Foreign Policy

Trump's Middle East Triumph

He's advancing peace and U.S. interests abroad, while repudiating his predecessor.

Nate Jackson · Aug. 14, 2020

Barack Obama may have been handed a Nobel Peace Prize merely for ascending to the presidency, but Donald Trump is the one actually securing peace deals. The president announced a historic agreement Thursday between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

Trump summed up the “Abraham Accord,” saying, “After 49 years, Israel and the United Arab Emirates will fully normalize their diplomatic relations. They will exchange embassies and ambassadors, and begin cooperation across the board and on a broad range of areas, including tourism, education, healthcare, trade, and security.”

Gary Bauer notes, “This marks the first peace treaty between Israel and an Arab country in more than 25 years and only the third such deal.” Most Arab nations still refuse to recognize Israel at all, though don’t be surprised if this lays the groundwork for a similar deal with Saudi Arabia.

The accord also marks a big win for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been embattled by domestic political attacks that bear resemblance to those Trump has survived. It both shores up concerns about foreign policy and quiets some domestic opposition regarding Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Naturally, Joe Biden had the audacity to claim credit, thanks to his supposedly key work in the Obama administration. “The coming together of Israel and Arab states builds on the efforts of multiple administrations to foster a broader Arab-Israeli opening, including the efforts of the Obama-Biden administration to build on the Arab Peace Initiative,” Biden’s handlers wrote in a statement. “I personally spent time with leaders of both Israel and the UAE during our administration building the case for cooperation and broader engagement and the benefits it could deliver to both nations, and I am gratified by today’s announcement.”

He shouldn’t be. In fact, he should be ashamed of such a brazen revision of history. The true Obama-Biden policy was to marginalize Israel and the Gulf states by cutting a deal with the mullahs in Iran. It’s telling that former Obama adviser Ben Rhodes, one of the architects of and propagandists for the Iran deal, slammed Trump’s agreement for “the total exclusion of the Palestinians.” Tehran seeks hegemony in the Middle East while fomenting violence, seeking the destruction of Israel, and opposing the U.S. at every turn. Obama helped advance that goal not just with the nuclear deal but with his war policies in Iraq, Syria, and Libya.

Trump decided a better course would be to work with our allies and against our enemies.

After decades of empty promises from American presidents, it was Donald Trump who finally moved the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem — a move his critics promised would lead to unrest. It was Donald Trump who rescinded the deal with Iran and who replaced it with a different “deal” — killing General Qasem Soleimani, leader of Iran’s elite terrorist Corps-Quds forces. Critics decried that, too, as provoking further violence.

Yet here we are with a peace deal, in large part because of Trump’s actions. To be sure, Trump has not once and for all secured “peace in our time” with this agreement. But it is notable for Middle East stability and it advances U.S. interests. That’s a welcome change, and one we’d rather not see undone come November.

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