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The politics of ‘big mistakes!’

Aug 30,2018 - Last updated at Aug 30,2018

When US President Donald Trump was still a presidential candidate and almost totally unknown to many of us in this part of the world, I had a discussion about him with an American friend of mine.

“Do you think he has a chance of winning?” I asked in the middle of the conversation. “I sure hope not,” he answered. “Man, this would really be bad news,” he added. To the question of what he dreaded most about Donald Trump winning, he answered: “He could make big mistakes.”

These were his exact words, which I distinctly remember.  Little did I know then how prophetic these words would turn out to be. Worse, little did I know that our part of the world would be at the receiving end of so many of these mistakes.

We have, so far, experienced several of these, many of whose negative implications are snowballing.

One is the escalation of tension in the region by rolling back the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran to square one, without any viable alternative in the offing.

Another is adopting an incoherent position regarding peacemaking in Syria, thus enabling violence to continue and keeping millions of Syrian refugees inside and outside the country homeless and in a vulnerable state.

A third is zero positive contribution to ending the bloody conflict in Yemen.

A fourth is an untimely row with Turkey, which contributes to an overall state of tension and insecurity in the region.

At the Palestinian-Israeli level, the big mistakes have been not only a lot more impactful and worrying, but also recklessly and arrogantly unprecedented: Callously and insensitively relocating the American embassy to Jerusalem, causing a great deal of anger and frustration in Palestine and the region; unilaterally, and against the will of the world and all rules of peacemaking, declaring Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, instead of leaving this crucial matter of final-status negotiations; allowing Israel, like no administration has done before, to have a free hand in expanding illegal housing units, and giving it licence to using all types of provocation and violence against Palestinians without one single word of admonition or even advice to the opposite; standing incredibly reticent toward Israel's augmentation and implementation of its apartheid policies; pressuring Palestinians in a most blunt and arrogant manner through cutting aid, including UNRWA’s vital stipend for teachers and schoolchildren; threatening to diminish or even abolish the Palestinian right of return; entrusting the matter of "peacemaking" in Palestine to American hardline Zionists, who can never be honest brokers; being not only more biased toward Israel than all previous American administrations, but siding with the Netanyahu government on nearly issues; and so on and so forth.

Each of these failings or mistakes, at both the regional and Palestinian-Israeli level, is serious and substantial enough to keep Palestine and the region in turmoil for decades, perhaps even for another century.

Which begs the million-dollar question: If what we have seen so far bodes so ill, what will the "deal of the century" be like?

Another "big" mistake??!

We surely hope not, though we have no indicators pointing in a positive direction.

So far, the Trump administration has proven my American friend 100 per cent right in characterising its policies as policies of big mistakes. 

Is it capable of learning from these mistakes, altering its approach and starting to do, if not what is right, at least what is reasonably fair?

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Comments

TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE AND YOUR AMERICAN FRIENDS TOLD YOU SO. AT THE SAME TIME, I DO THANK YOU FOR HAVING THE COURAGE TO SUPRESS YOUR RECALL BIAS WHICH YOU DID BY TRUELY REMEMBERING THAT YO WERE WARNED OF WHAT TO EXPECT. IRONICALLY, MOST IF NOT THE ENTIRE ARAB WORLD AND THEIR LEADERS DID NOT WANT A DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENT AND NEVER
LIKED PRESIDENT OBAMA BECAUSE THEY REGARDED HIM AS COOL HEADED AND WEAK. IN ADDITION TO THIS, THE REGION SUPPORTED MR TRUMP AGAINST MRS CLINTON AND OVER 80% OF ARAB AMERICANS VOTED FOR THE TRUMP'S PRESIDENCY. NOW THAT YOU GOT YOUR MAN, PLEASE PLAY IT COOL AND LIVE WITH IT. YOU ARE GETTING EVERY THING THAT THE REGION WANTED THAT OBAMA DID NOT DELIVER TO MAKE THE ARAB WORLD HAPPY.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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