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Reactions to President Trump recognizing Jerusalem as capital of Israel

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Reactions to President Trump recognizing Jerusalem as capital of Israel

President Trump made it official today. At a Diplomatic Reception room at the White House, the President recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a move that has been promised by every President other than Barack Obama for decades.

“I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” Trump said. “This is a long overdue step to advance the peace process…today, we finally acknowledge the obvious: that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.  This is nothing more, or less, than a recognition of reality.  It is also the right thing to do.  It’s something that has to be done.”

This move will be embraced by many on the right and panned by many on the left, though some of the more notable liberals like Senator Chuck Schumer agree with the move.

I’ll put in my final thoughts below, but let’s look at some of the reactions so far…

Perspectives

Promise Kept: Trump Declares a New Era, Officially Recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital

https://townhall.com/tipsheet/katiepavlich/2017/12/06/trump-jerusalem-announcement-n2418907In his remarks, Trump said the recognition of Jerusalem as the capitol is essential to peace talks moving forward, a message to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

“Jerusalem is not just the heart of three great religions, but it is now also the heart of one of the most successful democracies in the world,” Trump said. “Israel is a sovereign nation with the right, like every other sovereign nation, to determine its own capital.”

Jerusalem Embassy: Trump Fights Global Anti-Semitism

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/454406/jerusalem-embassy-trump-fights-anti-semitismFirst, sovereign nations are entitled to name their capital, and it is the near-universal practice of other nations to locate their embassies in that same capital. I say “near-universal” because the nations of the world have steadfastly refused to recognize Israel’s capital. They’ve steadfastly placed their embassies outside of Jerusalem. They do so in spite of the Jewish people’s ancient connection to the City of David and in spite of the fact that no conceivable peace settlement would turn over the seat of Israel’s government to Palestinian control — even if parts of East Jerusalem are reserved for a Palestinian capital. Israel’s government sits on Israeli land, and it will remain Israeli land.

Israeli PM Netanyahu praises ‘historic’ decision by President Trump

https://www.conservativereview.com/articles/israeli-pm-netanyahu-praises-historic-decision-by-president-trumpIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to Trump’s decision, expressing profound gratitude on behalf of the people of Israel.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: @POTUS Trump, thank you for today’s historic decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The Jewish people and the Jewish state will be forever grateful. pic.twitter.com/Z24lSRezYm

Trump Declares Jerusalem the Capitol of Israel

http://noisyroom.net/blog/2017/12/06/trump-declares-jerusalem-the-capitol-of-israel/Huge speech and decision. If the Palestinians can have their own capitol, why not Israel? In reality and presently the United States does have a consulate in Jerusalem already. Marine FAST teams (elite security forces) and increased security have already been ordered at most U.S. diplomatic operations in key locations around the world, expecting protests.

Additionally, did you know the Palestinians have an embassy in Washington DC?

BREAKING. SecState Tillerson Announces Process of Moving US Embassy to Jerusalem Will Begin Immediately

https://www.redstate.com/streiff/2017/12/06/breaking.-secstate-tillerson-announces-process-moving-us-embassy-jerusalem-will-begin-immediately/Secretary of State Rex Tillerson followed up President Trump’s announcement of the official recognition by the United States of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel with his own newsmaker.

What does this mean? Other than a bunch of guys in stripey pants in Tel Aviv and Foggy Bottom befouling themselves? It’s hard to tell. Any process of moving the embassy to Jerusalem is going to be time consuming. The real estate acquisition will be an issue as Jerusalem is fairly built up and obviously the embassy is not, according to the proclamation, going into East Jerusalem. Design standards for high risk embassies are rather real estate intensive. And construction in and around Jerusalem is frequently delayed by archaeological finds. And we don’t know what “process” Tillerson is envisioning from this statement.

