Tag Archives: President-elect Trump


Blog 332 January 16, 2017


On this Wednesday, Jan. 18, I begin a new

radio broadcast over the internet AND

there’s been a change of address:

The correct one is




     Last week we considered the current struggle in Israel as Obama leaves and Trump enters. Big changes are still in the works!

One that has not been widely reported in US media is that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is being questioned by Israeli police over allegations of corruption. Netanyahu denied what he called “baseless” reports of receiving gifts from outsiders. Israel’s Channel 2 TV reported he was given and accepted “favors” from businessmen. Moreover, they reported a second investigation involving his family. Longtime friend of Netanyahu, billionaire Ronald Lauder was reportedly involved. Australian billionaire James Packer supposedly gave free trips and gifts to Netanyahu’s son, Yair.

Is this possible? Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert went to jail for 19 months for the same offense. Olmert became prime minister when Sharon was felled by a stroke. Could it happen again?

As the American inauguration unfolds, new media are swamped with stories of confirmation hearings and what Trump said that contradicts all predecessors. However, the shock waves have not settled from the United Nation’s Security Council resolution (passed 14 to 0) condemning Israel’s continued expansion of settlements into what has been considered Palestinian territory.

As previously noted, journalist and contributor to USA Today, David A. Andelman has raised serious questions about the road Israel is now on that could also have serious consequences for the USA. Should Israel abandon a two-state solution to the Palestinian crisis, they would have on their hands an increasingly unruly and oppressed majority and the world would be on the Palestinian’s side.

South Africa can certainly tell them what happens when worldwide consumer boycotts and national sanctions are imposed. Like the unsinkable Titanic, the boat can be overturned. Right now momentum is pushing in that direction. Many Israeli’s fear that Netanyahu’s right-wing government is taking too big a gamble.

The glaring problem is that a one-state solution that could produce a globally blacklisted Israel would be toxic to the entire Middle East. And who might step into the leadership role once occupied by the United States? Take a look at Obama’s failed policies in Syria. Russia.

In 1984, Ronald Reagan dined with Rabbi Morris Friedman, the father of the next ambassador to Israel. Neither Rabbit Friedman or President Reagan were seduced by the idea of a one-state solution. Whether president-elect Trump now recognizes it or not, the one-state solution would probably be a disaster in many directions. Unfortunately, Trump is better at talking than listening.

We shall see what is ahead. Keep your set-belt fastened!

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Blog 328 December 5, 2016


            During the last two blogs, I’ve been evaluating attitudes and what is possibly ahead with the election of Donald Trump as the president-elect. With his hostility toward Alex Baldwin’s comic portrayals on Saturday Night Live, Trump appears to be as thin-skinned as projected earlier. However, the impact of changing administrations on the world is no laughing matter.

Obviously, Syria, Egypt, Russia, China, as well as Iran are considering the same questions. Iran has certainly taken Trump’s campaign rhetoric seriously. Within hours of his acceptance of the position, Iran demanded that the U.S. maintain what had been negotiated. The nuclear issue has to be at the top of the list in worries and considerations.

One of the largest open military secrets in the world is Israel’s nuclear weapons program. Even in the late ‘60s, the Pentagon was more than a little agitated about might be ahead. The National Security Archive at George Washington University recently released documents concerning the tension within the Nixon administration over Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons. A memo was sent to Melvin Laird (then Secretary of Defense) from Pentagon officials and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger warning Israel’s nuclear capacity could destabilize the region. It is still not clear why President Nixon did not follow these advisers.

In this past election, the Republican Party has again revised the script. In their platform no mention was made of a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians. They declared Israel was not occupying Judea and Samaria. Trump has already declared he would move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. Trump appears willing to end any US conflicts with Israel over the Iran nuclear deal and how West Bank settlements should be handled.

A new start indeed!

What can the public expect? First, Trump will have far more freedom to do as he pleases on these issues with a Republican controlled House and Senate. He holds all the cards. Second, a right-wing government in America will be able to function more in accord with a right-wing government in Israel. Expect open hostility to end. Third, Palestinian diplomatic warfare against Israel will be stymied. Israel is clearly in the driver’s seat again. Possibly, the threat from Iran may be decreased (note the word possibly). The hot rhetoric always continues for the home-town crowd, but genuine actions probably will be on the way down.

The Israeli left-wing has consistently declared that the state’s rule in the West Bank is a threat to the country’s future. Trump’s presidency will be a blow to this position within Israel. Israel won’t be backing off.

And Israel’s secret (which everybody knows) nuclear program will continue. THE BOMB remains a looming threat. Hmm. Interesting.

Stay tuned.

