In Summary
  • His ambiguous policy on the Middle East mirrors his wider global missteps.

  • The effects are clearly being felt in his missteps on climate change, immigration and now the status of Jerusalem.

  • Mr Trump’s speech on declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel was centred on the “Jerusalem Embassy Act”.

Listening to President Donald Trump, I wondered whether his latest decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was an effort to make America great again or whether it made America weak again.

His ambiguous policy on the Middle East mirrors his wider global missteps.

His foreign policy positions lack consistency and clarity.

They suffer from a broader challenge of not having input from career bureaucrats that have the insight and knowledge of the Middle East and the world more broadly.

The effects are clearly being felt in his missteps on climate change, immigration and now the status of Jerusalem.

Mr Trump’s speech on declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel was centred on the “Jerusalem Embassy Act”.

PAST PRESIDENTS

He failed to appreciate the reason his predecessors failed to implement the Act.

Past presidents have viewed it as an overreach of legislative (congressional) powers into the traditional role of the Executive (President) in directing American foreign policy.

Also, the speech failed to recognise the numerous United Nations resolutions on the status of Jerusalem. 

It also failed to assess the position of key religious voices such as the Pope and the Dalai Lama, the positions of American allies in the European Union, the Arab League and the African Union on the status of Jerusalem.

More importantly, it is a departure from over 70 years of American diplomacy in the region. This is an unprecedented step because it hurts US regional interests.

The President has departed from a principal foundation of American foreign policy.

This is continuity in foreign policy decisions across ideological differences in pursuit of core American interests. His speech fails to recognise Jerusalem as a contested city.

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