7 Moments from Trump’s Speech in Saudi Arabia

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks in Saudi Arabia (Photo: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Clarion Project, by Ryan Mauro, May 22, 2017:

President Trump’s brazen speech in Saudi Arabia is being praised from (almost) all quarters. Its powerful moments will be remembered for years and will reverberate throughout the Middle East. But no speech is perfect.

Here are seven moments from the speech, starting with what may be the closest President Trump may come to having his “Tear Down This Wall” moment:

  1. It is a choice between two futures – and it is a choice America CANNOT make for you.
    A better future is only possible if your nations drive out the terrorists and extremists. Drive. Them. Out.
     DRIVE THEM OUT of your places of worship.
    DRIVE THEM OUT of your communities.
    DRIVE THEM OUT of your holy land, and
    DRIVE THEM OUT OF THIS EARTH.
    This is strongest statement towards the Muslim world uttered by an American president since 9/11 and perhaps in history. These words—and the Trumpian delivery of them—will be remembered for years to come. While eloquent words favored by speechwriters and high-brow elites are usually forgotten, these won’t be.There are also two clear sub-messages: One, that the Muslim world is not adequately “driving them out,” meaning, the Islamists still thrive in mosques, holy lands (which would include Saudi Arabia) and Muslim communities. The enemy are not fringe, undetectable loners. Secondly, don’t outsource your responsibility for this to America.

    We won’t let you scapegoat us and have us respond by apologizing for the grievances you use to excuse yourself from responsibility. This is your problem: Own it.

  2. Religious leaders must make this absolutely clear: Barbarism will deliver you no glory – piety to evil will bring you no dignity. If you choose the path of terror, your life will be empty, your life will be brief, and YOUR SOUL WILL BE CONDEMNED. This is another strike in the ideological war where the Trumpian way of speaking is powerful, especially when you consider how accustomed the Middle East is to the softer diplomatic tone of the West in contrast to the fiery hyperbole that is common place in that part of the world.Trump recognized something crucial: The enemy believes it is pious and is impacted by religious teaching from authoritative figures. It’s not about anger over foreign policy or joblessness or lack of education. It’s about piety and a belief that dying in jihad is a guaranteed ticket to Paradise.
  3. That means honestly confronting the crisis of Islamist extremism and the Islamist terror groups it inspires. And it means standing together against the murder of innocent Muslims, the oppression of women, the persecution of Jews and the slaughter of Christians.

    Most of the speech used vague, relative terms like “terrorism” and “extremism.” The focus was almost entirely on ISIS and Iran. But then came this paragraph. President Trump identified the enemy not just as Islamist terrorist groups, but the Islamist extremism foundation necessary for those groups to manifest.Of special note is the line about “persecution of Jews.” This was not stated with some moral equivalence about how Israel shares blame for stifling the nationalist aspirations of Palestinians. No, Trump identified anti-Semitism as a central problem outside of the context of Israel. That omission is powerful.The identification of the enemy as Islamist extremism is refreshing, but as Dr. Daniel Pipes points out, “one statement does not a policy make.” Even Obama uttered the word “jihadist” on a few rare occasions.

    The framing of the enemy as Islamism should have been the focal point of the speech, rather than waiting until the middle and the end to use the term. What should have followed was a strategy, with the sticks and carrots, to uproot the sustainers of the ideology so it dissipates into history. A question is left hanging, “Now what? What changes?”

  4. The true toll of ISIS, Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas and so many others must be counted not only in the number of dead. It must also be counted in generations of vanished dreams.

    The inclusion of Hamas and Hezbollah in this section is very significant. It wasn’t a call for Hamas and Hezbollah to drop terrorism to achieve their goals, as if they are freedom fighters gone astray.The argument wasn’t that their actions are counterproductive: It was that their very existence has sabotaged a potentially promising future from the people of the Middle East—not just Palestinians and Lebanese, but everyone. Again he framed the issue not as a consequence of Israel, thus negating claims of Hamas and Hezbollah of being “liberation” movements.

