It’s no surprise to anyone that Donald Trump lives in an alternate universe. In his universe, the reasons for the American Civil War were so ‘manageable’ that Andrew Jackson could’ve solved it…had he not died sixteen years before it began! In his universe, Frederick Douglass is doing a helluva job and getting lots of recognition for his good work…130 years after he died (“Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more, I notice”).
On Middle East Peace, and Possibility of Trip to Israel, Saudi Arabia
“It’s a possibility, we’re talking to both. It’s a possibility, but I want to see peace with Israel and the Palestinians. There is no reason there’s not peace between Israel and the Palestinians – none whatsoever. So we’re looking at that and we’re also looking at the potential of going to Saudi Arabia.”
Well, actually there is a reason there’s no peace between Israel and the Palestinians. In fact, there are scores, perhaps hundreds, even thousands of reasons why there is no peace. And the fact that Trump is entirely oblivious to this confirms he will make a total mess of the issue during the next four years.
Here’s what my 12 year-old had to say about this Trumpism:
Vice President Pence revived a hoary old saw before a roaring crowd at an Israel Independence Day celebration today. Trump would move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. This mantra about the embassy reminds me of John Kerry’s explanation of his votes on the Iraq War: he voted for it before he voted against it. Trump’s far right pro-Israel appointees, Ambassador David Friedman and Jason Greenblatt promised, just after the election, that the embassy would be moved post-haste.
Then King Hussein of Jordan came a-calling to Washington to warn Trump that this would start a bloodbath unrivalled in the history of the extremely bloody Middle East. Aaron David Miller, no extremist or Israel critic, said:
“It would essentially validate the view that all of Jerusalem now belongs to Israel. It’s hard to come up with a single act that would make the Middle East burn more than it is burning right now.”
Then, after consultation with Netanyahu, we heard Trump backed off the idea. Now apparently it’s on again. But I think it’s ‘on again’ in the same way Trump failed to repeal Obamacare, then shelved his efforts, only to revive them in the desperate run-up to the First 100 Days milestone.
I suspect there will be a lot of this in the next four years. Initiatives will be rolled out with great (or even little) fanfare. The minions will scurry about making it appear a great deal of effort is being expended to turn it into law. Then when it fails, it will be shelved. Only to rise again from the dead when it’s needed to insulate Trump from blame or score points with key political constituencies.
Norman Lear should be kvelling: Archie Bunker got up out of his living room chair and got himself elected president. Trump should be a laughable character out of a TV sitcom. He has Archie’s same blowhard’s certainty and self-importance. He uses the same false, self-referential logic. But instead of a comic creation, Donald Trump is a real human being whose existence may afflict the world with immense suffering.
The PA president, Mahmoud Abbas is expected in Washington in coming days. Trump will fete him, try to make him feel important. Abbas will eat it up. Then he will go home and nothing will change. Both men are preening their egos, while doing nothing substantive that will help anyone. Trump has no plan, no policy. Abbas has no relevance, either in Palestine or the world. He presides over a kleptocracy. He is a king without a kingdom. He rules at Israel’s pleasure, and there’s precious little of that from the Israelis, who view him as a convenient punching bag.
The only question for the next four years is: will Trump do anything so stupid and outrageous that it will start a war? That war could be in North Korea, Iran, Palestine or any number of places. If we escape without a major disastrous war in the interim it will only be by the skin of our teeth (or by the grace of God if you’re religiously inclined).