6 unsettling ways Trump's foreign policy is headed toward disaster
Man pulling a fire alarm on the wall.
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6 unsettling ways Trump's foreign policy is headed for disaster

Posted March 15, 2017 12:00 AM by Daniel Horowitz Man pulling a fire alarm on the wall.
num_skyman | Shutterstock

As conservatives fight the efforts of their own party and president to promote Obamacare 2.0 here at home, there are some major problems with the direction in foreign policy of this Trump administration. We can dismiss all reports of liberal policies and leftist personnel emanating from this administration as “fake news” — or we can demand a course correction before this becomes the third term of Obama’s State Department. The choice is ours.

The final dramatic act of the Obama administration was to instigate a public feud between former Secretary of State John Kerry and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over where Jews can live in their own homeland. As conservatives, we swore to ourselves that once Trump assumed power we’d be done with the illogical and immoral Oslo Accords, along with its maniacal idea of creating a new Arab terror state.

Trump himself also promised a new direction:

The reason this issue is important is not just because of our relationship with Israel ; it’s that the obsession with a Palestinian state and the recognition of the Palestinian Liberation Organization terrorists has served as the fulcrum of our entire Middle East policy for 24 years, preventing us from acting in our own self-interests.

The failure to understand the danger of the PLO is not just bad for Israel. It’s also dangerous for America because it demonstrates that our political elites don’t understand the Islamic threat and will continue the past mistakes of both the Clinton/Obama leftists and the establishment neo-conservatives who support the nation building agenda in the Arab world.

Well, that nightmare is now upon us.

During Trump’s second week in office, I took a lot of flak for criticizing the White House’s statement on Israel’s construction in the so-called settlements. Some conservatives felt that Trump’s statement was a breath of fresh air because, while he did rebuke the construction, he implied that building within the “settlement blocks” is OK.

Obviously, as I noted at the time, this statement is nonsense. Why are we getting involved in any of this Kerry-style dictating of terms? Weren’t we supposed to break from the entire Oslo Accords? Why should we legitimize any notion of a Palestinian state and how does that put America’s interests first? Weren’t we done with nation building in terror states among existing nations, much less trying to create a new one? I warned that absent a course correction, this policy would grow legs and irrevocably suck the president into the globalist swamp of the PLO cause.

It has. Consider the following troubling observations:

  • This week, Trump dispatched Jason Greenblatt, his top lawyer and envoy to the Middle East, to pressure Netanyahu into halting construction, even for a city designed to house displaced Israelis who were uprooted by a very painful evacuation. As the Times of Israel is reporting, Greenblatt is now obsessing over every last neighborhood with the maniacal precision of John Kerry to prevent Israel from building even within existing “settlements.” The pressure is reportedly so strong that Netanyahu has now held off on his plans to fully annex Ma’ale Adumim, the largest suburb of Jerusalem, which has always been a “consensus” area (even to those who buy into the premise of a Palestinian state). Greenblatt later met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (whose term of office expired eight years ago!) and treated him like a peace partner.
  • The inimitable Caroline Glick gives a riveting account of the sharp turn of the White House on Israel — embracing the PLO, inviting Abbas to the White House, and taking an active (almost obsessive) role in promoting a Palestinian state. It’s almost as if Trump has made it his life’s mission (or, son-in-law Jared Kushner’s mission) to ram through the “peace process” even more than Obama.
  • My colleague, Jordan Schachtel has already reported that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson appointed a Kerry acolyte as the Israel-Palestinian policy official in the State Department. Michael Ratney was Obama’s consul to Jerusalem who “oversaw grants to OneVoice, a leftist non-profit that President Obama allegedly used to try to unseat Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel’s 2015 election.” Ratney oversaw a program the Times of Israel said was “in effect setting up an armed Palestinian militia in the consulate.” Martin Indyk — Obama’s anti-Israel apologist — praised the appointment, tweeting that Ratney was a “valued member of Kerry’s peace team.”
  • Trump decided to keep Obama’s National Security Council Adviser, Yael Lempert, for Israel policy. She accompanied Greenblatt on his trip to Israel, where he graciously met with Abbas and pressured Netanyahu on settlements. Lempert was literally Obama’s point person in the White House orchestrating his war against Israel. This decision is Orwellian.
  • Talk about the fox guarding the hen house? Sahar Nowrouzzadeh, the Iran director for Obama’s National Security Council, has been given the portfolio over the Persian Gulf region on the policy planning staff at the State Department. This individual was an essential figure in pushing through the Iran deal and has ties to Tehran.
  • Defense Secretary James Mattis wanted to appoint Anne Patterson to the No. 3 position in the Pentagon. Patterson was Obama’s ambassador to Egypt, who had ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and embodied John Kerry’s foreign policy. Although conservatives successfully prevented that from happening, Mattis’ motivations, along with a number of troubling statements on policy, reveal that he fundamentally doesn’t share a conservative worldview.

Folks, this is not “deep state” sabotage of Pres. Trump’s agenda. This is Trump sabotaging himself by allowing Jared in the White House and top officials in State to promote the very worst elements of the Clinton/Bush/Obama foreign policy. And it’s not just about Israel. Anyone who believes in creating a new terror state and partnering with PLO terrorists clearly does not understand the broader Islamic threat. This could lead us into nation-building in Syria and other insufferable Arab countries, a notion Trump explicitly rejected with his popular denunciation of the Iraq war. 

There is nothing to “negotiate” and nobody with which we can “cut deals.” This is not a matter of convincing Carrier to keep its plant in Indiana. Some things don’t work with negotiations; Islamo-fascists elements are one good example.

What is so disappointing is that foreign policy is the one area where the president has wide latitude to change course without the cumbersome legislative process. Almost 60 days into the new administration, there is no major accomplishment that has gotten past Congress, including the much-promised FULL repeal of Obamacare. Again, foreign policy is the one area where Donald Trump can unilaterally make his mark.

However, absent a dramatic change of course, the pink unicorn of the PLO “peace process” will ensnare President Trump into untenable diplomatic quicksand. As Caroline Glick warns, “The PLO is the Siren that drowns U.S. administrations.” Trump must understand that if he is “serious about embracing the PLO and intends to have his top advisers devote themselves to Abbas and his henchmen,” he is setting himself up “to fail and be humiliated.”

Make no mistake: The “two-state solution” is the Obamacare of foreign policy. Failure to repeal it will be as catastrophic for foreign policy as Obamacare is for domestic policy. Except this time, we won’t be able to blame a parliamentarian.

Editor's note: The title of this piece has been updated to better reflect the content.

Daniel Horowitz is a Senior Editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.