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Home / World / Trump is not just a reversal of Obama's foreign policy. He makes it impossible for his successor to return to them.

Trump is not just a reversal of Obama's foreign policy. He makes it impossible for his successor to return to them.

Aaron David Miller served in the Middle East as a US State Department analyst, adviser and facilitator in Republican and Democratic governments and is the author of The End of Greatness: Why America Can (and Wants) Have Another Great President .

Richard Sokolsky is currently a non-resident senior fellow of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. From 2005-2015, he was a member of the US Department of State's Policy Planning Office and served in six departments in the State Department.

Who says the Trump government does not know what it does in the Middle East?

Sure, there's a lot of confusion, diplomatic misconduct and malfunctioning in Trump's foreign policy. In two critical points, however, it is deadly. The government is focusing like a laser beam on irreversibly burning the US bridges into Iran and using last rites for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If you look at the current policies of the administration, it is clear that not only should they lift President Barack Obama's actions, but they should also create points where there is no return ̵

1; so that the successor administrations can not resort to earlier approaches, even If you want. If the government succeeds and is well on its way, it has seriously undermined US national interests over the next few years.

History Below

At the beginning of his presidency, it was not clear what President Donald Trump had planned for Iran and Israel, two of the most complicated tensions in the Middle East. Attacking Obama over his Iranian nuclear deal and his criticism of Israel undoubtedly gained points with Trump's conservative, Protestant base. Nevertheless, there were moments in the campaign's campaign when Trump expressed interest in negotiating a better nuclear deal with Iran and mediating the "deal of the century" between Israelis and Palestinians rather than killing the prospects for both. Trump offered several times to meet with Iranian President Rouhani without having to negotiate a new nuclear deal. And his unprecedented delegation of the Israeli-Palestinian file to his son-in-law indicated a genuine commitment to a serious peace plan.

The administration now has a complete face. Whatever Trump's personal inclination is to prove he is the world's largest negotiator in Iran, his Hardline advisers, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and NSA John Bolton want to get rid of and not engage the mullahs who rule the Islamic Republic. Pompeo and Bolton are now working hard to persuade Iran not only to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Action of Action (JCPOA) – and perhaps – but also to prevent a successor, either to engage in a broader geopolitics, or to engage in diplomacy to dispel the differences between the US and Iran. The government announcement announced on Monday to lift all sanctions on countries still importing Iranian oil is in line with this pattern of relying on coercion and intimidation rather than diplomacy. Whatever the president's personal views on the Israeli-Palestinian peace (and during the election campaign they were more balanced than they are today), Jared Kushner and his team now seem to have the will to create a "made in Israel" peace plan Arrive dead and drive the last nail into the coffin of a peace process that is already life sustaining.


Last year, Pompeo submitted 12 extreme demands that Tehran had to fulfill before the Trump administration would reconfirm its agreement with Iran. The demands have forced Iran to renounce all its rights under the JCPOA and to cease its pursuit of its legitimate interests in the region – for example, in stabilizing Iraq and supporting the government of Adil Abdul-Mahdi Defeating Islam state in Iraq. This dictate was quickly and furiously rejected by the Iranian government.

No economic or diplomatic pressure exerted by the US on Tehran will force it to submit to these orders. However, the government's fantastic demands have created a standard used to assess future nuclear agreements that a democratic or other type of republican government could negotiate with Iran, most likely requiring both US and Iranian compromises. This means that a president who does not meet these standards is accused of appeasement charges, which makes compromise and support for a new agreement much more difficult domestically. The government is not only killing the Iranian nuclear deal; it prevents him from bringing back to life.

