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Trump’s Ridiculous Announcement on Jerusalem

Trump announced U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital earlier today. His remarks [1] did nothing to allay the suspicion that he and his advisers don’t know what they’re doing:

I’ve judged this course of action to be in the best interests of the United States of America and the pursuit of peace between Israel and the Palestinians. This is a long overdue step to advance the peace process. And to work towards a lasting agreement.

This is either profoundly cynical or hopelessly out of touch with reality. What Trump did today won’t advance “the peace process.” There may not be much of a process to be advanced in any case, but this definitely snuffs it out for the foreseeable future. There will be no “work towards a lasting agreement” when a major power unilaterally decides to break with its existing policy and severely disadvantages one of the parties in any future negotiations. If one wanted to destroy confidence and trust in the U.S., this is the sort of thing one would do.

Trump describes what he did as proof of his “fresh thinking,” but there is nothing more stale and tired than having our government fully taking the Israeli side in this conflict. He can insist all he likes that the decision “is not intended in any way to reflect a departure from our strong commitment to facilitate a lasting peace agreement,” but the action proves that there is no such commitment. It will be interpreted as proof of our government’s bias and bad faith, and it is ridiculous to expect other nations to interpret it any other way.

The best that can be said about Trump’s remarks is that he has to be delusional if he thinks that today’s announcement is compatible with making progress in securing a negotiated settlement. Any goodwill the Trump administration might have enjoyed with the Palestinians has been squandered for no reason, and Trump has now made it politically impossible for any Palestinian leader to be seen cooperating with the U.S.

Worse still, U.S. officials somehow imagine [2] that abandoning decades of U.S. policy and doing something that the entire world opposes will earn Trump international respect:

White House officials think Trump’s decision to follow through on his campaign promise — even if only partially — strengthens his credibility around the world as a someone who stands by his word, isn’t intimidated by threats, and doesn’t cave to international pressure.

Trump’s willingness to follow through on destructive campaign promises gains the U.S. nothing. Other leaders won’t respect a decision that they regard as deeply flawed and unnecessary, and they aren’t going to give Trump credit for doing something they consider folly. Trump’s decision will reinforce the impression that he is reckless and irresponsible, and it will show both allies and adversaries that he gives no thought to the possible negative consequences of his actions.

18 Comments (Open | Close)

18 Comments To "Trump’s Ridiculous Announcement on Jerusalem"

#1 Comment By Just Dropping By On December 6, 2017 @ 4:11 pm

Even if the announcement had been delivered flawlessly, it would have been horriffic enough, but Trump slurring his speech as he concluded it was really the icing on the cake: [3]

#2 Comment By DP On December 6, 2017 @ 4:16 pm

“Trump’s decision will reinforce the impression that he is reckless and irresponsible, and it will show both allies and adversaries that he gives no thought to the possible negative consequences of his actions.”

Spot on. Sadly, this quote could be the template response to almost any Trump decision.

#3 Comment By collin On December 6, 2017 @ 4:40 pm

What Trump did today won’t advance “the peace process.” There may not be much of a process to be advanced in any case, but this definitely snuffs it out for the foreseeable future.

TBH, I am of the complete belief that Israel is now a single state and any discussion of two states is empty chatter. I don’t see how either Palestine can be success on their own and Israel wants the land. So long term I don’t really the problem here but it does look like every Muslim Middle East nation hates Trump.

However, this will become Israel version of the Civil Right Battles in 20 years.

#4 Comment By EliteCommInc. On December 6, 2017 @ 4:44 pm

I am not sure how this lends credibility to his word.

Thus far he’s now 1 for 10

1. still in Syria
2. Still in Iraq
3. Same NATO status and financial commitment as when he was elected
4. number three applies to Asia as well
5. Complete cave in on DACA
6. No movement on the wall
7. No movement on revitalizing cities
8. Healthcare that uses tax payer money to kill children in the womb (murder)
9. Holding Wall Street accountable — zilch

10.American’s first, apparently second even to the desires of Israel. It accomplishes nothing in IS interests and was as hard as sucking one’s thumb

11.Staying by his word — uhhh not so much. At least not yet.

