I’ve always been one to encourage people to think outside the box. If there ever was a box encasing how we thought about the Middle East, it was the Two-State solution. Israel and the Arabs living in most of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip would make peace allowing for a Palestinian State. For decades we encouraged the Israelis to make concessions to achieve this goal. Over the years, Israel made offers only to be violently rebuffed. Now, Gaza is ruled by Hamas, while the Palestinian Authority controls the West Bank. Neither has held any recent elections. Who exactly is Israel supposed to negotiate with? The impasse continued through the decades without progress. Our Foreign Policy establishment could never find any way out of the Two-State Box.
Enter Donald Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner. While the previous Obama administration clung to the Two-State solution with a seeming list towards the Palestinians, the Orthodox Jewish Kushner was bound to see things in a different light. Given the close familial relationship, President Trump would look at the problem with fresh eyes. The break with conventional thinking first became evident when we moved our embassy to Jerusalem. The Foreign Policy establishment predicted all hell would break loose. The whole Muslim World would react violently. It didn’t. The establishment will never forgive Trump for exposing them.
I had thought a tacit alliance between Israel and the Kurds with U.S. backing might provide balance to the Middle East. While the anti-Israel Sunnis and Shia duked it out, the U.S. from a Kurdistan base could have a decisive influence. This made sense when I proposed it years ago, but the whole landscape has changed.
With the size and population akin to Maricopa County, Arizona, Israel never was a major threat to its neighbors. It just was a political rally point for Muslims. Awash with oil money, they had no need of anything from Israel. Death to the Jews and drive them into the sea played well at home.Continue reading