  5. The birthplace of civilization is waiting to begin a new renaissance. Just imagine what tomorrow could bring.This is a call for a reformation into modernity (as opposed to the “reformation” offered by the Islamist movements). President Obama acknowledged this necessity—but he did it in an interview, not in a historical speech to the Muslim world from Saudi Arabia.Ideally, Trump would have given a little more time to describe what is holding back this renaissance beyond a generic attribution to “extremism.” He should have taken a queue from Egyptian President El-Sisi and consulted with progressive Muslim reformers.

    Trump called for “gradual change,” but failed to mention freedom, even gradually-granted freedom. His team likely worried that the mention of freedom would be interpreted as a synonym for democracy promotion, but caveats could have addressed that. This renaissance and rolling back of Islamism will require greater political and religious freedom, and acknowledging so does not make one an advocate of hasty destabilizations.

  6. Until the Iranian regime is willing to be a partner for peace, all nations of conscience must work together to isolate Iran, deny it funding for terrorism and pray for the day when the Iranian people have the just and righteous government they deserve.President Obama’s attitude towards Iran unnerved our Sunni Arab partners in the region. The heavy focus on Iran should help address that, but the fixation on the Iranian regime seemed to echo the Saudi line that Iran is responsible for practically all of the terrorism and extremism in the region. This let the Sunni side of radical Islam get off easy.The statement about hoping for a better government for the Iranian people is positive, as it at least welcomes regime change.However, it does not signal an American commitment to regime change in Iran or even regime destabilization. President Trump’s opposition to regime change is clear. To the ears of skeptical Iranians seeking freedom, this will sound like another investment in the hope that the Iranian  “moderates” in the regime can slowly gain support in the theocratic system.
  7. The Sunni governments got off easy.If you listened to the Saudi king’s speech before Trump’s—where he said sharia protects innocent life and promotes peace and tolerance [basically engaging in dawa (proselytizing) to the world] — you’d see that he was one small step from declaring an American-Sunni jihad on Iran. It gave the impression that the Saudis saw the words of the speech as relating to ISIS and Iran alone, not holding them accountable.Based on the way Trump talked about the Saudis, you would have thought they were modern day Minutemen in need of a motivational speech. I shared Dr. Daniel Pipes’ reaction of “gagging” at the praise he gave to King Salman, who is known to have directly financed jihadists.The massive sale of arms to the Saudis was described as “blessed,” as if God’s hand had arranged and approved of the transfer. The Saudis’ opening of a Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology was praised as “groundbreaking,” even though we’ve heard this story over and over and have no details with which to judge it as “groundbreaking” or not. At this point, it’s more like the wolf guarding the hen house.Qatar and Kuwait, two major financiers of Islamist terrorism and extremism, were praised shortly before Trump praised the Gulf Cooperation Council for blocking terror-financing.

Overall, the speech had tremendous moments, with important subtleties that are important to notice. But the speech was not a launch of an ideological war against Islamism. While it was a great call to action, it was not a plan of action. If this speech is to produce concrete results, the declaration of a bold plan of action must soon follow.

Ryan Mauro is ClarionProject.org’s Shillman Fellow and national security analyst and an adjunct professor of counter-terrorism. He is frequently interviewed on top-tier television and radio. To invite Ryan to speak, please contact us.

Trump in Saudi Arabia: Fight ‘Islamic Terror’ & ‘Drive Them Out’

President Donald Trump delivers a speech to the Arab Islamic American Summit, at the King Abdulaziz Conference Center, Sunday, May 21, 2017, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Conservative Review, by Jordan Schachtel, May 21, 2017:

President Donald Trump delivered the first major foreign policy speech of his tenure Sunday evening in Riyadh, discussing his vision for how America should conduct its international affairs.

America will engage with the world through the lens of a “Principled Realism,” Trump explained, “rooted in common values and shared interests.”

The president delivered on a crucial campaign promise to identify the global jihadist movement as one of the key threats to world stability. Speaking in Saudi Arabia, in front of the leaders of dozens of Muslim nations, Trump called upon the world to “drive out” the “Islamic terror” movements that persist within their countries.

“The true toll of ISIS, Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, and so many others, must be counted not only in the number of dead. It must also be counted in generations of vanished dreams,” he proclaimed.

In labeling the enemies of world order as “Islamic” terrorists, he diverted from a final prepared transcript of the finished speech that referenced “Islamist” terrorists. The departure is significant. Defining the enemy as “Islamic” signals a call for reform within the religion, while labeling the enemy as “Islamist” refers to a violent supremacist political ideology.

