Unleashing Hell in the Middle East
One of the certainties of the new Trump foreign policy will be a slavish obedience to whatever Bibi Netanyahu wants, even the destruction of the two-state solution. As evidenced by his selection for US ambassador to Israel of someone who is far right and against a two-state solution, as well as in favor of the provocative movement of our embassy to Jerusalem. Trump can now be counted upon to enable Israel’s march towards an undemocratic Jewish state that treats the Palestinian natives as second-class, apartheid-suffering residents of their homeland.
As noted in the New York Times today, the end result of such enabling and blind support for a single-state solution will be to isolate Israel and the United States from our allies and in the region, destabilize Jordan and likely peel away the support of the moderate Sunni states that currently tolerate Israel and live alongside it. And given Trump’s narrow-minded and singular focus on killing Islamic terrorists as his sole foreign policy objective apart from doing whatever Bibi and Putin want, America is about to find itself far more alone and far more unsafe.
Aside from Netanyahu, both political parties have their fingerprints on this failure. Despite their stated support for a two-state solution, the Bush administration’s NeoCons would never have allowed it to come to fruition on their watch. Having said that, and knowing that all foreign policy during Barack Obama’s eight years came straight from the White House, the president can’t escape blame himself for a wasted eight years. Just like Obama bears responsibility for avoiding the hard work in Syria and Iraq and favoring instead the legacy opportunities of the Iranian nuclear deal, he also made little or no direct investment or commitment himself towards a two-state solution with an odious Israeli prime minister.
No doubt the two-state solution was not without its challenges; it’s just that a non-democratic Jewish state has even more, and places the United States in an untenable position. Which raises the question: what does America do in a post-Trump Middle East? I would argue that having Netanyahu get Trump’s compliant support for killing off a two-state solution will only make it certain that the next Democratic administration finally backs away from both Israel and Saudi Arabia, and resumes being an honest broker seeking stability and opportunity. Unlike the orthodox Jews and alt-right nationalists pushing the current GOP towards the fringe in foreign policy, American Jews more broadly do not support where Netanyahu is taking Israel, and will have a front-row seat to what Bibi and Trump’s team bequeath to their homeland. All I know is that Israel just got the last of its no-strings, multi-year military aid packages from the United States, because we won’t be bankrolling a new South Africa in the Middle East.