Where the Trump administration may be getting it right

by Norman A. Bailey  |  January 1, 2018  |  ARTICLES

Two documents reveal the difference between this U.S. administration and its predecessor on Middle East policy.

There can be no doubt that the United States is the most important country in the world for Israel. In recent days two documents have been published which cast a new a light on the last American administration and on the current one.

A superb piece of investigative journalism (a dying art) appearing in the Washington newspaper Politico details how the Obama administration under the leadership of President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry systematically sacrificed the vital strategic interests of both the United States and Israel by obstructing and eventually closing down a U.S. intelligence operation which, if supported by the administration, would have done immense damage to both Hezbollah and its controller, Iran. This criminally treasonous policy was carried out in order to facilitate the ultimate "deal" with Iran in 2015 (called by some "Among the worst international agreements ever"), which as we know, guaranteed Iran's ability to produce nuclear weapons in the near future, lifted the economic and financial sanctions that had been suffocating the regime and released billions of dollars (much of it in cash!) to enable the regime not only to survive but to lavishly finance its penetration into Iraq, Syria and Lebanon and continue its support of terrorist organizations, such as the same Hezbollah the planned clandestine operations were designed to destroy.

The other document published in the past few days is the National Security Strategy of the United States of America, prepared and published yearly by the U.S. government under Congressional mandate.

The 2017 document is extremely significant for several reasons, but in general terms, its calm, well-reasoned tone should be noted, coming from an administration that has thus far been characterized by a good deal of confusion, controversy and contradiction. Particularly of note are the following features:

  • Announcement of a new foreign policy doctrine: "principled realism," defined as pursuing all national interests rigorously and vigorously, while avoiding reckless actions due to ideology or emotional reaction. In other words, no more invasions of Iraq, as in 2003, or counter-productive Iran "deals."


  • Calling a spade a spade. Jihadist terrorism is actually referred to as Jihadist terrorism.


  • A concentration on combating adversarial cyber-activities of all kinds, including subversion, sabotage, and propaganda.


  • A concentration on reinforcing and increasing domestic capabilities, including economic, military, technological, and moral.


  • Identification of Iran and North Korea as the major actual threats to the nation's security, but also identifying Russia and China as current and potentially even more significant threats.


  • Resolutely confronting adversaries but equally resolutely supporting allies. In this respect, the section of the document on the Middle East makes the following statement: "For generations the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has been understood as the prime irritant preventing... peace in the region. Today, the threats from Jihadist terrorist organizations and Iran are creating the realization that Israel is not the cause of the region's problems." (emphasis added)

If the guidelines in this remarkably sober and realistic document are followed in practice, the relationship between Israel and the United States is in good hands. Already the veto cast by the U.S. in the UN Security Council -- and the announcement that countries that vote against the right of the United States to decide for itself where to put its embassies may jeopardize American aid -- give reason to believe that such may, indeed, be the case.

This article was originally published in Globes.