Trump vs. the State Department

By Yoram Ettinger,ISRAEL HAYOM

In order to avoid the failed Middle East track record of all U.S. presidents since 1948, President Donald Trump should refrain from — rather than repeat — the systematic errors committed by his predecessors. They were misguided by the political correctness and conventional wisdom of the State Department, which courted Saddam Hussein until the 1990 invasion of Kuwait, embraced Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, betrayed the Shah of Iran, identified with Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, deserted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, heralded PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat as a messenger of peace, facilitated the Hamas takeover of Gaza, and welcomed the Arab tsunami as an “Arab Spring, a transition toward democracy.” The State Department has sacrificed the 1,400-year-old complex, disintegrating, unpredictable, volcanic, violently intolerant and frenzied Middle East reality on the altar of well-intentioned but oversimplified and futile attempts to reset the Middle East in accordance with a Western state of mind and values.

Largely ignored by the State Department, the conflict-stricken Arab Middle East has adopted the norm that “on words one does not pay custom,” especially when aimed to mislead, confuse and defeat the “infidel” Christian, Buddhist and Jew. Thus, Western establishments attribute much credibility to the philo- Palestinian Arab talk, while failing to examine the Arab/Palestinian walk.

Contrary to the State Department worldview, Arab policymakers have never considered the Palestinian issue a top priority, nor a core cause of regional turbulence, nor the axis of the Arab-Israeli conflict. All Arab leaders have been preoccupied with domestic, regional, intra-Arab and intra-Muslim lethal challenges — such as the threats posed by the megalomaniacal ayatollahs and Islamic terrorism — which are unrelated to Israel’s existence and the Israel- Palestinian dispute.

Unlike the State Department, Arab leaders have accorded critical weight to the subversive/terrorist Palestinian track record in Egypt (1950s), Syria (1966), Jordan (1968-1970), Lebanon (1970-1983) and Kuwait (1990). Therefore, they have always showered the Palestinian issue with lavish lip service, but never with significant financial or military assistance; certainly not during the Israel- Palestinian wars in Lebanon (1978, 1982-83), Judea, Samaria (1988-1990, 2000-2002) and Gaza (2009, 2012, 2014).

Unlike the State Department, Arab leaders do not consider the Arab-Israeli conflict “the Middle East conflict.” They are aware that the raging Arab tsunami — which triggered violent regime change in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Iraq and Syria — is totally independent of the Arab-Israeli conflict and Israel’s existence. The Arab tsunami has pro-U.S. Arab leaders to unprecedented counterterrorism cooperation with Israel, which they perceive as a stabilizing regional force, contrasted with the unreliable Palestinians.

While Foggy Bottom believes that an Israeli retreat to the pre-1967 cease-fire lines would produce an Israel-Arab peace, Arabs have been unable to produce intra-Arab peace during the last 1,400 years. Is it realistic to assume that a dramatic Israeli concession would induce the Arabs to accord the “infidel” Jewish state that which they have denied each other — intra-Arab peaceful coexistence ! Is it reasonable to assume that an unprecedented Israeli concession would convince the Arabs to depart from a major tenet of Islam (waqf), and recognize an “infidel” entity in the Middle East, which is designated by Islam to be divinely and exclusively ordained to the “believers” !

In contrast to State Department policy, the construction of Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria (since 1967) has never been the cause of the anti-Jewish terrorism (which dates back to the 1920s) and the Arab-Israeli wars (starting in 1948). Middle East reality documents that the real cause of these wars has been the existence — not the size — of the Jewish state in an area that is, supposedly, part of “the abode of Islam.”

Ignoring Middle East reality, and insisting on U.S. — and sometimes international — mediation, the State Department has generated a litany of Israel-Arab peace initiatives. All the initiatives failed, while further radicalizing Arab expectations and demands, reducing Arab incentive to negotiate directly with Israel, intensifying U.S.-Israel and U.S.-Arab tension, undermining U.S. clout and the prospects of peace. On the other hand, two Israeli initiatives of direct negotiation produced two peace accords with Egypt (which was initially opposed by President Jimmy Carter) and Jordan (which was encouraged by President Bill Clinton).