The world REACTS to Trump’s announcement that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel

http://therightscoop.com/the-world-reacts-to-trumps-announcement-that-jerusalem-is-the-capital-of-israel/As you might have expected, much of the Middle East and some European countries are not happy with Trump’s decision to change US policy to formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Here’s a list of who is saying what:

Jerusalem projects American and Israeli flags on Old City walls in display of appreciation

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/jerusalem-projects-american-and-israeli-flags-on-old-city-walls-in-display-of-appreciation/article/2642729The Jerusalem municipality projected the American and Israeli flags on the Old City walls Wednesday as Trump announced the U.S. would formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

“After more than two decades of waivers, we are no closer to a lasting peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. It would be folly to assume that repeating the exact same formula would now produce a different or better result,” Trump said Wednesday while making the expected announcement. “Therefore, I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”

Reactions

Final Thoughts

I’ve been a vocal opponent to the President, but I’ve also been fair. When he does the right things, I have no problem pointing them out. This is one of those things. Israel, as a sovereign nation, has the right to determine where its capital is. That the U.S. and most of the world has denied them this right is a travesty. Now, the President has made things right.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Mark Anthony V. Miana

    April 1, 2018 at 7:50 am

    🇵🇭🇮🇱 Yes to Philippine Embassy move to Jerusalem as the Real Capital of Israel ! God Yahweh Bless ✡ Israel & Philippines †

  2. Mark Anthony V. Miana

    April 1, 2018 at 7:53 am

    God Bless United States of America 🙂 The Only Nation that declare Jerusalem the Capital of Israel…
    We the Filipino People support President.Trump of U.S.A.

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Foreign Affairs

State Department denies claims MBS involved in Khashoggi killing

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State Department denies claims MBS involved in Khashoggi killing

Yesterday, reports were flying across the news wire that the CIA had concluded Saudi Crown Prince and de facto ruler Mohammed bin Salman was involved in the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The State Department issued a statement today denying the claim, stating no conclusion has been reached.

My Take

This is a lie. The State Department has seen and heard the mountains of evidence. The various cover stories put forth by the Saudi government have been hollow and debunked. They aren’t investigating further. They’re simply buying time and hoping other stories will help sweep this one under the rug.

Either MBS is so incompetent and disrespected that members of his own team went behind his back to murder someone, or he gave the order. The fact that Saudi Arabia wants us to buy the “rogue killer” is absolutely pitiful.

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Economy

Pacific Rim summit highlights strained China-US relations

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Pacific Rim summit highlights strained China-US relations

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (AP) — A meeting of world leaders in Papua New Guinea has highlighted divisions between global powers the U.S. and China and a growing competition for influence in the usually neglected South Pacific.

The 21 nations at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Port Moresby struggled to bridge differences on issues such as trade protectionism and reforming the World Trade Organization, making it likely their final statement Sunday will be an anodyne document.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and China’s President Xi Jinping traded barbs in speeches on Saturday. Pence professed respect for Xi and China but also harshly criticized the world’s No. 2 economy for intellectual property theft, forced technology transfers and unfair trading practices.

In Port Moresby, the impact of China’s aid and loans is highly visible. But the U.S. and allies are countering with efforts to finance infrastructure in Papua New Guinea and other island states. The U.S. has also said it will be involved in ally Australia’s plan to develop a naval base with Papua New Guinea.

On Sunday, the U.S., New Zealand, Japan and Australia said they’d work with Papua New Guinea’s government to bring electricity to 70 percent of its people by 2030. Less than 20 percent have a reliable electricity supply.

“The commitment of the United States of America to this region of the world has never been stronger,” said Pence at a signing ceremony. A separate statement from his office said other countries are welcome to join the electrification initiative provided they support the U.S. vision of a free and open Pacific.

China, meanwhile, has promised $4 billion of finance to build the the first national road network in Papua New Guinea, among the least urbanised countries in the world.

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Foreign Affairs

The Saudi predicament requires radical changes in our foreign affairs positions

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Saudi predicament requires radical changes in our foreign affairs positions

The United States is at a foreign affairs crossroads. One of our most important allies in the most important region in the world is being led by a man that U.S. intelligence (and pretty much everybody else) believes ordered the murder of a journalist living in our nation and writing for one of its biggest news outlets. How can we reconcile between what’s right and what’s smart?

Further evidence was leaked today that Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince and de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, ordered the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul last month. The CIA concluded this based on multiple pieces of circumstantial evidence, including phone calls intercepted between Khashoggi and Mohammed’s brother assuring Khashoggi’s safety if he went to the Saudi consulate where was murdered.

CIA concludes Saudi crown prince ordered Jamal Khashoggi’s assassination

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/cia-concludes-saudi-crown-prince-ordered-jamal-khashoggis-assassination/2018/11/16/98c89fe6-e9b2-11e8-a939-9469f1166f9d_story.html?utm_term=.718b2d26599cThe CIA’s conclusion about Mohammed’s role was also based on the agency’s assessment of the prince as the country’s de facto ruler who oversees even minor affairs in the kingdom. “The accepted position is that there is no way this happened without him being aware or involved,” said a U.S. official familiar with the CIA’s conclusions.

