Thursday, May 18, 2017

Trump's Administration Wants A Regional Deal--And Can Outlast Trump

JERUSALEM — President Trump leaves for the Middle East on Friday. The trip’s objectives, his national security adviser, H. R. McMaster, has told reporters, is to “broadcast a message of unity to America’s friends” and to pay his respects to the “homelands and holy sites of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths.”

Mr. Trump will begin in Saudi Arabia, with which his administration is nearing consummation of a $100 billion arms deal; he’ll meet with leaders of the Arab League — America’s “partners,” as General McMaster says — whom he’ll encourage “to take bold, new steps to promote peace and to confront those, from ISIS to Al Qaeda to Iran to the Assad regime, who perpetuate chaos.” In Jerusalem, Mr. Trump will “reaffirm America’s unshakable bond to the Jewish state” and in Bethlehem, “express his desire for dignity and self-determination for the Palestinians.” American leadership is necessary to “move the region toward the peace, security and stability that the people there so deserve,” General McMaster said.

Let’s strain to ignore the latest reasons to question Mr. Trump’s fitness for office or, indeed, his survivability in it: the firing of James Comey as F.B.I. director, the intelligence leak to Russia. General McMaster has laid out the policy lines of a Republican administration that is just beginning its four-year term. To be sure, the approach has been enigmatic so far. But that may be an advantage, since progress toward those goals does not depend on the president alone.

Read on at The New York Times