U.S. involvement is critical during advanced — not early — stages of direct Israel- Arab negotiation.

Contrasting the Palestinian-driven State Department order of priorities in the Middle East, U.S. national security, mutually beneficial U.S.-Israel cooperation and U.S.-Arab relations dramatically transcend the limited role of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Palestinian issue in shaping/shaking the region.

Moreover, contradicting the State Department worldview — and against the backdrop of the raging Arab tsunami and the Palestinian track record of hate- education, terrorism, subversion and collaboration with Nazi Germany, the USSR, the ayatollahs, North Korea and global terrorism — a Palestinian state would intensify regional instability. It would threaten Jordan’s pro-U.S. Hashemite regime, with agitating ripple effects into Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states and Egypt, upgrading Russia’s, China’s and Iran’s power projection in the region (e.g., docking and military base rights), and forcing the flight of the remaining Christians from Bethlehem, Beit Jallah and Beit Sahur.

Defiance of the GOP and U.S. establishments was the key to Trump’s winning the Republican primaries and the general election. Defiance of the State Department establishment will be Trump’s key to success in the international arena, in general, and the Middle East, in particular.

Yoram Ettinger is a former ambassador and head of “Second Thought: A U.S.-Israel Initiative.”

January 22, 2017 | 28 Comments » | 47 views

Subscribe to Israpundit Daily Digest

28 Comments / 28 Comments

  1. SD a mecca of antisemitism!
    This mecca is probably responsible for the past 60 years FAILED US foreign policy. But some must have benefited from these FAILURES!
    The “Pal” a creation of the West, GB & Fr later on supported by the SD antisemites, to defeat the Jews!

  2. Not quite true. A bureaucracy keeps and winnows a lot of information and suggests policy but in the end it is the political echelon who take the decisions even as Truman did to recognise Israel; and Eisenhower who did not like Zionism by not mentioning it in his war memoirs paragraph on his leave to visit the Holy Places.

  3. It is clear that the US State Department has become a kingdom unto itself, in spite of the fact that they are supposed to serve the sitting President. Trump may find it more difficult to bring the State Department to heel than to broker Middle East peace. Newt Gingrich has already mentioned the need to somehow clean out all the US government agencies which have over the years been (deliberately) packed with liberal Democrats, and who are protected by a virtually iron-clad Civil Service System.

  4. U.S. State Dep’t. is already being re-organized. Wiki has the organizational chart, shows the neglect of past 8 years in an un-manageable organization.

    All political appointees had to resign, and there are a lot of those jobs that do NOT require Senate confirmation.

    Wish I could see the new training materials for learning about Israel. Re-education from Jared Kushner. Sweet.

    fwiw, I now call them Judeophobes, not anti-semites. The myth of ‘Israel as an illegal white European colonial project’ depends on the idiots of the left believing that Ashkenazi Jews are NOT semites.

  5. “…1,400-year-old complex, disintegrating, unpredictable, volcanic, violently intolerant and frenzied Middle East reality… “

    a) Did the Turkish Ottoman moslim Empire, 1299-1922 ,which ruled the entire Middle East for its last 500 years, and Israel from 1516, have wars within it?

    b) Article fails to mention
    i) State Department’s opposition to Israeli Independence in 1948.

    ii) I can’t find anything about the State Department’s influence on Eisenhower to threaten Israel to withdraw from Sinai in 1956, but I’m sure they were involved. He later said he regretted doing that.

    c) FDR’s Secretary of State wrote the following telegram to the U.S. Vice-Council to Vichy France in Marseille condemning and demanding an end to efforts to rescue Jews during the Shoah.

    d) Secretary of State Kissinger opposed prioritizing emergency arms relief to Israel after the Arab sneak attack in 1973, the Yom Kippur War – so named because the sneaky, murdering, raping, sub-human arab muslem (rhymes with phlegm) scum — who should all just be killed or driven out*, and all of their pagan shrines demolished — attacked on the holiest day in the Jewish calendar.