The government's decision to design Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as an organization for foreign terrorists is also deliberate and needlessly confrontational, and given the harsh, militant and enduring nature of the IRGC, it will be almost impossible to undo the action. Succession management, if it tried to undo its designation, would be vulnerable to the charge of sponsoring state-sponsored terrorism. The move will strengthen hardliners in Iran who oppose housing in the US and weaken elements within the country who prefer better relations with America. Now they have no choice but to remain silent or to stay close behind the IRGC, further reducing the chances of future engagement and diplomacy with Iran. Empowered Hardliners will crack down even harder on Iranians who want less political repression, more respect for human rights and more political and civil liberties. All these results were undoubtedly intended by Pompeo and Bolton, and they work together with the economic struggle that the government is waging against Iran, which should spark internal turmoil in the country that could ultimately lead to the overthrow of clerical rule. The introduction of the full embargo on Iran's oil exports, if successful, will add even more economic misery to the Iranian people and the perception that the US government is not only an enemy of the ruling regime, but also of the Iranian people hardened – an attitude This will make it more difficult in the future to combat the hostility to America.

What would bring the final coup of grace to a normalization of future US-Iranian relations, Pompeo and Bolton do all they can to incite Iran to a military conflict with the US There is a growing one Risk that US and Iranian IRGC units and Iranian-backed militias might plunge into unintentional conflict, particularly in Iraq or Syria, but also in Yemen. in which the full support of the government for Saudi Arabia's inhuman and ineffective military campaign against Iran-backed Houthis could further provoke the threat of Houthi rocket attacks on the kingdom, creating an excuse for the Trump administration to defend the kingdom ,

There are a number of steps the US could take to mitigate the risks of unintentional conflict with Iran. However, the government has failed to establish diplomatic or operational arrangements for communication and crisis management with Iran, suggesting that it is not the goal to prevent such a conflict, but to deliberately provoke one. And predictably, the name of the IRGC has come up against a hostile Iranian response: the Iranian Majlis (parliament) has declared every American soldier in the Middle East a terrorist. Thousands of US military personnel now carry targets on their backs. Operating in close proximity to IRCG units and Iran-backed militia in Syria and Iraq, there has been a dramatic increase in the likelihood of a kind of confrontation with a high escalation risk. In other words, US action has helped set the stage for an American-Iranian conflict that could rule out reconciliation between the US and Iran for many more years.

A less confrontational relationship with Iran isn & # 39; t This administration is the only accident. It is also doing its utmost to kill and bury the long-standing policy of finding a two-state solution for conflict resolution between Israel and the Palestinians.

Over the past year, the government has led a relentless economic campaign and political pressure against the Palestinians – closing the PLO office in Washington, withdrawing US aid from the UN agency that supports Palestinian refugees, and cutting aid to the Palestinian Authority. While the details of the Kushner Plan have been kept secret for over a year, the way its team operates and dodges the media suggests a plan that prioritizes the policies and needs of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and shedding light on the core issues of Jerusalem, borders, refugees, and Palestinian statehood.

Since at least the mid-1990s, both the Democratic and Republican governments have committed to a two-state solution in which the majority of the West Bank has returned to the Palestinians their frontiers Israel's borders are occupied by occupation in 1967 and a physically undivided Jerusalem housing the capitals of both states. However, the Trump government has reversed US policy for nearly 20 years, even refusing to endorse the concept in full, a two-state solution. Trump supported the idea in September 2018. Since then, the administration has dropped the concept and, even worse, delegitimized it. Last week, the Washington Post reported that the words of the Palestinian state are unlikely to appear in the Kushner Plan. Even more meaningful, testifying to Congress last week, Pompeo refused to support Palestinian statehood as a US policy goal.

Even if the words "two-state solution" [1965-9015] were used, the government's view of the Palestinian state is clearly far from the size and neighborhood that any Palestinian leader could accept as part of a deal. In this way, the Trump governments are not only reversing the idea of ​​a meaningful two-state solution, but are forcing the Palestinians to engage in serious negotiations that will lead to agreement. By leaning so closely on Prime Minister Netanyahu's vision, they make reconciliation much less likely in the future.

