Promises given by political figures during election campaigns are often only these figures' or their electors' business. Moreover, the realization or not of these promises are often only the concerned country's problem. When this is about the United States, however, the entire world is concerned about these promises, because after all, the United States is a superpower and all its actions have global ramifications.
U.S. President Donald Trump announced last week his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, and during his speech, he insisted that he was, by this action, keeping a campaign promise. This is true; as a candidate, Trump did indeed give such a promise. Yet he is no longer a candidate, he is the president, and as president, recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital means the U.S. is blatantly violating United Nations Security Council resolutions and international law. In other words, Trump is saying that the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem is acceptable. When countries like Afghanistan or Sudan violate international law, they are easily labeled rogue states, but of course, when it is the number one economic, political and military power in the world, no one would dare call it that officially. The Trump administration is totally aware of this, and that explains why it is so impetuous.
Trump does not care that his announcement will put those who want peace in the Middle East in a very difficult position. He was certainly aware that his decision concerning Jerusalem would anger large segments in the Arab and Muslim worlds. This is quite odd as Trump promised during the campaign that he would fight against radicalism in the Muslim world, as well, but his decision now only helps those radicals.
Maybe Trump does want the ongoing conflicts to continue, after all. Probably, his decision is also motivated by the fact that he wants to create a distraction because he is in a difficult position domestically, and he also wants to help Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who also has many difficulties at home. But above all, it seems that Trump and Netanyahu want to prevent Hamas and Fatah from reconciling, Israelis and Palestinians from resuming talks, the world's Muslims from getting angry at the U.S. and Daesh or al-Qaida from never losing their motivation to carry out more attacks.
What difference would it make if Trump did not recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital? What would the U.S. or Israel lose if Trump had only followed his predecessors' line? Nothing. The status quo would continue, and the hope for a peaceful settlement, however distant, would remain intact. Trump and Netanyahu have chosen to kill this hope.
Why is Trump provoking another armed conflict in the region? Could it be because of his ties to the military-industrial complex and the oil lobby? More conflict obviously means more weapon sales. So maybe there is a short-term economic reason to justify his decision. Besides, if armed conflict flares up, this would not put American soldiers in danger; it is Palestinians who would die. Maybe that is why Trump has imagined that this decision would not directly hurt the American people. Nevertheless, what about the long-term consequences?
The peoples in the Middle East who disliked this recognition will grow more anti-American and will get closer to Russia or China. Russia is already willing to increase its military, financial and diplomatic influence in the Middle East, so it will benefit from it. Maybe Russia is even planning to play a mediation role between the Israelis and the Palestinians. In fact, Trump risks going down in history as the president who allowed the Russians to become more powerful than ever before in the Eastern Mediterranean through Syria and Palestine.
It is obvious that the U.S. will gain nothing from this decision, but what price this American administration will pay because of this wrong step remains to be seen.
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