Opinion

The Middle East Is Listening to America

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Posted: Aug 18, 2020 12:01 AM
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The Middle East Is Listening to America

Source: Abir Sultan /Pool photo via AP

Editor's Note: This piece was coauthored by Bruce Abramson.

It’s hard to miss the stakes for America in November’s election. President Trump and the GOP base inhabit a starkly different world than do Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and progressive Democrats.  That difference transcends mere policy debate; America’s political parties operate on different moral planes.

In no foreign context is that moral divergence clearer than the Middle East.  Two recent events illuminate the gap:  The Biden-led 2020 Democrat Platform, and the UAE/Israel pact that President Trump brokered.  The election will determine whether the Middle East continues on the path towards stability and prosperity that President Trump has set or returns to the brutal carnage President Obama helped facilitate.

The Democrats’ platform reflects Joe Biden’s central role in shaping Obama Administration foreign policy.  In its section on the Middle East, the 2020 platform reiterates the Obama worldview, takes pride in Obama’s achievements, and promises to build upon them. 

Under this view, the 1948 establishment of a Jewish State on Arab land was a historic error whose reverberations have destabilized the region ever since. Nevertheless, as unjust as it may have been, it can no longer be undone.  What can be undone, however, is Israel’s defensive victory in 1967 establishing Israeli control of, and permitting Jewish life and prayer in, territories east of the 1949 Armistice “Green Line.”  Though perhaps understandable given the terrorism, brutality, antisemitism, and genocidal tendencies governing all Palestinian organizations, Israel’s resistance to an independent State of Palestine remains unconscionable.  In its waning days, the Obama/Biden team enshrined these beliefs in UNSC Resolution 2334, adding fuel to the fire of resurgent antisemitism. The 2020 Platform reiterates them.  

While running America’s most anti-Israel Administration, Obama and Biden were also the most anti-Arab American leaders since WWII.  They replaced Libya’s stable dictatorship with anarchy, abandoned a longstanding pro-American authoritarian to destabilize Egypt, ignored Syrian genocide before handing that country to Russia, sat idly while ISIS spawned its bloody Caliphate, and alienated the traditionally US-aligned Gulf States.  The 2020 platform contains an explicit call to distance the U.S. from the Gulf Arabs once again.

These actions were all ideological.  Progressives like Obama and Biden embrace the authenticity of supremacist, misogynistic, antisemitic, anti-Christian, genocidal Islamist movements.  They disapprove only of those Islamists practicing indiscriminate terror and graphic brutality.  They seek to partner with articulate, disciplined Islamists—notably the (Sunni) Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and the (Shiite) Islamic Republic of Iran.  

Obama and Biden thus cheered when the MB’s Mohammad Morsi took control of Egypt, remained neutral between Hamas terrorists and Israeli civilians, and elevated the MB-aligned governments of Turkey and Qatar.  They proudly subverted American interests to normalize Iran as a nuclear threshold state—ignoring that regime’s central role in international terrorism, the drug trade, genocide promotion, and destabilizing neighboring countries.  Biden and the 2020 platform promise to revive that Iran deal.

Arrayed against these disasters, President Trump jettisoned the long-held views of Middle East “experts” who had failed previous Administrations—Republican and Democrat alike.  Instead, he employed realism, common sense, American interests and values, and clear moral thinking.  The results have been remarkable.

Trump visited Riyadh to rebuild America’s longstanding alliance with the Gulf.  There, he called upon the collected Arab heads of state to embrace their own national interests and “drive out” the Islamists in their midst.  He then acted to eliminate ISIS as a territorial power.

He showed Israel the warmth it’s earned as a steadfast ally and a bastion of American values.  He recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Israeli annexation of the Golan, and the legality of Jewish life beyond the Green Line.  He proposed new, compassionate solutions to refugee resettlement.  He issued a plan, a timetable, and an unprecedented resource package to encourage Palestinian groups to transition from armed terror organizations to productive, constructive, peace-loving people worthy of self-governance.  Most importantly, he announced that the U.S. would no longer allow genocidal authoritarians and terrorists to hold regional development hostage.  

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In short, President Trump built an entirely new diplomatic framework for the Middle East.  Because he grounded it in reality, history, justice, morality, and human rights, it began to bear fruit almost immediately.  Roughly seven months after unveiling its details, the UAE and Israel reached their historic agreement.  

The Trump framework enabled the UAE to ask Israel to suspend its rightful claims to full sovereignty over Jewish villages in Judea and Samaria. Because the Trump plan contained a clear timetable, Israel could agree.  The UAE thus bought the Palestinian Authority additional—not infinite—time to embrace the Trump Plan and reform its behavior.  Bahrain, Oman, and Saudi Arabia appear poised to follow the UAE’s lead.

These positive developments, however, depend upon November’s election. A Biden victory will empower Iran, the MB, anarchy, and terror.  A Trump victory will strengthen the resolve of those eager to build a new Middle East of strong, sovereign, prosperous nations.

America will decide—but the Middle East is listening.

Jeff Ballabon, CEO of B2 Strategic, is a political advisor, media consultant, and former CBS executive.

Bruce Abramson, Ph.D., J.D., is a Senior Fellow and Director at ACEK and a partner at JBB&A Strategies, LLC.