The president demanded that leaders confront “the crisis of Islamic extremism and the Islamist and Islamic terror of all kinds.”

“And it means standing together against the murder of innocent Muslims, the oppression of women, the persecution of Jews, and the slaughter of Christians,” he added.

Delivering an impassioned plea to his counterparts in the Muslim world, he argued that “a better future is only possible if your nations drive out the terrorists and extremists.”

“Drive. Them. Out!” the president exclaimed. “Drive them out of your places of worship. Drive them out of your communities. Drive them out of your holy land, and drive them out of this earth.

Marking a departure from the Obama administration’s coziness with Iran, Trump highlighted the threat posed by the Iranian regime and its proxies in Lebanese Hezbollah and the Houthis of Yemen. He called on American allies to isolate the Iranian regime and stop it in its quest for global dominance.

“From Lebanon to Iraq to Yemen, Iran funds, arms, and trains terrorists, militias, and other extremist groups that spread destruction and chaos across the region. For decades, Iran has fueled the fires of sectarian conflict and terror,” President Trump said. “It is a government that speaks openly of mass murder, vowing the destruction of Israel, death to America, and ruin for many leaders and nations in this room.”

The president called upon “nations of conscience”  to “work together to isolate Iran, deny it funding for terrorism, and pray for the day when the Iranian people have the just and righteous government they deserve.”

Trump will wrap up his visit to Saudi Arabia this evening and depart for Israel, where he will spend the next two days.

Jordan Schachtel is the national security correspondent for Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @JordanSchachtel.

Also see:

On Mideast Policy, the Swamp Drains Trump

FILE — In this Tuesday, March 14, 2017 file photo, President Donald Trump stands with Saudi Defense Minister and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman before lunch in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington. With an eye toward Washington, leaders of a fractured and conflict-ridden Arab world hold their annual summit Wednesday, March 29, 2017, seeking common ground as President Donald Trump weighs his approach toward the region. The stalled Palestinian quest for statehood, is an issue that host Jordan says will take center stage. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

PJ Media, by Robert Spencer, May 18, 2017:

Speaking Friday about President Trump’s trip to the Middle East, National Security Adviser H. R. McMaster said that Trump would:

… develop a strong, respectful message that the United States and the entire civilized world expects our Muslim allies to take a strong stance against radical Islamist ideology.

Those who are aware of how badly U.S. foreign policy has run off the rails over the last fifteen years should be deeply disturbed.

The world has been waiting in vain for that decade-and-a-half for “our Muslim allies to take a strong stance against radical Islamist ideology.” McMaster’s words were a disquieting indication that the foreign policy swamp, one in the most dire need of draining, has instead turned the tables on the president.

Trump now appears set to repeat all the mistakes his last two predecessors made in dealing with the global jihad threat.

McMaster added that jihad terrorists were operating according to “an ideology that uses a perverted interpretation of religion to justify crimes against all humanity.” But Trump, on the other hand, “will call for Muslim leaders to promote a peaceful vision of Islam.”

Here we go again.

How many times since 9/11 has one American spokesman or another declared that “the United States and the entire civilized world expects our Muslim allies to take a strong stance against radical Islamist ideology”? And what do we have to show for this expectation? How many years must we expect this before we realize that our “Muslim allies” have vastly different priorities than what mainstream counterterror analysts would wish to believe?

Pakistan’s government sheltered first bin Laden and now Zawahiri, was involved in the Mumbai jihad massacre and other jihad attacks, and has funneled much of the money the U.S. gave it to fight al-Qaeda and the Taliban to … al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

Turkey has repeatedly refused to strike strongly against the Islamic State (ISIS). President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is much more concerned with hitting Assad and the Kurds.

How long do we keep waiting on these “Muslim allies” to do the right thing, and weakly and pusillanimously calling upon them to do so?

And Trump “will call for Muslim leaders to promote a peaceful vision of Islam”? Well, there’s something we’ve never seen tried before!

Where has McMaster been for the last decade-and-a-half? Buried deep in the foreign policy establishment swamp that has been serving up this nonsense all these years. And now he has apparently sold President “Drain The Swamp” on it.

