September 15, 2020

Trump Middle East peace approach was not conventional

Dana Mathewson

As if the Left hasn't enough to drive it nuts these days, Our Mr. Trump has gone and begun a successful peace initiative in the Middle East. Why, the nerve of that man, succeeding where every Democrat (and even every other Republican) head of state has failed! It makes you not want to get out of bed in the morning.

All kidding aside, why should anybody be surprised? After all, the man is not a politician, he's a businessman: a problem-solver. He thinks in terms of solutions, not processes. And here's an excellent Fox News article that describes it.

To the consternation of the foreign policy establishment, President Trump has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, not just once, but twice. To their amazement, he tackled the world’s one seemingly unsolvable problem– Arab-Israeli peace – and seems to be succeeding.

For decades, American presidents had tried to achieve Middle East peace. They all failed.

Why? Because the oil-rich Gulf Arab states refused to deal with Israel until the Palestinian problem was solved.

As a result, their starting point was always the thorniest problem in the region – and Middle East peace was always a non-starter.

President Trump took a different approach. Rather than starting with the Palestinians, he decided to work from the outside in, beginning with the Gulf Arab countries.

To make that a viable option, he had to first force changes in the underlying reality of the region, by maneuvering circumstances so the Arabs came to realize it was in their self-interest to make peace with Israel.

It is the same approach President Richard Nixon and his Secretary of State Henry Kissinger took 50 years ago.

Nixon’s first term was a flurry of diplomatic negotiations and foreign policy achievements – the opening to China, détente and arms control agreements with the USSR, along with the Paris Accords designed to end the Vietnam War. The one area of the world they avoided was the Middle East.

Nixon and Kissinger realized the conditions weren’t right for negotiations between Israel and its Arab neighbors, much less agreement.

In the early 1970s, no Arab leader would dare even contemplate peace with Israel. Their countries had been humiliated in the Six-Day Arab-Israeli war in 1967 after suffering disastrous losses in land and prestige at the hands of the Israeli military.

The October 1973 Arab-Israeli war changed the dynamic in the region. Egypt regained some of the lands it had lost in the 1967 war, and with it its national pride.

Nixon sent Kissinger to the Middle East to broker an end to the October war, and start a process that would eventually lead to peace between Israel, Egypt and Jordan.

But the Palestinian problem remained and festered. Over the years Islamic movements grew, and violence between Israel and the Palestinians continued, in some cases supported by the oil-rich Gulf Arabs.

Like Nixon and Kissinger before him, President Trump understood any effort at making peace between Israel and the Palestinians was doomed unless the underlying realities of the region changed.So he set about changing them.

First, Trump pushed for American energy independence. Not only did it accelerate America’s economic recovery, but it has also weaned us off Arab oil and the political and military entanglements that came with it.

Second, American energy production drove oil prices down. Arab leaders realized they could no longer count on lucrative oil exports alone to fund their governments and societies. They needed to diversify their economies and modernize their societies, which required regional peace.

Third, Iran’s nuclear program, its sponsorship of terrorism and regional hegemonic ambitions were a threat not just to Israel, but also to Iran’s Sunni Arab neighbors in the Gulf. There is a saying in the Middle East: the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Please read the rest, found here It's very worth the time.

Incidentally, I am personally glad to see President Nixon receive some praise for the statesmanship practiced during his years in office. Those were not the Dark Ages, after all. Nixon deserves to be remembered for much more than Watergate!

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at 02:45 PM | No Comments | Add Comment
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