Monday, May 22, 2017

Trump's Deals with Islam, Arrival in Israel

By Douglas V. Gibbs
AuthorSpeakerInstructorRadio Host

It is a difficult juggle of realities, and on Sunday President Donald Trump made his best attempt at placing his hands into the steaming cauldron.  I was impressed, because overall, it was a pretty good speech.  After eight years of hearing Obama apologize, it's nice to hear a voice of resolve and strength when dealing with the Middle East.

The speech was well received.  But, I have to admit it missed the point about terrorism not being the result of extremism, but that it is the result of Islam.  I believe the language used (extremism, extremists, cooperation) were calculated swerves that were necessary in order to navigate the complex waters of Muslim relations with The West, however.  Reality, unfortunately, is that Islam demands us to be careful on how we navigate those stormy waters, and the liberal left has made it a very complicated endeavor with their misguided ideas of multiculturalism and shared George W. Bush false belief that Islam is the "Religion of Peace".

Trump discussed the dangers of terrorism, and emphasized that it is up to Islam to clean its own house, and to fight "extremism".  I do believe are those in the Muslim world that truly supports the idea of a peaceful version of Islam somehow emerging.  In the eyes of the religious leaders, I guarantee you that makes those "moderates" bad Muslims, but I do believe that moderate element "may" exist.  Trump surely believes that, as well.  The tough part is who to believe, and how do you determine if a person in the Muslim world truly seeks a peaceful solution, or if they are lying as commanded by the Koran to further the grip of Islam's iron fist around the rest of the world? "We'll help, Trump said on Sunday, but Islam needs to take care of extremism in their midst themselves, too.

Trump's words were in the language of a negotiator.  It was filled with hope, even though the doubt was powerful.  That's what you say to reasonable people, or at least to people you hope are capable of being reasonable.  Trump wants our potential allies, no matter how temporary they may be, to believe we think they are reasonable.  The fact that, in the minds of those potential allies, Islam trumps all, is not the point.  We know they think that, they know that many of us have realized that they think that, but the game requires at least some consideration for the possibility of cooperation in order to save some lives, and get Islam out of The West.

The problem is, conservatives tend to seek what looks like perfection on the surface, and doesn't always understand the art of the deal, or the complexities of diplomacy.  It's all about smiling, seeking compromise without losing the store, and carefully hiding your crossed fingers behind your back.

The NeverTrump crowd (especially the conservative NeverTrumpers), and Trump supporters who voted for the billionaire because he was better than Hillary, but not necessarily because they like him, have likely found all kinds of things about Trump's speech and Middle East negotiations not to like.  They surely see his willingness to be a reasonable negotiator with the Saudis as some kind of broken promise, and dangerous path to tread, but I am not so sure that they are completely accurate with that assessment.

Yes, Saudi Arabia is not an ally to us like Israel, or Britain, has been.  Yes, the Muslim Majority country's leadership and wealthiest class pumped vast piles of money into the Clinton Foundation in the hopes that Hillary would win and continue the Democrat Party tradition of kissing their butts.  And yes, during the campaign, Trump talked tough about the Saudis, promising not to give an inch to them.

Then, he became President, and saw the reality of the real world.  Yes, the Saudis are as bad as he thought.  But, they are one of the key tools we can use to orchestrate a temporary lull in Middle East violence, and perhaps slow down, or stop, the flood of Muslim migrants into The West.  So, you throw them a few bones, and ask for cooperation.

Give them a few planes and armaments at a good price, and then ask them to help us stop the madness of the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS, and an Iranian power grab that is definitely making the Sunnis in Saudi Arabia nervous enough to talk to us.

That all said, it is obvious that the Saudis are nearly as big of a problem as the Iranians are.  But, it's like paying off your credit cards.  They all suck, but you have to go after the easier one, and the most damaging one, first.  Get rid of it, then take care of the others, later.