Both Bush and Obama called for Muslim leaders to promote a peaceful vision of Islam; they also both claimed that the jihadis’ version of Islam “uses a perverted interpretation of religion.” Where did it get them? The same place comforting falsehoods always take you: into a maze of blind alleys and failed policies based on incorrect analysis.

Even worse, McMaster said:

[W]ith President Abbas, Trump will express his desire for dignity and self-determination for the Palestinians.

Does no one around Trump understand that a Palestinian state would immediately become a strengthened base for new and more virulent jihad attacks against a weakened Israel? When they met in Washington recently, Abbas lied brazenly to President Trump: he claimed that his government “educates for peace,” and that the Palestinian Authority is “raising our youth, our children, our grandchildren on a culture of peace.” Meanwhile, on the same day, Abbas’ government honored 12 jihad mass murderers who are responsible for the deaths of 95 people.

The foreign policy establishment’s house organ, Foreign Policy, is worried that “in the White House ‘Game of Thrones for morons,’ Steve Bannon is trying to turn the president against his national security advisor.” We can only hope that Bannon succeeds. It’s ironic that Foreign Policy would dub the Trump team “morons” when it is the foremost exponent of the analyses and policies that have failed multiple times, and that McMaster is once again pushing.

Once again, because he has done this before. In February, according to CNN:

[A]t an all-hands meeting of the National Security Council, [McMaster] said jihadist terrorists aren’t true to their professed religion and that the use of the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism” doesn’t help the US in working with allies to defeat terrorist groups.

A source who has asked to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals has informed me that he was present in August 2014 when McMaster was the featured speaker for the President’s Lecture Series at National Defense University in Washington. In his address, McMaster said flatly:

The Islamic State is not Islamic.

Now, this was during the Obama regime, when that was the official policy of the U.S. government, but President Trump has repeatedly criticized his predecessor (and his 2016 election opponent) for not being willing to call the problem of jihad terror by its right name. When he first became president, Trump repeatedlystated his determination to eradicate “radical Islamic terrorism.”

But what McMaster has announced represents a giant step backward in the effort to do that.

This represents a huge victory for the McCain/Graham Republican establishment, which subscribes no less than McMaster does to the “Islam is a religion of peace” line, and is also trying to neutralize Trump and keep the swamp from being drained.

Don’t break this promise, Mr. President.

Trump to Give ‘Inspiring’ Speech on Islam, ‘Agenda of Tolerance’ in Saudi Arabia

President Trump shakes hands with Saudi Defense Minister and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington on March 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

PJ Media, by Bridget Johnson, May 16, 2017:

WASHINGTON — President Trump will give a speech on his trip to Saudi Arabia this weekend to convey his “hopes for a peaceful vision of Islam,” National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster said today.

Trump flies Friday to the Gulf kingdom as the first stop on his first overseas trip since inauguration. He’ll stay through Sunday before flying to Israel for a day, then will visit Pope Francis on Rome the next day before continuing on to a NATO summit in Brussels and then the G7 summit in Sicily.

Briefing reporters about Trump’s agenda today at the White House, McMaster lauded it as a “historic trip.”

The president will have coffee with King Salman after touching down in Riyadh followed by a royal banquet and bilateral meetings.

The day after he arrives, Trump “will meet and have lunch with leaders of more than 50 Muslim countries where he will deliver an inspiring, yet direct speech on the need to confront radical ideology and his hopes, the president’s hopes for a peaceful vision of Islam to dominate across the world,” McMaster said.

“The speech is intended to unite the broader Muslim world against common enemies of all civilization and to demonstrate America’s commitment to our Muslim partners,” he added.

Trump will “participate in the inauguration of a new center intended to fight radicalism and promote moderation.”

“By establishing and operating this center, our Muslim friends, including Saudi Arabia, are taking a firm stand against extremism and those who use a perverted interpretation of religion to advance their criminal and political agendas,” McMaster continued. “The president also looks forward to participating in a Twitter forum with young people who will be able to live tweet his remarks to people all over the world.”

