Thursday, June 01, 2017

Trump made a normal decision

I'm at the point where I am surprised when President Trump does something normal, like deciding not to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem for at least another 6 months. In 1995, Congress passed a law requiring the embassy be moved. But the Act gave the President the authority to waive the law if he deems a waiver to be in the national interest. Because such a move would cause all kinds of political fallout within the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and with other allies in the Arab and Muslim world, every single president since the law was passed, Clinton, Bush, and Obama, have each signed a waiver every six months for the last 22 years.

Trump ran on the promise of moving the embassy. Even though he has broken a ton of promises since he became president, the reasons that a waiver seemed so compelling to the three prior presidents, in my opinion, were not likely to affect Trump's decision-making. After all, this is a guy who has no aversion of chaos, or stirring up trouble with allied countries. And he has many advisers who are closely aligned with the Israeli right and who are hostile to the very notion of trying to appease the Muslim community.

And yet, he signed the waiver today. So much for Sheldon Adelson and David Friedman's influence. I guess the Saudis seduced him with their sword dance, glowing orb, and general lack of any non-toadying behavior.