Among the intelligence assembled by the CIA is an audio recording from a listening device that the Turks placed inside the Saudi consulate, according to the people familiar with the matter. The Turks gave the CIA a copy of that audio, and the agency’s director, Gina Haspel, has listened to it.

This is much more complicated than deciding whether or not to punish Mohammed. The stakes are unfathomably high, including balance of power in the Middle East, a potential oil crisis that could cripple the world economy, and the future of a peace plan between Israel and the Palestinians.

Unfortunately, what’s right and what’s smart are diametrically opposed in this situation.

What’s right?

Every ounce of evidence points to the near-certainty that Mohammed bin Salman ordered the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. He was a permanent residence of the United States who lived in Virginia and worked at the Washington Post. While not a citizen, he lawfully earned the right to fall under our nation’s protections.

The right thing to do is to condemn the Crown Prince, even if that will irreversibly damage our relationship with Saudi Arabia.

What’s smart?

Based on the current geopolitical status quo, Saudi Arabia is our best proxy to keep Iran in check in the Middle East. They are also the reason the dollar is still the world’s reserve currency despite efforts by Russia, China, and other nations to change that. This status allows the dollar to maintain artificial stability. There are many factors in play that could cripple the dollar if Saudi Arabia and OPEC started dealing in other currencies, bur national debt alone would be enough to catastrophically collapse our entire economy if the world had the means to turn its collective back on us.

Saudi Arabia and the so-called “petrodollar” is the force that maintains the illusion of stability.

The arms we sell Saudi Arabia account for a substantial chunk of revenue and jobs in the United States, but more importantly it gives them the technological edge they need over Iran. If the Saudis turn to Russia or China, our influence over the region would diminish greatly.

The smart thing to do is to sweep this under the rug. Throw symbolic punishment at some sacrificial Saudi lambs and move on.

Time for change

There is no way to do what’s right and still do what’s smart, so it would seem the White House has to pick between the two.

Perhaps they don’t. Perhaps there’s a third option.

Even if we do the “right” thing by condemning Saudi Arabia Mohammed, ties will not deteriorate immediately. There will be a wind down during which time the Saudis will be looking for other partners and the Americans will be trying to salvage the relationship.

What if we didn’t? What if we acknowledged for the first time that Saudi Arabia is more than just the country that murdered Khashoggi. Their human rights record is atrocious. They have directly or indirectly harmed the United States for years, including a significant role in terrorist attacks. They spread Wahhabism across the world. If you haven’t heard much about Wahhabism, it’s because the radical Islamic sect that drives the House of Saud is protected from media scrutiny. See Network, which only partially satirizes the influence the Saudis have on U.S. media.

Saudi Arabia is a horrible ally. They’re necessary because we’ve made them necessary, but if we drastically cut budgets and spending, the economic ramifications of a break with them would be mitigated. It’s time to make deals with nations that do not smile at us in public and subvert us in private. Nations that do not like us, including Brazil and Venezuela, could be brought under our wing to replace Saudi Arabia on the oil front. It’s unimaginable now, but we live in fast-moving times.

Also, build the Keystone XL pipeline.

As for stability in the Middle East, it’s time we go all-in with Israel. They are the only true democracy and the one nation in the Middle East we can count on to not stab us in the back. They are capable of being the check against Iran. Abandon all talks of a two-state solution, work with Israel as our primary proxy in the Middle East, and make Saudi Arabia turn to others for support.

All of this sounds dangerous because, well, it is. The dominoes that will fall when we take drastic measures against Saudi Arabia will be painful. But there’s one thing to consider before balking at this. We may be heading in this direction already. The difference is it wouldn’t be us initiating (and therefore prepared for) these changes. Saudi Arabia has been quietly seeking a better deal for decades. They haven’t found it yet, but someday they will. When that happens, they’ll pull the rug out from under us.

We should be the ones pulling the rug. If we’re not, the permanent repercussions will be devastating.

Radical change in our foreign affairs stance is long overdue. Saudi Arabia is the worst kind of ally to rely upon, not just because of Khashoggi but because of everything else they’ve done. None of this seems feasible now, but it may be the only path forward.

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