In Jerusalem, Trump will lay a wreath at Yad Vashem and deliver remarks at the Israeli Museum before having a private dinner with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The next morning the president heads to Bethlehem to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, whom he recently welcomed to the White House, to “convey his administration’s eagerness to facilitate an agreement that ends the conflict.”

Trump plans to visit the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and say a prayer at the Western Wall, unaccompanied by any Israeli leaders.

“He’s going to the Western Wall mainly in connection with the theme to connect with three of the world’s great religions and to advance — to pay homage to each of these religious sites that he’s visiting, but also to highlight the theme that we all have to be united against what are really the enemies of all civilized people, and that we have to be joined together in — in a — with an agenda of tolerance and moderation,” McMaster explained.

Israeli Channel 2 reported that a U.S. diplomat planning the trip with Israeli officials said the Western Wall was in Palestinian territory, not Israel. Pressed twice during today’s briefing on whether the Western Wall is part of Israel, McMaster  said, “That sounds like a policy decision.”

“The president’s intention is to visit these religious sites, to highlight the need for unity among three of the world’s great religions: unity in confronting a very grave threat to all civilization, and unity in embracing an agenda of tolerance,” he added.

Also see:

Top U.S. Commander: Iran’s Heightened Threat Since Nuclear Deal May Require Military Action

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty

Breitbart, by Edwin Mora, March 30, 2017:

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. needs to consider military action to disrupt Iran’s malign activities in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia, which have intensified since the Islamic Republic signed a nuclear deal with world powers in 2015, a top American commander warned American lawmakers.

Former President Barack Obama and other supporters of the nuclear deal argued that it would promote peace and avoid military confrontation.

Gen. Joseph Votel, the head of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) testified Wednesday before the House Armed Services Committee about the security challenges facing his area of responsibility (AOR).

The Central Region, or CENTCOM AOR, spans more than 4 million square miles that cover 20 predominantly Muslim nations that stretch from Northeast Africa across the Middle East to Central and South Asia.

In his written testimony, Gen. Votel declared:

Iran poses the most significant threat to the Central Region and to our national interests and the interests of our partners and allies.

We have not seen any improvement in Iran’s behavior since the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), addressing Iran’s nuclear program, was finalized in July 2015.

Over the past year, after the nuclear deal was signed, the U.S. military has been dealing with Iran and its proxies carrying out “a range of malign activities” in the Central Region, namely in “Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Egypt, the Sinai, and the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait [located between Yemen and Djibouti and Eritrea] and in other parts of our area of responsibility,” declared Gen. Votel.

Democrat Congresswoman Jacky Rosen from Nevada asked the top U.S. general during the hearing, “Do you believe Iran has increased destabilizing activity since the JCPOA?”

“I do believe they have,” responded Gen. Votel, adding in his written remarks:

Unfortunately, the [nuclear] agreement has led some to believe that we have largely addressed the Iranian problem set and that is not the case. In addition to its nuclear weapons potential, Iran presents several credible threats. They have a robust theater ballistic missile program, and we remain concerned about their cyber and maritime activities, as well as the activities of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps – Qods Forces (IRGC-QF) and their network of affiliates, [including their narco-terrorist proxy Hezbollah].

Since the nuclear agreement was signed, Iran has been “clearly focused” on expanding its influence and power in the Central Region, noted Votel.

“Recognizing that Iran poses the greatest long-term threat to U.S. interests in the Central Region, we must seize opportunities to both reassure our allies and shape Iran’s behavior,” he pointed out, adding, “Through both messaging and actions, we must also be clear in our communications and ensure the credibility of U.S. intentions.”

To disrupt Iran’s growing threat, the U.S. must consider military action and other ways, proclaimed Gen. Votel.

“I’ve had an opportunity to talk with some of our regional partners about it,” he said. “I think we need to look at opportunities where we can disrupt through military means or other means, their activities.”

“In addition to ready military actions, we must support the broader USG [U.S. Government] strategy with regard to Iran which should include new diplomatic initiatives that provide Iran with viable alternatives to its present course,” he conceded.

The U.S. general did stress that Iran must be aware that there will be consequences if it continues its malign and provocative activities.

“The point that I would emphasize to you is that while there may be other more strategic or consequential threats or regions in our world, today, the central region has come to represent the nexus for many of the security challenges our nation faces,” warned the CENTCOM commander.

