Never doubt former President Donald J. Trump’s ability to make himself the center of whatever story is dominating the headlines (and making a jerk out of himself in the process), even a story in which 1,300 innocent people were murdered in one of the worst terrorist attacks in history. Many of those murdered, by the way, were women, children (as young as newborn babies), and the elderly.
Twenty-seven of those killed have been confirmed to have been American citizens. But there is former President Trump, running again for the presidency, airing his personal grievances about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and hailing Israel’s other major terrorist threat, the Iranian-back Lebanese Shiite terrorist group, Hezbollah.
What the world is witnessing in Israel is the result not of Donald Trump’s failures but, rather, President Joe Biden’s. It was the Biden Administration that immediately began gutting Trump’s ingenious Abraham Accords, which was the attempt by the Trump Administration to rebalance the Mideast away from a growing anti-American Islamic Republic of Iran and toward a US-friendly coalition of Israel-Sunni Arab states (as nominally led by Saudi Arabia).
Of course, Biden, being an heir to former President Barack Obama’s noxious (and naïve) belief that Israel was the root of all instability in the Greater Middle East, went to work on restoring the Obama era policy preferences that were so damaging to the United States in that region.
Biden’s Failed Mideast Policy
It wasn’t just isolating Israel diplomatically or attacking Saudi Arabia for human rights violations (what about the far greater human rights violations of Islamic extremists?) Biden also worked diligently to normalize relations with Iran by restarting the irresponsible Obama era nuclear weapons deal that Trump had smartly pulled America out of.
Part of Biden’s insane plot to hand the Middle East over to Iran (and, therefore, China and Russia) was giving billions of dollars to Iran. This was a policy that the Trump Administration had discontinued. Very shortly before the horrific Hamas attack on their Jewish neighbors in democratic Israel, the Biden Administration giddily unfroze $6 billion that the United States had seized from Iran because of their ongoing support of global terrorism. Hamas, by the way, is a proxy for Iran in the Gaza Strip.
As I have noted in these pages, the Hamas attack was designed by its Iranian backers to break the burgeoning security alliance between Israel and Saudi Arabia. By creating a situation where Israel would have no choice but to strike hard against the Arabs of the Gaza Strip, Hamas and Iran have made it impossible for the Saudis to fulfill their plans of uniting with Israel in a common regional security framework.
This is because the population of Saudi Arabia has a massive number of Islamists living among them and most are militantly supportive of the Palestinian cause. So, if Riyadh did fulfill its original plan of uniting with Israel, as Israeli troops pounded away at the Arab population in Gaza for the recent terrorist attacks in Israel, the Saudi government fears that its own population might rebel.
Thus, the Obama-Biden Mideast foreign policy empowered Iran, made Saudi Arabia subordinate to their foes in Iran, and effectively isolated Israel geopolitically.
Trump’s Loose Talk
Trump’s policies undid all that. Had he gotten a second term, it is likely that the Trump Administration would have completed the necessary regional security realignment that would have favored US power indefinitely in the region and isolated Iran (and therefore Chinese and Russian power) there.
The forty-fifth president would have been correct in arguing that he was better for the Mideast than any other recent American president, from either political party. Indeed, his presidential campaign would have been well-served if he was on the campaign trail this week, reminding the public of his success as a foreign policy president.
Instead, though, Trump cannot help himself.
Ego is his greatest character flaw and it comes out at the most inopportune times politically. Trump claims that he was let down by Netanyahu during Trump’s brilliant assassination of Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps commander, General Qassem Soleimani. According to Trump, Netanyahu originally planned for Israel to take part in the strike and then backed out at the last minute, leaving America holding the geopolitical bag.
Even if true, so what?
Trump did the right thing and set the Iranian plans for a third intifada against Israel back by years. That he failed to get a second term is the only reason why Mideast peace is now off-the-table (for now).
But Trump isn’t really angered about that.
Trump’s derisive comments about Netanyahu, as the Israeli prime minister does his best to lead his people through this awful crisis with Hamas and Iran, come from the fact that Trump has never forgiven Netanyahu for having been, according to Trump, the first world leader to call and offer his congratulations to Joe Biden for his apparent victory in the contested 2020 Presidential Election. In fact, Netanyahu was 12 hours late in congratulating Biden compared to other world leaders.
Trump, however, has it in his head that Netanyahu was the first and so, as Trump told Israeli journalist, Barak Ravid, in a post-election interview, “**** [Netanyahu].” This is the source of Trump’s antagonism toward Netanyahu (and he cannot stand that Netanyahu is getting good press right now).
As for Trump’s bizarre claims praising the alleged smartness of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah, it was strange. If one listens to the breadth of his comments, one would see that Trump was commenting on concerns that, if Hezbollah attacked Israel, the United States would need to enter the conflict. Understandably, Trump is resistant to deploy US troops into another Middle East war. As am I.
If Trump proves to be correct, then, there would be no need for US forces to intervene at all. If he’s wrong, however, then the Americans will need to increase their involvement. Because Hezbollah would only be opening up a second front against Israel on behalf of its Iranian overlords. And they’d only be doing that because Iran is trying to push US power out of the region forever.
Therefore, US airstrikes against logistical hubs funneling personnel and equipment to Hezbollah from Iran would need to be destroyed by the Americans to stymie Hezbollah’s war making capabilities.
Trump Isn’t Ready to Be President Again
But Trump’s comments were irresponsible and completely unnecessary. If anything, the Hamas strike on Israel proves Trump was correct in his Mideast policy and his opponent, Biden, is wrong.
What’s most troubling about Trump’s comments is that, if he were to win reelection (which I remain skeptical of), his second term would be nothing but a giant Trump revenge tour—not only against the Swamp Dwellers of our “Deep State” who need to be gone after, but against allied foreign leaders, such as Benjamin Netanyahu for perceived slights going back to the chaotic 2020 Presidential Election.
It’s time for Trump to get much more serious. Sadly, his ego won’t allow for that. If his character flaw continues dominating him, it just might turn off voters and ensure that, if Biden is the Democratic Party’s nominee, then Trump might lose.
A 19FortyFive Senior Editor and an energy analyst at the The-Pipeline, Brandon J. Weichert is a former Congressional staffer and geopolitical analyst who is a contributor at The Washington Times, as well as at the Asia Times. He is the author of Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower (Republic Book Publishers), Biohacked: China’s Race to Control Life (Encounter Books), and The Shadow War: Iran’s Quest for Supremacy (July 23). Weichert occasionally serves as a Subject Matter Expert for various organizations, including the Department of Defense.