Is Trump Good for Israel?
One of the crazier outgrowths of this election year is how many of my Jewish liberal friends are planning to vote for Jill Stein or Gary Johnson instead of Hillary Clinton, making it more possible that Donald Trump could become our next president. I wonder if these staunch supporters of Israel’s right to exist have even thought about what it would mean for the Jewish state if Trump wins. Let’s take a look.
What are the biggest threats to Israel’s security these days?
- Iran developing nukes
- An emboldened Bashir al-Assad in Syria
- The development of a territorial Islamic State
- Growing regional tensions with Egypt, the Arab street, and northern Africa
In every one of those concerns, a Trump presidency vastly increases the risks.
Trump has made it very clear that his first order of business will be to hold a magnifying glass to the Iranian Nuclear Treaty and look for any and all reasons to trash the deal. Let’s say he does. What do you think Iran will immediately do? Come back begging for a stricter, more onerous deal? No, they will immediately start turning on the centrifuges and reconstitute their nuclear program with reckless abandon.
But, you say, Trump will just ratchet up the sanctions beyond what the Obama administration was doing before the deal, right? Wrong.
Remember, the deal was negotiated between Iran and the P5 Plus One (China, France, Russia, the U.K., Germany, and the USA). Trump has already vowed to start a trade war with China. Do you think that’s going to entice them to want to help the U.S. reign in Iran? Then you have France and the U.K. dealing with their own Brexit inspired nationalism, and Trump clearly isn’t going to be buddy-buddy with Angela Merkel in Germany. And if Trump follows through on his promise to pressure NATO allies to pay protection money or fend for themselves, you can bet that they won’t be so willing to help us defend Israel. So you can kiss that entire P5 Plus One alliance goodbye.
Now you have Iran going rogue and doubling down on their nuclear program with no chance of meaningful sanctions while a fractured Europe turns inward on itself and every western country becomes more isolationist.
Does any of that help Israel? No way.
Syria & ISIS
Another Trump foreign policy gem is to buddy up to the Assad regime to help defeat ISIS. Well, I suppose that could be bad news for ISIS…if it works. But it’s much worse news for Israel. An Assad regime that grows stronger means that he can finally put down his nation’s internal dissent and focus his hatred outward again on the Jewish enemy state. And you can bet that as Russia’s Vladimir Putin cozies up to the Assad government, Syria will go back to being what it was before: a launching ground of attacks on Israel from Hizbollah, Iranian forces, Syrian forces, and even Islamic State forces. You want to see rocket strikes on Israel quadruple? Drop regime change as the stated U.S. policy, allow Assad to crush his opposition, and follow that by watching him strike new alliances with Russia and Iran. That is a sure recipe for world peace. Not.
And while Trump is bombing the bejesus out of every brown skinned city that ISIS controls, he’ll be increasing the chance that a formal Islamic State rises from the ashes. You see, when American bombs fall from the sky on their homes, hospitals and schools, Muslims don’t tend to become fonder of the US of A. No, they tend to become fonder of the brown skinned forces protecting them – in this case, the Islamic guys in white pickup trucks telling them that the only way to stop the carnage is by joining the caliphate and helping Allah defeat the red-white-and-blue infidels attacking them from the sky.
You want to see ISIS grow into a real geo-political presence? Just declare war on “Radical Islam” and start carpet bombing the entire middle east. Then add in a new wave of CIA waterboarding and torture (as promised by Trump) and they’ll turn that into the fastest growing recruitment campaign since the Third Reich.
Growing Regional Tensions
President Trump will easily and quickly vanquish ISIS. We know that because he told us so. After all, he says he knows more about ISIS than the generals fighting them. (And yet his followers believe he also respects our military! How’s that for cognitive dissonance.)
But what if, ohhh, say…he’s wrong? What if all he does is draw us into a massive ground war and/or unending air war throughout Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Syria, and other parts of the Arab Street and northern Africa, where he has promised to “bomb the s**t out of them.” How’s that going to improve US-Arab relations? It’s not. And do you know what happens when Arab countries get really, really ticked off at the evil imperialist America? They turn on Israel. That’s what they did in the 50s. That’s what they did in the 60s. That’s what they did in the 70s and 80s. And it’s what they will do this time. In spades.
Jerusalem meets U.S. Isolationism
Meanwhile, Trump will be presiding over a State Department hellbent on building a wall between our southern neighbors, demanding protection money from NATO, instigating trade wars with China, and maybe even turning a blind eye to nuclear proliferation in Japan, Saudi Arabia, and other countries. A nationalist-cum-isolationist America isn’t going to be in any position to protect and defend Israel’s interests. And Trump’s “Art of the Deal” style business negotiations will only make peace agreements harder to come by. The last thing Israel needs is someone inserting himself into that fluster-cluck with an eye toward maximizing profits.
So if you think that your vote for Jill Stein is in any way going to help the fortunes of Israel, I say HA!
Look, do what you like with your vote. Vote for Stein, vote for Johnson, vote for Deez Nuts. But don’t pretend that you aren’t hurting your world in the process.
There are two kinds of voters in this country: left of center and right of center. The right of center are predominantly voting for Trump. So every vote you withhold from the left of center candidate makes it that much more likely that Donald Trump will be setting U.S. foreign policy for the rest of this decade and beyond. If you can live with that, fine.
But I guarantee you your friends and relatives in Israel will soon be pining for the good ol’ days of the rational, thoughtful, long-range geo-political foreign policies from the United States that kept them relatively safe for the last 40 years.
Hillary Clinton represents that kind of Israel-friendly policies. Donald Trump represents something very, very different.
Kevin Kelton is the co-host of the “A More Perfect Union” podcast and founder of the Facebook political discussion group, Open Fire.
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