Friday, December 09, 2016 INTERNATIONAL

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Trump picks General “Mad Dog” Mattis for secretary of defence
Patrick Martin
 
General James Mattis
THE disclosure by President-elect Donald Trump on  2 December 2016 night that he will appoint retired Marine Corps General James Mattis as his secretary of defence has been greeted with approval across the political establishment and in the major organs of the corporate-controlled media.
Trump made the remark towards the end of his rally-style address in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he elaborated a perspective that combined extreme nationalism and militarism with demagogic promises to defend the interests of the working class. He referred several times to Mattis’s nickname, “Mad Dog,” given to him after he led the savage Marine counteroffensive that retook the Iraqi city of Fallujah in December 2004. Only in today’s America could the nomination of a general with that moniker be hailed as a sign of moderation and good sense.
Mattis’s nomination will require special legislation to pass Congress, since current law requires that a military officer be retired for at least seven years before returning to the Pentagon in a high-ranking position reserved for civilians.
When the Department of Defence was established in 1947, replacing the Department of War, Congress stipulated that no one who had served as a commissioned officer within ten years (reduced to seven in 2008) could be appointed. Though this requirement was immediately waived to allow for the appointment of General George Marshall in 1950, no former general has occupied the post in the past 66 years.
There is, however, no commitment to the basic democratic issue of civilian control of the military within the US political establishment. There is little opposition in Congress, in either party, to the passage of a waiver for Mattis.
 
Long and bloody career
Mattis has a long and bloody career. He played leading operational roles in both the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and the invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003-2004. He later co-authored the Pentagon’s counterinsurgency warfare manual with General David Petraeus, and held a top position with NATO.
He ended his career as head of the US Central Command from 2010 to 2013, overseeing the US withdrawal from Iraq, the increasingly bloody stalemate in Afghanistan, and the US efforts to bolster the Egyptian military against the revolutionary upsurge in that country. He also supervised the drawing up of US plans for intervention in Syria, hailing the armed Islamic uprising against the Assad regime as a potentially devastating strategic blow to Assad’s ally Iran.
The four-star general was removed from his post at CENTCOM five months early, after he came into conflict with the Obama White House over its policy towards Iran, which he regarded as unduly conciliatory. Once retired, Mattis made his differences public, blasting the Obama administration for what he called its “policy of disengagement in the Middle East.”
This public criticism endeared Mattis to all factions of the Republican Party. “Never Trump” conservatives like William Kristol floated his name as a possible independent candidate for president against Trump. Both Trump and Hillary Clinton invited him to speak in their support at the Republican and Democratic conventions, but he declined to play any role in the 2016 campaign.
In the corporate-controlled elite media, there is remarkable unanimity in support of Trump’s appointment. The praise of Mattis runs the gamut from conservative to liberal.
The Wall Street Journal headlined its editorial, “Oorah, General Mattis,” saying that while Trump picked cronies for other positions, he “has chosen a Defence Secretary on the merits.” As for the constitutional implications, the editorial states, “The principle of civilian leadership is important, but Gen. Mattis has the knowledge and experience to deserve the dispensation.”
The Washington Post, while expressing some reservations about the prominence of retired military officers in the unfolding Trump administration, nonetheless concludes that a waiver of the ban on a retired general heading the Pentagon is warranted, supposedly as a check on the incoming president: “The extreme circumstances of the Trump presidency-to-be—including a commander in chief who is both ignorant of military and international affairs and prone to impulsiveness—strengthen the case for a Mattis exception.”
The New York Times unreservedly praises Mattis as “An Experienced Choice for the Pentagon,” suggesting that he “could bring a voice of reason to a White House that will be led by a dangerously ignorant president who has so far shown too little interest in opposing views.”
 
NYT sees “danger of going soft on Russia”
Echoing the Democratic Party and those sections of the military-intelligence apparatus that backed the Clinton campaign, both the Times and the Post have expressed concerns that the incoming Trump administration will not be aggressive enough against Russia. On November 12, the Times published an editorial warning about “The Danger of Going Soft on Russia,” criticizing Trump for having been “Russia’s defender and the beneficiary of Moscow’s efforts to influence the elections.”
Within these circles, Mattis—who has differed with Trump on Russia—is seen as a counterweight to any tendency of the incoming administration to move away from the anti-Russia policy.
The only real concern expressed by the Times is “whether General Mattis intends to roll back military personnel policy changes adopted during the Obama administration, including opening all combat roles to women, allowing openly gay troops to serve and accommodating transgender troops.” The liberal newspaper-of-record is far more concerned with the gender and sexual identity of American troops than the identity of the people they will be tasked with incinerating.
 