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BLOG 327 November 21, 2016


            No matter where we look, the world is turning upside down. Hundreds of thousands gathered in downtown Seoul, South Korea to demand the resignation of President Park Geun-hye. The president of the Philippines wants the American military out of the country, suggesting he is looking to China for a new relationship. Germany’s Angela Merkel is the last powerful defender of Europe and the Trans-Atlantic alliance. Britain is pulling out and Obama is gone. With a resurgent Russia at her back, Angela Merkel is tired and struggling. The world is fast becoming a different place. Change is on the way.

Reports say that even President-elect Trump has changed. The brash, rudeness has given way to a more restrained soberness. Last week, we considered changes evolving after the Presidential election. Here’s some more.

Egypt appears to be smiling. El-Sissi said Trump would make a strong leader and Trump believed in a new “good chemistry” with Egypt. Following the military takeover of the government and the jailing of elected president Mohammed Morsi, relations with Egypt went into a tailspin. For a period of time, the Obama administration even suspended aid. A definite chill set in between el-Sissi and Obama. Egypt’s pro-government backed media railed against Obama. Even going so far as to accuse Washington of backing the Muslim Brotherhood. (which was nonsense) Trump appears to be attempting to ease the tension.

Predictions are that Trump will be less concerned over human rights issues. He will probably give el-Sissi political support as the battles with ISIS inspired and led forces continue in Sinai and Libya. A pro-el-Sissi TV host predicted a major shift in Egyptian-American relations under Trump.

As far as ISIS goes, during the political campaign, Trump repeatedly pledged to intensify the war both in Iraq and Syria. He set crushing the Muslim extremists as his main priority. Americans generally applauded this stance. However, the jury is still out on how this effect complex alliances in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia always smiles while slipping money under the table to the extremists. One of the yet-to-be resolved twists in this situation is Trump’s statements that the rebel may be worse than President Bashar Assad, indicating defeating ISIS may be more important to him than getting rid of Assad.

Behind these issues is the question of Trump’s new approach to Russia. Giving the impression that he and Putin might become pals, does jar the picture considerably and raises important questions. Should Trump strike a deal with Putin at a cost to the rebels, the Middle East would be plunged into a new situation.

As Americans generally do, the new president-elect is given time to get his cabinet in order. Because Trump has offered little insight into a comprehensive Middle East policy or perspective on what comes next after the Syrian Civil War, one cannot be sure how all the cards will be played out.

At this point, we’re not even sure what’s being dealt at many major points. Don’t panic, but keep your cards close to your chest.

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Filed under America, Arabs, middle east, Russia


BLOG 326 November 14, 2016


            The week before the election I examined the Israeli perspective on both Trump and Clinton. Now the votes are in. What’s ahead?

Because Trump was often vague in the Fall Campaign, Israel believed he did not have a coherent foreign policy. It now appears that to some extent he didn’t want to fully expose his positions during the Fall. Of course, the campaign was highly personality oriented, and he changed positions spontaneously, bouncing back and forth. However, some positions were clear.

During the last days of the campaign, President-elect Trump clearly stated that he intended to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. Since 1948, no president has taken this position that would seriously undermine Palestinian claims to the eastern part of the city. Trump’s advisors are much closer to Israel’s hard-line right wing than the Obama administration ever was. As has been observed a number of times in the past, Obama not only had serious tension with Netanyahu but was seen negatively throughout Israel. Moving the embassy would be a major change for both nations.

At this time, Trump’s closest advisors are certainly not pro-Palestinians. Trump’s son-in-law is from the Jewish Krushner family. It has been reported that just prior to the election Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared prayed at the tomb of Menachem Sneerson of blessed memory, the former leader of the Labvicher Hassidic movment. Newt Gingrich has called the Palestinians an “invented” people. Rudy Guiliani recommended abandoning the idea of a Palestinian state as part of a peace accord. The Republican platform did not mention Palestinian statehood. In Netanyhua’s cabinet, the education minister said this amounts to an opportunity to drop the Palestinian statehood idea.

Such a modification would be change indeed!

Some of the foregoing are speculation, but it is a clear indication that major adjustments are coming. Certainly, Trump’s rhetoric focused on fighting Islamic militants. Many of his pronouncements during the campaign were opposed to Islam.

At this point, the Palestinians are officially taking a wait-and-see attitude. Foreign Minister Riad Malki said they didn’t know yet what Trump’s policies will be but hope he will push for a two-state solution.

At this time no one can speak dogmatically about what is ahead because during the campaign Trump repeated outright contradictory positions on the Middle East. At this time, Israelis are probably more optimistic than they were a few weeks ago. The Palestinians have to be concerned.

More to come. Stay tuned.

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