[September 17, 2020] Those who study statesmanship and the experienced leadership know how difficult it is to make progress on old and emotionally-laden political issues. Two days ago, the UAE, Bahrain, and Israel signed a peace deal with one another. Casual observers will not understand the significance of or difficulty in this achievement, and that is unfortunate.
Those who study leadership closely understand better than most of the difficulty of getting anything of significance accomplished in large, complex organizations. Independent countries are the pinnacle of a complex organization on steroids. For those reasons and with my experience in the Middle East, I am surprised at the accomplishments that President Trump’s team has successfully concluded.
Peace in the Middle East has been unequivocally one of the priorities of every U.S. Presidents’ administration for the last 50 years. While much has been done to bring peace to the region, little has worked. True, the Middle East has changed in the previous half-century, but a shifting dynamic is always more challenging to work through successfully. In previous decades, including my time with the U.S. military and State Department, significant efforts have been made to move from war to peace.
“Hearing Arab officials refer to Israel and Prime Minister Netanyahu in friendly terms before a worldwide audience is mind-boggling.” – Scott Johnson, PowerLineBlog
Here are a few observations that made some of this success possible:
- The U.S. unquestionably backs its allies, and by doing so, gives them confidence in U.S. continued support. S. President Trump has been clear about and open with his support of Israel and cooperating Middle East countries.
- Trade deals have been negotiated that are good commercially and politically for both the U.S. and its allies.
- The U.S. did not make the Palestinian “problem” part of the deal. The Palestinians have historically been a fly in the ointment, so to speak, that collapsed previous agreements.
- Part of the peace package is an increase in commerce, trade, technology sharing, and cooperation by the militaries of each country.
- The U.S. rejected the nuclear deal with Iran (Shia), increased sanctions on them, and stayed friendly with other mostly Sunni Arab countries. This placed Iran in a weak position to disrupt the region with its on-going terror campaign.
- President Trump lived up to the hype about him being a “deal maker.”
It is time to think back to just a few months ago when the media reported that Trump was getting us into a war in the Middle East. It shows how wrong our media has been regarding the strength of the United States and the need for peace in a region that has been rife with conflict for at least two millennia.