With the thrust of the sword, or really with strike of just one tweet, U.S. President Donald Trump ruined all the plans of his advisers and generals. On Wednesday, along came Trump and pulled the rug out from under their feet. Diplomats and other U.S. government employees will leave Syria within 24 hours, and the last American soldier will leave in 100 days.
Who is the wise man who can understand what led to Trump’s decision? Was it something he saw on television, on the Fox network where he spends so much of his time? Maybe he wanted to quickly divert the media debate to another topic, after another catastrophic week in which it seemed the noose that special prosecutor Robert Mueller is readying around him is growing even tighter? Or maybe he just remembered his campaign promise to make America great again by reducing its spending on wars far from its shores?
As far as Israel is concerned, this story has one immediate lesson and one long-term conclusion. The immediate conclusion is that the desire to distance Iranian forces and the Shi’ite militias from Syria is nowhere near being realized.
The long-term lesson is that Trump, in his situation, has become someone who cannot be relied on. Even if he is basically sympathetic to Israel, and even though he is surrounded by family, advisers and weathly people who are Jewish, Trump is in such big trouble and acts in such an erratic manner that the Israeli government cannot be certain of his support over the long term.
The chances that the American administration will advance a coherent “Deal of the Century” peace plan with the Palestinians now seems to be minimal, similar to the possibility that Trump will suddenly reconcile with the Iranians, in the same way he fell in love with the North Korean dictator – and in the same breath he announced, without any foundation, the end of Pyongyang’s nuclear threat. But it is simply impossible to know when it comes to Trump – and the decision makers in Jerusalem need to take into account the increased sphere of uncertainty in which they are operating.
Here is a question for you? Is it possible Trump is preparing to use this pullout as blackmail to make the Israelis agree to his two-state peace solution?
The Israeli disappointment is just another relatively small matter compared to the betrayal that the Kurds certainly feel.