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You Can’t Make This Stuff Up!
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You Can’t Make This Stuff Up!

Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.

As Trump is about to leave for the Middle East he has successfully undermined Israel, probably America’s strongest ally in the region; yet all Trump is concerned about is himself. Trump appeared annoyed for being attacked and chastised for something he has a legal right to do in America’s interest; disclose classified top secret information to the Russians concerning ISIS leaders and activities.                                                                                 

Trump will not be criticized and is never responsible for anything that goes wrong or which he precipitated. If you work for Trump you take the fall, you spin the story, and it is always your fault. Your job is to clean up the President’s messes and take the blame for it.

Leaving aside the intense and growing fallout that Trump is experiencing in Washington for his actions, U.S. Pentagon chiefs and intelligence agency higher-ups must be climbing the walls. Through ups and downs, good times and bad ones in their political relationship, the American and Israeli military and intelligence agencies have worked hand and in glove together.  The mutual trust, confidence, and respect that the U.S. military has for the Israeli military and its covert agencies is probably second only—maybe– to the British. There are probably many people in Langley and at DOD who are very nervous as to whether the IDF and the Mossad will continue to be comfortable working together with and exchanging intelligence information with the U.S., if America’s political leadership is so erratic and chaotic. (Israelis also must be wondering what the outcry in Washington would have been if the tables had been turned and the political leaks would have been slipped by Israeli politicians.)  

Ironically in the midst of all the craziness with which Washington is consumed there actually was an interesting story out of the Middle East reported in the Wall Street Journal.  The Saudis and the Gulf States have announced that they would be prepared to officially upgrade their relationship with Israel if the Netanyahu Government was prepared to freeze construction of new settlements in certain areas of the West Bank as a move towards peace with the Palestinians. To this public demonstration of what has been emerging between the two sides in recent years, Israel will need to respond. It would need the political will to make this move to insure maintaining a united opposition to Iran from the Sunni leaders.

Unfortunately, this news story was swallowed up in the fallout from the Comey firing and the President’s leaking to the Russians the highly sensitive and classified material that the U.S. intelligence agencies received from the Israelis.  This Saudi/Gulf offer was extended at this time specifically because the Arabs wanted to set themselves up as the “good guys” prior to the President making his maiden foreign trip in the Middle East.   

Knowing that Bibi might well seek to make a deal with Trump, the Arab leaders pre-empted the Israeli Prime Minister with their own good offer; one that they assume Trump would appreciate and Bibi is probably afraid to accept.  The problem may well be that in light of the events this week in Washington, no one is going to be interested or willing to move until matters of U.S. leadership are clarified.                                                                                                                                                                      

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