#5 Comment By EliteCommInc. On December 6, 2017 @ 4:49 pm

12. wall street records have not translated into growth across the economic spectrum — And he still using GDP as opposed to real GDP and export growth as signs of economic health —

Thus far, not a very impressive record. But he has not advanced regime change wars — yet.

just some observations of a supporter.

#6 Comment By Jay C On December 6, 2017 @ 4:51 pm

But interestingly (and in what seems to be the main overlooked aspect of Trump’s inane announcement), he still signed off on the semi-annual “waiver” for the JEA, which delays the US’ actually moving the Embassy to Jerusalem for another six months (at least).
So IOW, typical Trump maneuvers in foreign relations: loudly-trumpeted BS for the rube masses at home, semiserious damage control for the ROW, little/no concern about any reactions or repercussions: other than (probably) egocentric griping about why he isn’t being hailed as The Greatest Peacemaker Ever…

#7 Comment By Jacob On December 6, 2017 @ 5:15 pm

The possibility of Israel giving up even part of Jerusalem under any peace deal is about as likely as Kurt Cobain playing my birthday party. I don’t think this changes anything and playing this charade over the years over the final status of Jerusalem serves no purpose. I’m not saying it’s positive, but that it is reality.

#8 Comment By CharleyCarp On December 6, 2017 @ 5:28 pm

Oh I’m sure his campaign promise to refuse to cut Medicare will get equal care.

#9 Comment By Whine Merchant On December 6, 2017 @ 5:40 pm

Oooh, look-a-me, look-a-me everyone. I’m the president, I beat Hillary by millions and millions of votes. I can do whatever I want to do –

Now can I have my own little war, rather than one I inherited? This announcement should triple the AIPAC donations and provoke a big enough backlash in the Arab world that the Iran Hawks can manufacture another excuse to start bombing, just like WMD in Iraq or the Gulf of Tonkin.

#10 Comment By Kirt Higdon On December 6, 2017 @ 6:30 pm

Trump is neither cynical nor delusional. That may have been said of former US presidents. Nor is he motivated especially by ideology. He is the first US president to have family connections with the most extreme elements of the Zionist maximalists. That is what is most at play here. Of course, he won’t be hurt politically in the US. He’ll strengthen his support among the Evangelicals and among some pro-Israel swing voters. Among anti-Israel leftists, he has no support to lose anyway and he will actually be tossing an apple of discord into the next Democratic presidential primaries. And if this leads to war against Iran, the Trumpster and his supporters in the MIC will consider that still another “win”.

#11 Comment By Student On December 6, 2017 @ 6:31 pm

Amazing how bad Trump’s policies can be
and still feel we missed a bullet with the defeat of the Hildebeast.

#12 Comment By Grumpy Old Man On December 6, 2017 @ 9:08 pm

This thing is being over-hyped. A unified Jerusalem has been the de facto capital for half a century. The two-state concept has been dead as a doornail for many years, honored only rhetorically. Trump’s speech changes nothing. The Palestinians don’t seem to have the stomach for an intifada now. The last two got them nothing.

This decision was not particularly wise, certainly not just, but it won’t change much.

#13 Comment By Clyde Schechter On December 6, 2017 @ 9:48 pm

So here’s my conspiracy theory of what’s going on. This is about signaling to the world that the US no longer pretends to support a two-state solution and will no longer advocate anything but a straight Israeli take over of all the occupied territories.

The key thing will be how the Arab nations react to this. My guess is that Crown Prince Kushner has pre-cleared this with his BFF Crown Prince MBS and the Saudis are going to try to muscle or buy off the other Arab states in the area to accept this new Middle East order. The Saudis would do this because they have really offered little more than lip service support to the Palestinians from the beginning, and now find them an obstacle to an overt, operational alliance with Israel against Iran.