“Most importantly, the threats in this region continue to pose the most direct threat to the U.S. homeland and the global economy. Thus it must remain a priority and be resourced accordingly,” added Gen. Votel.

The Af-Pak region is home to the largest concentration of U.S. and United Nations-designated terrorist groups — 13 in Afghanistan and seven in Pakistan, according to the U.S. military.

Moreover, “the Middle East remains the global epicenter of terrorism and violent Islamist extremism,” wrote Gen. Votel.

Citing the Institute for Economics and Peace’s 2016 Global Terrorism Index, he testified that “the U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) AOR accounted for 78% of all terrorism incidents worldwide.”

Also see:

Major warning signs for conservatives about Trump’s Mideast policy

num_skyman | Shutterstock

Conservative Review, by Daniel Horowitz, March 15, 2017:

As conservatives fight the efforts of their own party and president to promote Obamacare 2.0 here at home, there are some major problems with the direction in foreign policy of this Trump administration. We can dismiss all reports of liberal policies and leftist personnel emanating from this administration as “fake news” — or we can demand a course correction before this becomes the third term of Obama’s State Department. The choice is ours.

The final dramatic act of the Obama administration was to instigate a public feud between former Secretary of State John Kerry and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over where Jews can live in their own homeland. As conservatives, we swore to ourselves that once Trump assumed power we’d be done with the illogical and immoral Oslo Accords, along with its maniacal idea of creating a new Arab terror state.

Trump himself also promised a new direction:

The reason this issue is important is not just because of our relationship with Israel ; it’s that the obsession with a Palestinian state and the recognition of the Palestinian Liberation Organization terrorists has served as the fulcrum of our entire Middle East policy for 24 years, preventing us from acting in our own self-interests.

The failure to understand the danger of the PLO is not just bad for Israel. It’s also dangerous for America because it demonstrates that our political elites don’t understand the Islamic threat and will continue the past mistakes of both the Clinton/Obama leftists and the establishment neo-conservatives who support the nation building agenda in the Arab world.

Well, that nightmare is now upon us.

During Trump’s second week in office, I took a lot of flak for criticizing the White House’s statement on Israel’s construction in the so-called settlements. Some conservatives felt that Trump’s statement was a breath of fresh air because, while he did rebuke the construction, he implied that building within the “settlement blocks” is OK.

Obviously, as I noted at the time, this statement is nonsense. Why are we getting involved in any of this Kerry-style dictating of terms? Weren’t we supposed to break from the entire Oslo Accords? Why should we legitimize any notion of a Palestinian state and how does that put America’s interests first? Weren’t we done with nation building in terror states among existing nations, much less trying to create a new one? I warned that absent a course correction, this policy would grow legs and irrevocably suck the president into the globalist swamp of the PLO cause.

It has. Consider the following troubling observations:

  • This week, Trump dispatched Jason Greenblatt, his top lawyer and envoy to the Middle East, to pressure Netanyahu into halting construction, even for a city designed to house displaced Israelis who were uprooted by a very painful evacuation. As the Times of Israel is reporting, Greenblatt is now obsessing over every last neighborhood with the maniacal precision of John Kerry to prevent Israel from building even within existing “settlements.” The pressure is reportedly so strong that Netanyahu has now held off on his plans to fully annex Ma’ale Adumim, the largest suburb of Jerusalem, which has always been a “consensus” area (even to those who buy into the premise of a Palestinian state). Greenblatt later met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (whose term of office expired eight years ago!) and treated him like a peace partner.
  • The inimitable Caroline Glick gives a riveting account of the sharp turn of the White House on Israel — embracing the PLO, inviting Abbas to the White House, and taking an active (almost obsessive) role in promoting a Palestinian state. It’s almost as if Trump has made it his life’s mission (or, son-in-law Jared Kushner’s mission) to ram through the “peace process” even more than Obama.
  • My colleague, Jordan Schachtel has already reported that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson appointed a Kerry acolyte as the Israel-Palestinian policy official in the State Department. Michael Ratney was Obama’s consul to Jerusalem who “oversaw grants to OneVoice, a leftist non-profit that President Obama allegedly used to try to unseat Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel’s 2015 election.” Ratney oversaw a program the Times of Israel said was “in effect setting up an armed Palestinian militia in the consulate.” Martin Indyk — Obama’s anti-Israel apologist — praised the appointment, tweeting that Ratney was a “valued member of Kerry’s peace team.”
  • Trump decided to keep Obama’s National Security Council Adviser, Yael Lempert, for Israel policy. She accompanied Greenblatt on his trip to Israel, where he graciously met with Abbas and pressured Netanyahu on settlements. Lempert was literally Obama’s point person in the White House orchestrating his war against Israel. This decision is Orwellian.
  • Talk about the fox guarding the hen house? Sahar Nowrouzzadeh, the Iran director for Obama’s National Security Council, has been given the portfolio over the Persian Gulf region on the policy planning staff at the State Department. This individual was an essential figure in pushing through the Iran deal and has ties to Tehran.
  • Defense Secretary James Mattis wanted to appoint Anne Patterson to the No. 3 position in the Pentagon. Patterson was Obama’s ambassador to Egypt, who had ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and embodied John Kerry’s foreign policy. Although conservatives successfully prevented that from happening, Mattis’ motivations, along with a number of troubling statements on policy, reveal that he fundamentally doesn’t share a conservative worldview.