Killing Taliban was “fun”
The Times has distinguished itself as the most fervent advocate of US military intervention in the Syrian civil war, supposedly on the grounds that this is necessary to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe. The “human rights” crusaders are not put off by the nomination of a general who once boasted about how killing Taliban was “fun.”
What is particularly noteworthy is that all three editorials discuss the principle of civilian control of the military, which would be effectively gutted by the appointment of Mattis, and dismiss it.
The Mattis nomination is not an isolated case. Retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, former head of the Defence Intelligence Agency, is Trump’s choice as national security adviser, the top White House position coordinating military and foreign policy. Retired General David Petraeus, former US commander in Iraq and Afghanistan and former CIA director, is a leading contender for secretary of state. Retired General John F. Kelly is under discussion to head the Department of Homeland Security. And Admiral Michael Rogers, the current head of the National Security Agency, is likely to be named Director of National Intelligence, coordinating all 19 components of the vast US intelligence apparatus.
It is thus quite possible that military officers, active or retired, could end up holding every major national security position in the incoming Trump administration. This is not merely a demonstration of the militaristic character of Trump’s perspective. It must be understood, more fundamentally, as a consequence of the long-term militarization of American foreign policy and American society as a whole.
US imperialism has been at war for most of the past 25 years, and continuously since 2001. Barack Obama, when he leaves office next January 20, will be the first president in American history to have been a wartime commander-in-chief for an entire eight years in office. It is not an accident that under such conditions, the military has come to play such a decisive role in national-security policy.
— WSWS

Comment

Patrick Martin
 
General James Mattis
THE disclosure by President-elect Donald Trump on  2 December 2016 night that he will appoint retired Marine Corps General James Mattis as his secretary of defence has been greeted with approval across the political establishment and in the major organs of the corporate-controlled media.
Trump made the remark towards the end of his rally-style address in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he elaborated a perspective that combined extreme nationalism and militarism with demagogic promises to defend the interests of the working class. He referred several times to Mattis’s nickname, “Mad Dog,” given to him after he led the savage Marine counteroffensive that retook the Iraqi city of Fallujah in December 2004. Only in today’s America could the nomination of a general with that moniker be hailed as a sign of moderation and good sense.
Mattis’s nomination will require special legislation to pass Congress, since current law requires that a military officer be retired for at least seven years before returning to the Pentagon in a high-ranking position reserved for civilians.
When the Department of Defence was established in 1947, replacing the Department of War, Congress stipulated that no one who had served as a commissioned officer within ten years (reduced to seven in 2008) could be appointed. Though this requirement was immediately waived to allow for the appointment of General George Marshall in 1950, no former general has occupied the post in the past 66 years.
There is, however, no commitment to the basic democratic issue of civilian control of the military within the US political establishment. There is little opposition in Congress, in either party, to the passage of a waiver for Mattis.
 