For example, the administration's unsatisfactory decision – without any US national interest – to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to open a message there, seriously damaged the credibility of the US as an intermediary to. 19659008] as an important US interlocutor and subordinate US policy towards the Palestinians of US policy toward Israel. The Administration of the Government of Jerusalem has drawn a clear hierarchy: Israel's needs are undisputed and sacred, Palestinian needs are negotiable and secular. The prospects for a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem are now even farther away than ever: with continued Israeli efforts to formalize their control of the whole of Jerusalem and the presence of more than 300,000 Israelis living there, it is hard to imagine that it is either political or territorial will be room for the establishment of a real Palestinian capital.

The other long-standing diplomatic assumption – the settlement activity would be limited during the negotiation period, and that 70-80 percent of the West Bank settlers who are close to the 1967 lines will be inducted into Israel The move to relinquish land to Palestinians was undermined by a government that had no plans to terminate an agreement that would allow Palestinians to control the majority of the West Bank. In fact, the government virtually eradicated the 1967 line concept by allowing the expansion of settlement activities and unilateral Israeli local action without protest or the introduction of Redlines not only in the West Bank, but also in Jerusalem. In March 2017, Israel announced the establishment of a new settlement in the West Bank, the first in decades. After an initial decline in 2017, housing construction activity increased by 20 percent in 2018.

There is no chance that a Palestinian leader – let alone Mahmoud Abbas – will accept these terms as part of such a situation. There is even growing speculation that Netanyahu could use the Palestinian rejection of the Kushner Plan to annex parts of the West Bank.

This is another area where the administration has caused great damage. The announcement by the Trump government on the eve of Israel's recent elections that it recognizes Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights – a decision that depends on no other logic than the re-election of Prime Minister Netanyahu – could be a US decision to appoint a similar status as 19659008] Israel's possible decision to annex parts of the West Bank. The government has refused to question Netanyahu's statement that Israel can hold its own in a war of defense, which it holds. Last week, Pompeo refused to answer a reporter's question to criticize Netanyahu's statement about the annexation of settlements in the West Bank.

Following the annexation, there will be no way to find a solution that will separate Israelis and Palestinians, thereby condemning both to living in a one-state reality that is prescribed for infinite conflict and violence. In the most gruesome ironies, the government's plan to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict could destroy hope for a diplomatic solution to the separation of Israelis and Palestinians and instead guarantee an eternal conflict.

So, if the chances of success of the plan are low, especially given the recent elections in Israel and the emergence of a far-right government, why should it be launched? The answer is obvious: we believe the administration has defined success in a different way. With no chance of an agreement between Israelis and Palestinians, the real endgame of the administration is to fundamentally change US conflict policy and do everything possible to increase the likelihood that no successor can reverse the new ground rules. And maybe there is no better time than now. Listen to US Ambassador David Friedman at last month's AIPAC conference, which had a major impact on the government's policy: "Can we leave this to a government that may not understand that Israel has security control in Judea and Samaria and must maintain a lasting defense position in the Jordan Valley? "he asked. " Can we take the risk that the Israeli government will one day complain, "Why did not we make progress when US foreign policy was in the hands of President Trump? Vice President Pence, Secretary Pompeo , Ambassador Bolton, Jared Kushner, Jason Greenblatt, and even David Friedman? "How can we do that?"

The goal is not just to promote the peace process, but to ensure America's traditional notion of a two-state solution will not rise from the dead.

Why could not a new government really commit itself to engaging Iran and advancing a two-state solution to simply return to a traditional policy? We can not rule that out however, is very large, especially if the Trump administration is responsible until 2024.

Even under normal circumstances with a dedicated and highly qualified government, Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are extremely difficult to master alone. Success depends on the leaders that America can not control, who has conflicting interests and its own internal constraints, and in the case of Iran, bitterly bitter opponents. The topics are politically radioactive for all parties and are also perceived as existential. And the longer these conflicts persist, the tighter the attitudes and opportunities for progress become. In fact, time is an enemy, not an ally. and even under the best of circumstances, there are always many deal breakers present. In an inimitable way, the government is well on its way to being closed to the seasonal signs, both for improving relations with Iran and for a two-state solution, thereby undermining American credibility and national interests.

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