Folks, this is not “deep state” sabotage of Pres. Trump’s agenda. This is Trump sabotaging himself by allowing Jared in the White House and top officials in State to promote the very worst elements of the Clinton/Bush/Obama foreign policy. And it’s not just about Israel. Anyone who believes in creating a new terror state and partnering with PLO terrorists clearly does not understand the broader Islamic threat. This could lead us into nation-building in Syria and other insufferable Arab countries, a notion Trump explicitly rejected with his popular denunciation of the Iraq war.

There is nothing to “negotiate” and nobody with which we can “cut deals.” This is not a matter of convincing Carrier to keep its plant in Indiana. Some things don’t work with negotiations; Islamo-fascists elements are one good example.

What is so disappointing is that foreign policy is the one area where the president has wide latitude to change course without the cumbersome legislative process. Almost 60 days into the new administration, there is no major accomplishment that has gotten past Congress, including the much-promised FULL repeal of Obamacare. Again, foreign policy is the one area where Donald Trump can unilaterally make his mark.

However, absent a dramatic change of course, the pink unicorn of the PLO “peace process” will ensnare President Trump into untenable diplomatic quicksand. As Caroline Glick warns, “The PLO is the Siren that drowns U.S. administrations.” Trump must understand that if he is “serious about embracing the PLO and intends to have his top advisers devote themselves to Abbas and his henchmen,” he is setting himself up “to fail and be humiliated.”

Make no mistake: The “two-state solution” is the Obamacare of foreign policy. Failure to repeal it will be as catastrophic for foreign policy as Obamacare is for domestic policy. Except this time, we won’t be able to blame a parliamentarian.

Interview with Angelo M. Codevilla on ‘Romancing the Sunni: A US Policy Tragedy’

Published on Jan 1, 2016 by Asia Times

Angelo M. Codevilla, professor emeritus of international relations at Boston University, and a member of the Hoover Institution’s working group on military history, answers Asia Times questions on how the US government’s foreign policy mess has created a monster like the ISIS. Today, the Daesh/ISIS — a sub-sect of Sunni Islam — murders and encourages murdering Americans.

READ THE THREE-PART SERIES HERE:

PART 1: http://atimes.com/2015/12/romancing-t…

PART 2: http://atimes.com/2015/12/romancing-t…

PART 3: http://atimes.com/2015/12/romancing-t…

Angelo M. Codevilla is professor emeritus of international relations at Boston University, and a member of the Hoover Institution’s working group on military history. He is the author of fourteen books, including  Informing Statecraft, War, ends And Means, The Character of Nations, Advice to War Presidents, and To Make and Keep Peace.  He served on President Ronald Reagan’s transition teams for the Department of State and the Intelligence agencies. He was a US naval officer and a US foreign service officer. As a staff member of the US Senate Intelligence committee, he supervised the intelligence agencies’ budgets with emphasis on collection systems and counterintelligence. He was instrumental in developing technologies for modern anti-missile defense. Codevilla has taught ancient and modern political thought and international affairs at major universities.