conflict management.

Trump’s policy toward Israel is not driven, primarily, by his cogent affinity toward the Jewish State, but primarily by the drive to advance US interests.

For example, Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital – and the relocation of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem – advances US interests. It has sent a clear message that unlike his predecessors, since the 1995 passage of the Jerusalem Embassy Act, Trump is not deterred by Arab pressure and threats, recognizing the 3,000 year old history of Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish State and a core inspiration for the US Early Pilgrims and Founding Fathers. Trump has realized that retreat in the face of pressure yields further pressure, which undermines the US posture of deterrence among enemies, adversaries and allies.

Similarly, the recognition of Israel’s sovereignty on the Golan Heights reflects the realization that Israel on the Golan Heights bolsters US interests in the Middle East by constraining Iran’s Ayatollahs in Syria and Lebanon, deterring Syria (as documented in 1970, when Israeli troops on the Golan Heights forced a withdrawal of the pro-Soviet Syrian invasion of pro-US Jordan), buttressing Jordan’s Hashemite regime and additional pro-US Arab regimes, and checking Russian maneuverability in Syria.

Furthermore, Trump’s disengagement from the 2015 JCPOA nuclear agreement was not triggered by his support of Israel, but by his assessment of US national security and homeland security, which are directly threatened by Iran’s Ayatollahs and by the 2015 agreement, which only postpones – but does not prevent – the nuclearization of the Ayatollahs. Contrary to the JCPOA, and assisted by a series of unprecedented sanctions against Iran, Trump pursues the following Iran strategy:

  1. Denying the Ayatollahs nuclear capabilities;
  2. Preventing Iran’s development and proliferation of ballistic capabilities, which constitute a lethal threat to every pro-US Arab regime;
  3. Neutralizing the Ayatollahs’ subversive and terroristic infrastructures in the Persian Gulf, the Middle East at-large, Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America;
  4. Ending the flow of billions of dollars to the megalomaniacal Ayatollahs;
  5. Buoying the pro-US Arab regimes, which have the Ayatollahs’ machete at their throat;
  6. Advancing the US posture of deterrence;

Thus, President Trump, Vice President Pence, Secretary Pompeo and National Security Advisor Bolton are American patriots, who consider Israel a unique ally of the US due to its unique contribution to US national security, homeland security, defense and civilian industries. They value Israel as a significant asset, which extends the strategic hand of the US, enhancing the stability of the pro-US Arab countries. Contrary to conventional wisdom, they are aware that US-Israel relations constitute a mutually-beneficial two-way street, which yields the US a rate of return of a few hundred percent on its annual investment in Israel (erroneously defined as “foreign aid”).






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The Abraham Accords – the US, Arab interests and Israel

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan believe that the expansion of the Abraham Accords, the enhancement of Israel-Saudi defense and commercial cooperation and the conclusion of an Israel-Saudi Arabia peace accord are preconditioned upon major Israeli concessions to the Palestinian Authority.

Is such a belief consistent with Middle East reality?

Arab interests

*The signing of the Abraham Accords, and the role played by Saudi Arabia as a critical engine of the accords, were driven by the national security, economic and diplomatic interests of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and the Sudan.

*The Arab interest in peace accords with Israel was not triggered by the realization that the Jewish State was genuinely seeking peaceful-coexistence, nor by a departure from the fundamental tenets of Islam. It was motivated by the assessment that critical concerns of the respective Arab countries would be effectively-served by Israel’s advanced military (Qualitative Military Edge), technological and diplomatic capabilities in the face of mutual and lethal enemies, such as Iran’s Ayatollahs and Muslim Brotherhood terrorism.

*Saudi Arabia and the six Arab peace partners of Israel (including Egypt and Jordan) are aware that the Middle East resembles a volcano, which occasionally releases explosive lava – domestically and/or regionally – in an unpredictable manner, as evidenced by the 1,400-year-old stormy intra-Arab/Muslim relations, and recently demonstrated by the Arab Tsunami, which erupted in 2011 and still rages.

They wish to minimize the impact of rogue regimes, and therefore are apprehensive about the nature of the proposed Palestinian state, in view of the rogue Palestinian inter-Arab track record, which has transformed Palestinians into an intra-Arab role model of subversion, terrorism, treachery and ingratitude.

*They are anxious about the erosion of the US posture of deterrence, which is their most critical component of national security, and alarmed about the 43-year-old US diplomatic option toward Iran’s Ayatollahs, which has bolstered the Ayatollahs’ terroristic, drug trafficking and ballistic capabilities. They are also concerned about the US’ embrace of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is the largest Sunni terrorist entity with religious, educational, welfare and political branches. And, they are aware of the ineffectiveness of NATO (No Action Talk Only?), the European vacillation, and the vulnerability of all other Arab countries.

Israel’s role

*Saudi Arabia and the Arab partners to peace accords with Israel feel the machetes of the Ayatollahs and the Moslem Brotherhood at their throats. They consider Israel as the most reliable “life insurance agent” in the region.  They view Israel as the most effective US force-multiplier in the Middle East, and appreciate Israel’s proven posture of deterrence; flexing its military muscles against Iran’s Ayatollahs in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Iran itself and against Palestinian and Hezbollah terrorism. They respect Israel’s unique counter-terrorism intelligence and training capabilities, and its game-changing military and counter-terrorism battle tactics and technologies.