If the Saudis succeed in muffling Arab dissent, the Israeli-Palestinian peace-talk charade will come to an abrupt end as the Palestinians are offered a deal that leaves them with at most a small economically unsustainable Bantustan somewhere on the West Bank as a province within Israel with some illusion of autonomy. The deal will be take it or leave it. If they leave it and mount an intifada, it will be crushed by the Israelis, with Saudi support, in an operation that will make the operations in Yemen look like a mere schoolyard brawl.

It is, if you will, the start of the Final Solution to the Palestinian question.

#14 Comment By a spencer On December 6, 2017 @ 10:01 pm

I don’t want to get age-ist, so I won’t. The whole dentures/slurred speech thing is the least significant aspect of this worse-than-pointless provocation. 4000 people died in the last intifada (3:1 Palestinian), so this sort of thing isn’t water under the bridge for those families, muslim, Christian or Jewish. Or Communist.

Perhaps it is a clarifying moment that leads to decision making. Alas, its not the sort of decision making that’s in the US interest. Arabs, as if they didn’t before, know now the US is not a fair broker in this equation. No one can pretend that the two-state solution is a reality. Reminder: there are Palestinian families in Lebanese camps who still hold the deed to their land, issued by the British Mandate.

Iran gets to say “I told you so.” Nasrallah is expected to speak at 6pm Beirut time, so early in the day, Western Hemisphere time.

Protests have already begun in Amman. Suppose the royal Hashemites who rule Jordan are not as popular as we’re led to believe, particularly if they’re seen as facilitating this in any way by proximity to the US.

Then there’s the status of the petrodollar.

In the midst of all of this, Trump apparently called on the Saudis to lift the blockade in Yemen for humanitarian purposes today. His chaos approach to government won’t score him any points – not in the US because it should be big news but isn’t, and certainly not in the KSA, to whom he and his son-in-law have seemed so deferential. Not today. You can’t be populist at home and regal abroad. Even if you’re going to be reckless, there are ways to manage it.

collin,
the civil rights issue of the future is a thing, its already playing out, but it seems like apples and oranges compared to 1960s US. The Palestinians already lived there, African Americans until 1820 were forced here.

Jacob,
your first line made me laugh. 🙂

CharleyCarp,
For the “America First” crowd, you’d think this would be uppermost in their minds.

#15 Comment By Winston On December 7, 2017 @ 12:30 am

He has just set in motion push for one state solution-so yes team does not know what they are doing.

#16 Comment By tgthomas On December 8, 2017 @ 1:40 am

Control of East Jerusalem and right of return are regarded as non-negotiables by both sides. If they were, a two-state solution could likely have been achieved back in the ’90’s using the Oslo Accords as a framework. Therefore, any decision to relocate the US embassy to Jerusalem or keep it in Tel Aviv is moot. My guess though is that the US embassy, if it ever actually moves, will be located somewhere well away from East Jerusalem.

#17 Comment By on balance On December 9, 2017 @ 7:26 am

What do you want to bet that the Israelis start whining for more money and weapons — because of the Arab reaction to Trump moving our embassy as Israel has been begging us to do?

That’s the nature of the relationship. We do something they asked us to do and they start whining for more.

Israel is a parasite. A burden and a moral embarrassment to us. The sooner we cut it loose, the better.

#18 Comment By Patricus On December 10, 2017 @ 6:48 am

I must be the only reader who thinks Israel is something better than despicable. Compared to other states in the area–and to what else can they be compared?–Israel has pretty good government, laws and courts. The society is relatively humane and there is an impressive economy. Their claims on Jerusalem are at least as credible as the Palestinians, although neither party is rational. The Arabs thought they would drive the Jews into the sea, that is, exterminate them. It didn’t work and now they have a lot of Palestinians among them.

It does not serve US interests to help wrestle the city from Israel. The Muslims would just destroy and defile Jewish temples and graves. There are two civilizations involved and one is a lot more like ours. It is ridiculous for the West to pose as an impartial observer.