Long and bloody career
Mattis has a long and bloody career. He played leading operational roles in both the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and the invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003-2004. He later co-authored the Pentagon’s counterinsurgency warfare manual with General David Petraeus, and held a top position with NATO.
He ended his career as head of the US Central Command from 2010 to 2013, overseeing the US withdrawal from Iraq, the increasingly bloody stalemate in Afghanistan, and the US efforts to bolster the Egyptian military against the revolutionary upsurge in that country. He also supervised the drawing up of US plans for intervention in Syria, hailing the armed Islamic uprising against the Assad regime as a potentially devastating strategic blow to Assad’s ally Iran.
The four-star general was removed from his post at CENTCOM five months early, after he came into conflict with the Obama White House over its policy towards Iran, which he regarded as unduly conciliatory. Once retired, Mattis made his differences public, blasting the Obama administration for what he called its “policy of disengagement in the Middle East.”
This public criticism endeared Mattis to all factions of the Republican Party. “Never Trump” conservatives like William Kristol floated his name as a possible independent candidate for president against Trump. Both Trump and Hillary Clinton invited him to speak in their support at the Republican and Democratic conventions, but he declined to play any role in the 2016 campaign.
In the corporate-controlled elite media, there is remarkable unanimity in support of Trump’s appointment. The praise of Mattis runs the gamut from conservative to liberal.
The Wall Street Journal headlined its editorial, “Oorah, General Mattis,” saying that while Trump picked cronies for other positions, he “has chosen a Defence Secretary on the merits.” As for the constitutional implications, the editorial states, “The principle of civilian leadership is important, but Gen. Mattis has the knowledge and experience to deserve the dispensation.”
The Washington Post, while expressing some reservations about the prominence of retired military officers in the unfolding Trump administration, nonetheless concludes that a waiver of the ban on a retired general heading the Pentagon is warranted, supposedly as a check on the incoming president: “The extreme circumstances of the Trump presidency-to-be—including a commander in chief who is both ignorant of military and international affairs and prone to impulsiveness—strengthen the case for a Mattis exception.”
The New York Times unreservedly praises Mattis as “An Experienced Choice for the Pentagon,” suggesting that he “could bring a voice of reason to a White House that will be led by a dangerously ignorant president who has so far shown too little interest in opposing views.”
 
NYT sees “danger of going soft on Russia”
Echoing the Democratic Party and those sections of the military-intelligence apparatus that backed the Clinton campaign, both the Times and the Post have expressed concerns that the incoming Trump administration will not be aggressive enough against Russia. On November 12, the Times published an editorial warning about “The Danger of Going Soft on Russia,” criticizing Trump for having been “Russia’s defender and the beneficiary of Moscow’s efforts to influence the elections.”
Within these circles, Mattis—who has differed with Trump on Russia—is seen as a counterweight to any tendency of the incoming administration to move away from the anti-Russia policy.
The only real concern expressed by the Times is “whether General Mattis intends to roll back military personnel policy changes adopted during the Obama administration, including opening all combat roles to women, allowing openly gay troops to serve and accommodating transgender troops.” The liberal newspaper-of-record is far more concerned with the gender and sexual identity of American troops than the identity of the people they will be tasked with incinerating.
 
Killing Taliban was “fun”
The Times has distinguished itself as the most fervent advocate of US military intervention in the Syrian civil war, supposedly on the grounds that this is necessary to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe. The “human rights” crusaders are not put off by the nomination of a general who once boasted about how killing Taliban was “fun.”
What is particularly noteworthy is that all three editorials discuss the principle of civilian control of the military, which would be effectively gutted by the appointment of Mattis, and dismiss it.
The Mattis nomination is not an isolated case. Retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, former head of the Defence Intelligence Agency, is Trump’s choice as national security adviser, the top White House position coordinating military and foreign policy. Retired General David Petraeus, former US commander in Iraq and Afghanistan and former CIA director, is a leading contender for secretary of state. Retired General John F. Kelly is under discussion to head the Department of Homeland Security. And Admiral Michael Rogers, the current head of the National Security Agency, is likely to be named Director of National Intelligence, coordinating all 19 components of the vast US intelligence apparatus.
It is thus quite possible that military officers, active or retired, could end up holding every major national security position in the incoming Trump administration. This is not merely a demonstration of the militaristic character of Trump’s perspective. It must be understood, more fundamentally, as a consequence of the long-term militarization of American foreign policy and American society as a whole.
US imperialism has been at war for most of the past 25 years, and continuously since 2001. Barack Obama, when he leaves office next January 20, will be the first president in American history to have been a wartime commander-in-chief for an entire eight years in office. It is not an accident that under such conditions, the military has come to play such a decisive role in national-security policy.
— WSWS

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Israel’s far-right, settler parties strengthened by Trump victory

Jean Shaoul
 
THE election to the US presidency of Donald Trump has changed political relations within Israel, as elsewhere.
The elevation to the highest office in Israel’s paymaster of a fascistic and racist demagogue—whose white supremacist supporters were caught on video giving the Nazi salute—has strengthened Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu’s ultra-nationalist coalition partners and the settler movement. Both view a Trump presidency as an opportunity to further their Greater Israel project and to possibly sideline Netanyahu and his Likud party.
Netanyahu was one of the first overseas leaders to phone and congratulate Trump, calling him “a true friend of Israel.” Trump responded by inviting him to Washington at the “first opportunity.” Nevertheless, Netanyahu is concerned over Trump’s remarks on the Israel/Palestine conflict, which reflect the most extreme demands of Israel’s settler movement and prime minister’s political rival and leader of the Jewish Home Party, Naftali Bennett.
They could—if implemented—isolate Israel both politically and diplomatically, precipitate a civil war and destabilise the entire region.
Trump has said he will move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. If he does, he would be the first Western leader to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and Israel’s sovereignty over the entire city, including the Al-Aqsa mosque compound/Temple Mount. Israel annexed East Jerusalem immediately following its capture during the June 1967 war, and the religious settler movement has sought to open up the Al-Aqsa mosque site to Jewish prayers.
Moving the US embassy to Jerusalem would be a breach of international law that outlaws the annexation of territory captured in war, and make it impossible for a putative Palestinian state to maintain East Jerusalem as its capital. It would antagonise Jordan, which has ultimate guardianship over the Al-Aqsa mosque compound.
 
Abandoning a two-state solution
More fundamentally, it would be tantamount to a public declaration that the US has abandoned all pretensions of pursuing a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. This would sour relations with Washington’s increasingly unstable regional allies that publicly support a Palestinian state in order to appease their own domestic and highly restive audiences.
Trump’s Israel Advisory Committee published a statement just prior to the election stating that a two-state solution was impossible and that the Palestinians had rewarded terrorism and incited hatred against Israel and Jews.
It implied that Israel would have a green light to expand the settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, illegal under international law, and that a Trump administration would increase the military support the US gives Israel, over and above the recent agreement to provide $3.8 billion in military aid a year for 10 years.
The statement also promised to crack down forcefully on the Boycott Divest and Sanction (BDS) campaign against Israel and the European Union’s requirement that all Israeli exports from the West Bank be labelled as such so that they do not benefit from duty-free status like other Israeli goods. Trump has now nominated Nikki Haley as the UA ambassador to the United Nations. As South Carolina governor, she pioneered anti-BDS legislation and opposed Obama’s Iran deal.
Trump’s most likely picks for Secretary of State, Rudy Giuliani and John Bolton, have both been vocal opponents of a Palestinian state.
All of this makes nonsense of Trump’s egotistical suggestion that his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, might broker a mini-Palestinian state.
Bennett, a settler leader who holds the Education portfolio and calls for the annexation of 60 per cent of the West Bank designated Area C under the 1993 Oslo Accords, crowed, “The era of the Palestinian state is over.”
Yossi Dagan, head of a West Bank regional council, called for “an end to the construction freeze and even more.”
On November 10, the cabinet approved 7,000 new settlement homes in East Jerusalem that had been frozen for years because of Washington’s opposition, while a ministerial committee approved the introduction of the so-called “regularisation law”—despite opposition from Netanyahu who fears the Palestinians will use it to inflame international opinion against Israel. The law will retroactively legalise the outposts in the West Bank that contravene Israeli (as well as international) law, paving the way for legalising dozens of outposts in the West Bank.
 
Spectre of an Israeli state
Any moves to take over all or part of the West Bank would likely trigger the collapse of the Palestinian Authority, to whom Israel has subcontracted the burden of policing the Palestinians. This would raise the spectre of an Israeli state in which the Palestinians would soon form the majority, with few if any political rights. It would strip away the veneer of democracy in which Israel has sought to cover itself, and precipitate a possible civil war that could engulf the entire region.
Concerned that his coalition partners are bypassing him on the right and openly expounding their ultimate goal of effectively wiping out the Palestinians, Netanyahu ordered his ministers not to talk about Trump’s election victory. The incoming administration should be allowed “to formulate—together with us—its policy vis-à-vis Israel and the region through accepted and quiet channels, and not via interviews and statements,” he declared.
His defence minister Avigdor Lieberman of the ultra-national Yisrael Beiteinu party (Israel is our Home) later said that Trump’s team had sent an official message to the Israeli government asking Israel to refrain from making any statements about the day after Trump takes office and “act modestly.”
Later Netanyahu forbade his minister coalition partners from making “any contact with the incoming US administration, other than through the Prime Minister’s Office or the Israeli Embassy in Washington.” This was in response to attempts by Bennett, who had earlier said, “We have to say what we want first,” and other right-wing leaders to meet Trump’s team in New York.
While Netanyahu has long had close links with the Republican Party—to which he is far closer ideologically than to the Democratic Party and the Obama administration—these are with the neo-cons such as William Kristol, Elliott Abrams, Bolton and former CIA director James Woolsey. In 2012, Netanyahu famously supported the Republican candidate Mitt Romney, incurring Obama’s wrath for interfering in American politics. It was one of a number of conflicts that have soured US-Israeli relations over recent years.
 
The coterie around Trump
While the largest contributor to the Trump election campaign was US billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who also funds Israel Today, a free newspaper that functions as Netanyahu’s personal mouthpiece, the coterie around Trump are far closer to settler leader Bennett than Netanyahu—whose relations with Trump have not always been smooth. Last December, Trump was forced to cancel his plans to visit Israel after Netanyahu felt obliged to speak out against some of Trump’s more embarrassing Islamophobic remarks—including his proposal that should he become president he would ban Muslims from entering the US until its internal security was “sorted out.”
Netanyahu’s fears about the impact of a Trump administration go far beyond the Palestinian issue to the wider Middle East, not least because Trump’s utterances on foreign policy have been so erratic and contradictory.
But crucially, according to the Israeli daily Ha’aretz, the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s initial assessment of Trump’s foreign policy in the Middle East asserts that Trump will in fact reduce US involvement in the region. This would adversely affect the regional balance of power and Israel’s position, while strengthening that of Russia, Iran and Turkey.
Bruce Maddy-Weitzman, a specialist on Middle East politics at Tel Aviv University’s Dayan Centre, told the Jerusalem Post, “The US has a role to play in maintaining a balance of power in which Israel can thrive and survive. Without that balance, it is [the Middle East] a more dangerous region.”
—-WSWS

Comment

Jean Shaoul
 
THE election to the US presidency of Donald Trump has changed political relations within Israel, as elsewhere.
The elevation to the highest office in Israel’s paymaster of a fascistic and racist demagogue—whose white supremacist supporters were caught on video giving the Nazi salute—has strengthened Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu’s ultra-nationalist coalition partners and the settler movement. Both view a Trump presidency as an opportunity to further their Greater Israel project and to possibly sideline Netanyahu and his Likud party.
Netanyahu was one of the first overseas leaders to phone and congratulate Trump, calling him “a true friend of Israel.” Trump responded by inviting him to Washington at the “first opportunity.” Nevertheless, Netanyahu is concerned over Trump’s remarks on the Israel/Palestine conflict, which reflect the most extreme demands of Israel’s settler movement and prime minister’s political rival and leader of the Jewish Home Party, Naftali Bennett.
They could—if implemented—isolate Israel both politically and diplomatically, precipitate a civil war and destabilise the entire region.
Trump has said he will move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. If he does, he would be the first Western leader to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and Israel’s sovereignty over the entire city, including the Al-Aqsa mosque compound/Temple Mount. Israel annexed East Jerusalem immediately following its capture during the June 1967 war, and the religious settler movement has sought to open up the Al-Aqsa mosque site to Jewish prayers.
Moving the US embassy to Jerusalem would be a breach of international law that outlaws the annexation of territory captured in war, and make it impossible for a putative Palestinian state to maintain East Jerusalem as its capital. It would antagonise Jordan, which has ultimate guardianship over the Al-Aqsa mosque compound.
 