    See “The 2’Oclock War” by Walter J. Boyne and Fred Smith. 2002.

    Conclusion: Everybody in the State Dept. should be fired or pensioned off without exception. Better if they could be fired and blacklisted without their pensions. Trump should start from scratch.

    a propos of nothing: I just got an ad from Tablet Magazine advertising an upcoming talk on “climate change,” the discredited “global warming” hoax’s latest incarnation at a prominent Reform Synagogue on the Upper East Side — as posh as it gets — affiliated with a reform synagogue on the lower east side, according to its web page. Remember when this schmuck sold his cable station to Al Jazeera rather than sell it to Glenn Beck!(1) Karmic payback, though, they stiffed him and he wound up having to sue Al Jazeera for his blood money(2). I wonder if picketing would be in order, after all the crap these Jewish Quislings have thrown at Trump and Jews who support Trump. One more reason why the laws on marriage and conversion in Israel should not be changed to accomodate these traitors. And this, from a secular Jew, whose idea of spirituality is the Dhammapada,(3) The Mindfulness Sutta(4), the Tao Te Ching(5) and the Heart Sutra (6). But, calming is it may be to read that stuff, defending Israel, saving Jewish lives, and stopping another Holocaust comes before anything. Appeasers be gone!



    * Sorry, I forgot humiliated and driven to tears, real or fake, either will do. The MSM do go on about these demons’ tears. On TV, natch.

  6. Sebastien….You obviously are a person who has read much, and likes reading. So do yourself a favour, and rewad up on the last oo years of the Ottoman Empire with PARTICULAR reference to how the Emperor was “trained” into his job. I have several books which delved into this, and my recollection of many years ago, is that there were usually several sons ansd various wives, all ambitious for their sons, and the internecine assassinationsa and attempts were a horror to imagine. Eventually when the guya who actually RAN the country, the eunuchs and etc selected their man, he would be more or less locked up in an apartment, and allowed no freedoms at all, no education and just filled to “excess with excess”. When the time came, they would haul out this drugged, over-sated, obese usually, dim-witted, illiterate and seat him of the thone. That’s the way it was for many years until Mustapha Kemal Attaturk made his coup. (a very interesting chasracter-I have a book on him since I was about 10, they called him “The Grey Wolf….) And so he created, with his friends and underlings, modern utterly secular Turkey……And it worked well-for a Muslim State- until Erdogan arrived and decided to take power permanently.

  7. @ Edgar G.:
    Sounds like standard palace intrigue. But, did they have wars that would justify that quote? I’ll wager Europe and Asia were more unstable during this period. That’s why the conquistadors were so successful here. Their numbers were small and their technology, including horses, were only a little more advanced. But, they had way more experience with martial coalition-building and power politics. Ever read “Broken Spears?”

  8. birdalone: Conclusion: Everybody in the State Dept. should be fired or pensioned off without exception. Better if they could be fired and blacklisted without their pensions. Trump should start from scratch.

    That’s the best idea I’ve heard yet, except perhaps pulling out of the UN and throwing them out of the USA.

  9. They were misguided by the political correctness and conventional wisdom of the State Department, which courted Saddam Hussein until the 1990 invasion of Kuwait, embraced Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, betrayed the Shah of Iran, identified with Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, deserted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, heralded PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat as a messenger of peace, facilitated the Hamas takeover of Gaza, and welcomed the Arab tsunami as an “Arab Spring, a transition toward democracy.”

    Serious stuff here because Ettinger makes a most basic error. The Iranian Counter-Revolution was in 1979.

    From that moment on the correct policy to follow was to support and defend the secularist Saddam against the Iranian regime.

    Even after all of this time it is important that Ettinger cannot get this straight.

    This is a strategy. It does not mean tactically dropping the guard against Saddam in any way.

  10. @ Sebastien Zorn:

    It was much worse than the standard… as for the wars, I don’t think they were were large, but always a little trouble brewing somewhere. And of course Russia…..with whom there was permanent trouble ove trying to get a warm water port,,, and like the ostensible cause of the Crimean War etc.