*The Arab view of Israel as a reliable partner on “a rainy day” has been bolstered by Israel’s willingness to defy US pressure, when it comes to Israel’s most critical national security and historic credos (e.g., Iran, Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria).  In addition, Saudi Arabia and Israel’s peace-partners aim to leverage Israel’s good-standing among most Americans – and therefore among most Senators and House Representatives – as a venue to enhance their military, commercial and diplomatic ties with the US.

*Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain are preoccupied with the challenge of economic diversification, realizing that they are overly-reliant on oil and natural gas, which are exposed to price-volatility, depletion and could be replaced by emerging cleaner and more cost-effective energy.

Thus, they consider Israel’s ground-breaking technologies as a most effective vehicle to diversify their economy, create more jobs in non-energy sectors, and establish a base for alternative sources of national income, while bolstering homeland and national security.

*The Abraham Accords – as well as Israel’s peace accords with Egypt and Jordan – and the unprecedented expansion of defense and commercial cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Israel, demonstrate that critical Arab national security interests may supersede fundamental tenets of Islam, such as the 1,400-year-old rejection of any “infidel” sovereignty in “the abode of Islam.”  Moreover, critical national security interests may lead to a dramatic moderation of the (Arab) education system, which is the most authentic reflection of one’s vision and policies.

Thus, contrary to the Palestinian Authority, the United Arab Emirates has uprooted hate-education curriculum, replacing it with pro-Israel/Jewish curriculum.

Abraham Accords’ durability

*The success of the Abraham Accords was a result of avoiding the systematic mistakes committed by the US State Department. The latter has produced a litany of failed peace proposals, centered on the Palestinian issue, while the Abraham accords bypassed the Palestinian issue, avoiding a Palestinian veto, and focusing on Arab interests. Therefore, the durability of the Abraham Accords depends on the interests of the respective Arab countries, and not on the Palestinian issue, which is not a top priority for any Arab country.

*The durability of the Abraham Accords depends on the stability of the individual Arab countries and the Middle East at-large.

*The Abraham Accord have yielded initial and unprecedented signs of moderation, modernity and peaceful coexistence, which requires the US to support the respective pro-US Arab regimes, rather than pressuring them (e.g., Saudi Arabia and the UAE).

*However, one should not ignore the grave threats to the durability of the accords, posed by the volcanic nature of the unstable, highly-fragmented, unpredictable, violently intolerant, non-democratic and tenuous Middle East (as related to intra-Arab relations!).  These inherent threats would be dramatically alleviated by a resolute US support.

*A major threat to the Abraham Accord is the tenuous nature of most Arab regimes in the Middle East, which yields tenuous policies and tenuous accords. For example, in addition to the Arab Tsunami of 2010 (which is still raging on the Arab Street), non-ballot regime-change occurred (with a dramatic change of policy) in Egypt (2013, 2012, 1952), Iran (1979, 1953), Iraq (2003, 1968, 1963-twice, 1958), Libya (2011, 1969), Yemen (a civil war since the ’90s, 1990, 1962), etc.

*Regional stability, the Abraham Accords and US interests would be undermined by the proposed Palestinian state west of the Jordan River (bearing in mind the intra-Arab Palestinian track record). It would topple the pro-US Hashemite regime east of the River; transforming Jordan into another platform of regional and global Islamic terrorism, similar to Libya, Syria, Iraq and Yemen; triggering a domino scenario, which would threaten every pro-US Arab oil-producing country in the Arabian Peninsula; yielding a robust tailwind to Iran’s Ayatollahs, Russia and China and a major headwind to the US.

*While Middle East reality defines policies and accords as variable components of national security, the topography and geography of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and the Golan Heights are fixed components of Israel’s minimal security requirements in the reality of the non-Western Middle East. Israel’s fixed components of national security have secured its survival, and have dramatically enhanced its posture of deterrence. They transformed the Jewish State into a unique force and dollar multiplier for the US.

*The more durable the Abraham Accords and the more robust Israel’s posture of deterrence, the more stable the pro-US Arab regimes and the Middle East at-large; the more deterred are anti-US rogue regimes; the less potent are Middle Eastern epicenters of anti-US terrorism and drug trafficking; the more bolstered is the US global posture and the weaker is the posture of the US’ enemies and adversaries.

*Would the Arab regimes of the Abraham Accords precondition their critical ties with Israel upon Israeli concessions to the Palestinians, which they view as a rogue element? Would they sacrifice their national security and economic interests on the altar of the Palestinian issue? Would they cut off their nose to spite their face?

The fact that these Arab regimes concluded the Abraham Accords without preconditioning it upon Israeli concessions to the Palestinians, and that they limit their support of the Palestinians to talk, rather than walk, provides an answer to these three questions.

Support Appreciated






The post-1967 turning point of US-Israel cooperation

Israeli benefits to the US taxpayer exceed US foreign aid to Israel

Iran - A Clear And Present Danger To The USA

Exposing the myth of the Arab demographic time bomb