The Saudis fund terrorism no different than Iran.  The Saudis fund infiltration into our education system, and entertainment industry, by Islamic fundamentalism.  I agree.  The Saudis are guilty.

Remember how we were working with Iraq when Iran was a problem in the 70s and early 80s?  Then, Iraq became the enemy, and we invaded Hussein's Iraq.  Now, we are trying to protect Iraq from ISIS, and we are trying to be firm with Iran.  That's how the Middle East goes.  It's a never ending spin of a roulette wheel where red, black, and the couple green slots, change as a winning combination constantly, and sometimes it is hard to tell which to choose.  For now, Trump is choosing Saudi Arabia and her Sunni allies.  The temporary winning combination may change soon, quickly, or not at all.  It's a constant game of maintenance and changing strategies.

A decent, but sometimes stressful, relationship with Saudi Arabia goes all the way back to Franklin Roosevelt, who helped establish an alliance during World War II (at a time when many of the kingdoms and countries in the area were siding with the Nazis).  Iran was an ally of Germany, back then, and "Iran" means "Aryan" (granted, Aryan is an ancient Persian word, an interesting coincidence regarding the ideologies of both areas claiming the term and the alliance Germany had with newly named Iran during the Nazi regime).

To be honest, it makes sense to work with Saudi Arabia, for now.  After all, we have common enemies in the Muslim Brotherhood, and ISIS (or, at least, that is what it seems).  Let us not forget, as well, that despite their ideological and religious differences, among Saudi Arabia's biggest allies in the Middle East is Israel; which, it turns out, is the United States' biggest ally in the region, as well.

Visiting, talking, and making deals with people who are not your 100% friend, but can be a useful tool in international relations, is what diplomacy and negotiations are all about, anyway, right?  Trump is, after all, going to visit the Pope at The Vatican, as well, and this Pope is definitely no friend of the Trump White House.  But, it's necessary.  It is a part of the difficult things a good President must do.  To refuse to try and at least talk to these people could create a public relations disaster the anti-Trump democrats and NeverTrumpers have been waiting for to happen.  That said, I am also happy he's not out there apologizing for the United States, like Obama was.

As for the Middle East's opinion about Trump trying to work with them, sincere or not, what we are hearing is that Saudi Arabia's King Salman stated President Donald Trump's visit to the Muslim kingdom in the Gulf was a "turning point" in relations between the two countries.

He said relations between the two countries will advance from a partnership to the "level of strengthening consultations, cooperation and coordination on all fronts".

The king also praised an "historic agreement" between Gulf monarchies and Washington "to take firm measures to target the financing of terrorism" and the setting up of a Riyadh-based center for the task.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia told the American president that he is "capable of doing the impossible."

When Trump arrived in Israel this morning, he said to Israeli President Reuven Rivlin that even challenges like a belligerent Iran with nuclear ambitions can be an "opportunity" as Tehran's saber-rattling "has brought many other parts of the Middle East toward Israel."

"You have a great opportunity right now," Trump said specifically, "There's a great feeling for peace throughout the Middle East. I think people have just had enough. They've had enough of the bloodshed and the killing."

Even Arab leaders, Trump said, have told him the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran is so great that they are finding themselves siding with the Jewish state.

"The United States and Israel can declare with one voice that Iran must never be allowed to possess a nuclear weapon – never ever!" Trump said outside the president's ceremonial residence in Jerusalem.

He demanded that Tehran "must cease its deadly funding, training and equipping of terrorists and militias. And it must cease immediately."

"The world needs a strong United States. The Middle East needs a strong United States. Israel needs a strong United States," Rivlin said.

Israel's Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised Trump's anti-terror message.

"Yesterday in Saudi Arabia you delivered a forceful speech of clarity and conviction," he said. "You called on all nations to drive out terrorists and extremists. ... For 69 years Israel has been doing precisely that."

He thanked Trump for the powerful expression of friendship to Israel with his visit, as well.

Now, the question is, will Trump's White House live up to the billionaire's campaign promise of moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem?

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

No comments: