Foreign Policy

Trump Made the Jerusalem Decision on a Whim

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and begin the long process of relocating the American embassy was opposed by the most important members of Trump's cabinet including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis, but their advice was nothing in the face of Trump's whimsy.

Officials who spoke to the Washington Post say he made the decision for purely rhetorical reasons and seemed to rely on advice from third parties and his son-in-law Jared Kushner.

“It’s insane. We’re all resistant,” said one Trump confidant who recently spoke to the president about it. “He doesn’t realize what all he could trigger by doing this.” [...]

Several advisers said he did not seem to have a full understanding of the issue and instead appeared to be focused on “seeming pro-Israel,” in the words of one, and “making a deal,” in the words of another.

Once Trump indicated 10 days ago that he would not sign a second waiver, national security adviser H.R. McMaster began putting together options that officials assessed would result in the least damage.

"The least damage."

Kushner's reported involvement in the decision raises many questions, like just how big of a moron is he?

Kushner was ostensibly responsible for leading peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians, but Kushner supported Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The obvious conclusion is that Kushner has no fucking idea what he's doing, but I suppose it's also possible Kushner knew Trump's decision would provoke a violent reaction (how could he not know that?) and the reaction will be used as a justification to abandon what little was left of the peace process.

I don't know if America's standing in the world will ever recover from Trump. It increasingly appears that President Obama's presence was merely a positive blip in a downward trend that began long ago. How can we ever truly recover if incoherent American voters threaten to rewrite the rules every 4 to 8 years by electing belligerent nincompoops? Rather than ask how other nations can trust America, maybe we should ask how other nations can trust American voters.

If we're going to recover, we're probably going to need President Obama's help. He's out there right now doing everything he can to stop the bleeding.

  • Badgerite

    “Kushner was ostensibly responsible for leading peace talks between Israelis and the Palestinians..”
    Uh huh. The Palestinians have left town. They were called back from their embassy in the US because of this decision.
    So. What talks?

    • ninjaf

      Hey, the Saudis love him! :-/

      • Badgerite

        Hmmmm.

  • muselet

    Charlie Pierce on Tuesday:

    The president* has decided to play with matches again. There are very few things that would touch off the situation in the Middle East. Moving the American embassy to Jerusalem, thereby implicitly acknowledging the, ahem, controversial notion that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, is almost universally recognized as being one of these. So, the president* has found a lovely pool of shiny gasoline into which he can’t resist tossing a match—or a Tiki torch, for all that.

    Nothing to add, really.

    –alopecia

  • Georgie

    Pretty sure he was smelling burnt toast just before this idea struck his tiny, tiny brain mass.

  • I remember when people said “oh the adults in the cabinet will control him.” It was stupid then and it’s a stupid conclusion now that is completely contradicted by the facts in the ground

    I was in Israel ten years ago. It seemed every Israeli I spoke to believed a breakthrough in the peace process was right around the corner and they would have lasting peace within two years. So much for that. If an Arab ever trusts the US again I’ll start believing in miracles.

  • Yep, I knew that Trump made this decision the same way he makes EVERY GODDAMN DECISION. He does whatever the fuck he wants to, with bonus points if it upsets something Obama did. He has NO understanding of any issues and NO concerns with how it will impact anyone but his own FUCKING self.

    (I’m a little pissed.)