Abandoning a two-state solution
More fundamentally, it would be tantamount to a public declaration that the US has abandoned all pretensions of pursuing a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. This would sour relations with Washington’s increasingly unstable regional allies that publicly support a Palestinian state in order to appease their own domestic and highly restive audiences.
Trump’s Israel Advisory Committee published a statement just prior to the election stating that a two-state solution was impossible and that the Palestinians had rewarded terrorism and incited hatred against Israel and Jews.
It implied that Israel would have a green light to expand the settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, illegal under international law, and that a Trump administration would increase the military support the US gives Israel, over and above the recent agreement to provide $3.8 billion in military aid a year for 10 years.
The statement also promised to crack down forcefully on the Boycott Divest and Sanction (BDS) campaign against Israel and the European Union’s requirement that all Israeli exports from the West Bank be labelled as such so that they do not benefit from duty-free status like other Israeli goods. Trump has now nominated Nikki Haley as the UA ambassador to the United Nations. As South Carolina governor, she pioneered anti-BDS legislation and opposed Obama’s Iran deal.
Trump’s most likely picks for Secretary of State, Rudy Giuliani and John Bolton, have both been vocal opponents of a Palestinian state.
All of this makes nonsense of Trump’s egotistical suggestion that his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, might broker a mini-Palestinian state.
Bennett, a settler leader who holds the Education portfolio and calls for the annexation of 60 per cent of the West Bank designated Area C under the 1993 Oslo Accords, crowed, “The era of the Palestinian state is over.”
Yossi Dagan, head of a West Bank regional council, called for “an end to the construction freeze and even more.”
On November 10, the cabinet approved 7,000 new settlement homes in East Jerusalem that had been frozen for years because of Washington’s opposition, while a ministerial committee approved the introduction of the so-called “regularisation law”—despite opposition from Netanyahu who fears the Palestinians will use it to inflame international opinion against Israel. The law will retroactively legalise the outposts in the West Bank that contravene Israeli (as well as international) law, paving the way for legalising dozens of outposts in the West Bank.
 
Spectre of an Israeli state
Any moves to take over all or part of the West Bank would likely trigger the collapse of the Palestinian Authority, to whom Israel has subcontracted the burden of policing the Palestinians. This would raise the spectre of an Israeli state in which the Palestinians would soon form the majority, with few if any political rights. It would strip away the veneer of democracy in which Israel has sought to cover itself, and precipitate a possible civil war that could engulf the entire region.
Concerned that his coalition partners are bypassing him on the right and openly expounding their ultimate goal of effectively wiping out the Palestinians, Netanyahu ordered his ministers not to talk about Trump’s election victory. The incoming administration should be allowed “to formulate—together with us—its policy vis-à-vis Israel and the region through accepted and quiet channels, and not via interviews and statements,” he declared.
His defence minister Avigdor Lieberman of the ultra-national Yisrael Beiteinu party (Israel is our Home) later said that Trump’s team had sent an official message to the Israeli government asking Israel to refrain from making any statements about the day after Trump takes office and “act modestly.”
Later Netanyahu forbade his minister coalition partners from making “any contact with the incoming US administration, other than through the Prime Minister’s Office or the Israeli Embassy in Washington.” This was in response to attempts by Bennett, who had earlier said, “We have to say what we want first,” and other right-wing leaders to meet Trump’s team in New York.
While Netanyahu has long had close links with the Republican Party—to which he is far closer ideologically than to the Democratic Party and the Obama administration—these are with the neo-cons such as William Kristol, Elliott Abrams, Bolton and former CIA director James Woolsey. In 2012, Netanyahu famously supported the Republican candidate Mitt Romney, incurring Obama’s wrath for interfering in American politics. It was one of a number of conflicts that have soured US-Israeli relations over recent years.
 
The coterie around Trump
While the largest contributor to the Trump election campaign was US billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who also funds Israel Today, a free newspaper that functions as Netanyahu’s personal mouthpiece, the coterie around Trump are far closer to settler leader Bennett than Netanyahu—whose relations with Trump have not always been smooth. Last December, Trump was forced to cancel his plans to visit Israel after Netanyahu felt obliged to speak out against some of Trump’s more embarrassing Islamophobic remarks—including his proposal that should he become president he would ban Muslims from entering the US until its internal security was “sorted out.”
Netanyahu’s fears about the impact of a Trump administration go far beyond the Palestinian issue to the wider Middle East, not least because Trump’s utterances on foreign policy have been so erratic and contradictory.
But crucially, according to the Israeli daily Ha’aretz, the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s initial assessment of Trump’s foreign policy in the Middle East asserts that Trump will in fact reduce US involvement in the region. This would adversely affect the regional balance of power and Israel’s position, while strengthening that of Russia, Iran and Turkey.
Bruce Maddy-Weitzman, a specialist on Middle East politics at Tel Aviv University’s Dayan Centre, told the Jerusalem Post, “The US has a role to play in maintaining a balance of power in which Israel can thrive and survive. Without that balance, it is [the Middle East] a more dangerous region.”
—-WSWS

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