    I never did read Broken Spears, but I have always had since childhood books by Prescott on the Conquest of Mexico and Peru. He was regarded as THE definitive authority. A I also have a most interesting chronicle of Bartoleme De Las Casas which I believe to be absolutely true. You may not have heard of him. And of course I have read details from chronicles of some of the soldiers who were there, in fact I have a series of authentic accounts in a 12 volume set, with such items as the Icelandic Sagas, voyage of Eric the Red, and others, the settlement of Vineland, various accounts of the re-construction after the civil war, the voyage of Columbus and etc etc, all by those who actually particiated and were telling their accounts.

    I sometimes wonder when I will get all my stuff from storage, but I am not in a permanent apartment, and 7,000 require Shelving and arranging etc. etc. So we keep putting it off. It means setting up a complete home and at my age I’m damned lazy, and live alone.

    For a Christian in those times it can be said that De Las Casas was a very good man, sincere and honest. He got very little thanks for it in the end.

    Unconnected….If you want to read something really really good, look up on the internet, Mark Twain’s criticism of Fenimore Cooper. I know you will appreciate it.

  11. Since its earliest days, America has supported ugly regimes for a variety of reasons: reputable European realpolitik, the dictators’ openness to foreign investment, and simply because other options were still worse. Idealism has slowly poisoned American foreign politics.

    America’s political expansion into the Middle East didn’t serve commercial interests. The US oil corporations did business in the Arabian Peninsula before the state’s involvement. The US-supported Arab regimes generally denied foreign companies from developing local oilfields. Arabs never intend to stop the oil supply, nor could they survive without oil revenues. America involved itself heavily in the Middle East to counter Soviet expansion, but why? In the worst-case scenario, if the Soviets stopped oil shipments, America could comfortably supply itself from its domestic oil fields, and from Canada, Mexico, and Venezuela. The quest for influence was entirely driven by imperial ambitions.

    Unwilling to replay the Vietnam scenario and install quisling regimes in Arab countries, the only option America was left with was buying influence. When the United States refused to pay for the Aswan dam, Nasser switched sides and took Russian aid, instead. America virtually begged the Arabs to accept its authority. The US accepted wicked, corrupt, fundamentalist, openly hostile regimes, such as the Saudis, and fought for Kuwait without asking for a price. Measuring influence in square miles rather than military force, America sided with the Arabs to pressure Israel for concessions instead of rationally standing firm behind its strong and reliable ally. Now both Arabs and Israelis are contemptuous of America.

    The United States doesn’t need an empire. Military might didn’t help it in its many trade conflicts with the Arabs, Japan, and Europe. No country significantly threatens America. The country doesn’t profit from its protectorates, but spends handsomely to maintain their condescending loyalty.

    People welcome incidental help but resist long-term patronage or intervention. Protracted wars, such as in Iraq, bring the empire no benefits. America can achieve popular goodwill abroad with education programs, ideological expansion, and by the pinpoint killings of evil rulers, the Saudis included.

  12. @ Edgar G.:
    I had a standard left wing NYC education. All of my teachers — in regular schools — were leftists, I could have gone to school in E. Germany and had a similar education. One of my principal textbooks in U.S. History, High School, was Howard Zinn’s “People’s History of America.” In my “Modern China” class, it was Edgar Snow’s “Red Star Over China.” Not heard of Bartolomeo de las Casas? Ha. Ha. He was a biggie. He was the Catholic cleric who successfully advocated importing African slaves on the grounds that they were hardier, out of pity for the Indians who were dying in subjection. He is credited with being the father of the trans-Atlantic slave trade and an exemplar of the truism, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

    To my knowledge, the Middle East, which was contained within the Ottoman Empire was not rent by Civil Wars. There are similar stories of dynastic internal mayhem in Korea, China, Japan, throughout Europe with far less of it trickling down to the masses in the Ottoman Empire. The endless wars precede the Ottomans. Though it’s true, that Israel was plagued by bedouin robber gangs under the centuries of Muslim misrule (as they would like to do again.)

  13. @ yamit82:
    All true except for one detail. Israelis are not contemptuous of America. Sadly, they hang on our every word or gesture. Like an abused puppy that never stops hoping and trying to please.

  14. @ Felix Quigley:
    I didn’t get that far down before I stopped bothering to look. All of the commentators seem to be crazy. Breitbart, while a good news site, clearly doesn’t filter comments. Not worth my time. Or as many men said about Playboy magazine embarassedly in the ’60s and ’70s. I only read it for the articles. Same with the liberal rag, The New Yorker Magazine, however, in that case, I only read it for the cartoons.

  15. Sebastien Zorn Said:

    @ Edgar G.:

    To my knowledge, the Middle East, which was contained within the Ottoman Empire was not rent by Civil Wars.


    I didn’t mention anything about Ottoman civil wars, although there were occasional uprisings and they were pretty busy in the Mediterranean area, Lepanto and suchlike. Also the backed corsairs.. I was talking Palace intrigue.

    As for Old Bartoleme you are right, he though that the blacks could stand the work better, but he soon recanted and turned against all slavery. He wrote all about it. There was already black slavery by the time Las Casas came on the scene, he didn’t begin it, and his championship of it was short. So I think his responsibility was minor. The road to good intentions comment is very apt here.

    The Introduction in my book says that he was refused confession because he was a slave owner. But he spent the rest of his long life fighting against slavery of all kinds and of all peoples.

    By the way I’m sure I read Snow’s “Red Star over China”, in fact I’d bet I have it somewhere. I think that it was a “Left Book Club” book which my older brother used to get regularly and I came by it that way.. I think it vividly described the Long March and the events before and after that time. But the Long March sticks in my mind. I was only about 10-12 when I read it.

  16. @ Edgar G.:
    Wow, you know, I didn’t even realize it first came out in 1937. I just looked it up. I remember being shocked to learn as a kid in the early seventies that Robert Cummings was not a contemporary actor and that Hogan’s Heros was an old show, ten years old. My bedtime was before Prime Time. I thought reruns were from now. I remember how irritated I was at Mystery Science Theater 3000 and the bozos in classic movie theaters (revival houses, they called them, nothing to do with religion) snickering at the classic B movies from the 30s, 40s and 50s that I watched wide-eyed on tv and took at face value. ‘Course now who remembers Mystery Science 3000? Ha Ha. Oh dear, Netflix is bringing it back in 2017, I see. No respect. No respect atall. young whipper snappers!

  17. For background on the State Dept, CIA, FBI and their counterparts in Britain and France, check out Loftus & Aaron’s book “The Secret War Against the Jews”

  18. yamit82 Said:

    “Now both Arabs and Israelis are contemptuous of America”.

    yamit82 Said:

    “America’s political expansion into the Middle East didn’t serve commercial interests.”

    @ yamit82:
    I responded to what you said without all the qualifiers-after-the-fact.

  19. Edgar G. Said:

    “I was talking Palace intrigue.”

    Does this sentence I took issue with, from the article, sound to you like Palace intrigue or even the occasional uprising which you also mentioned?

    “…1,400-year-old complex, disintegrating, unpredictable, volcanic, violently intolerant and frenzied Middle East reality… “

    It fails to take into account Islam’s division of the world into the realms of Islam and War, which have always been implemented in practice, wherever they could and can get away with it. Article fails to see Islam for the doctrinaire totalitarian political ideology that it is, no less than Fascism, Nazism, Communism, or any of the other threatening ideologies that we banned and whose exponents we interned or expelled at various points. We need to stop looking it as a “religion” which deserves protection. These are not out of control children who need to be helped along to overcome their prejudices. Likewise, the pals are not intransigent, they are implementing the 1974 PLO Phased Plan. They are following the plan. We need a counter plan.

    (this is from a pro-pal site, the other articles there are pure disinformation. The best corroboration is the enemy admitting that you are right.)

  20. Sebastien Zorn Said:

    I responded to what you said without all the qualifiers-after-the-fact.

    American oil companies preceded American government expansion and major interest in ME. Even when that expansion played out America was independent in oil and gas and prices were very minimal for gas.

Comments are closed.