Could anyone have predicted the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election? Some managed to — those who doubted the accuracy of the polling samples.
In fact, it is doubtful that credible samples can be formulated, due to the fluctuating social, economic, political, demographic and ethnic environments in the 435 congressional districts, 50 states and the many counties in the United States.
The outcome of the elections for the White House, as well as the 34 Senate seats, 435 House seats, 12 governorships and 86 of the 99 state legislative chambers, spotlights the reasserted profile of America’s conservative flyover country, with its Joe Sixpacks, blue-dog Democrats, homeland security hawks and evangelical constituency, which was not significantly registered in prior election cycles.
The election was a victory of the anti-establishment and politically incorrect folks over the politically correct media, academia, and political, business and foreign policy establishments.
How will Donald Trump’s victory impact U.S.-Israel relations?
Like all Western democracies and other U.S. allies, Israel is mostly concerned with the U.S. posture of deterrence, which has played a critical role in restraining global radicalism and reassuring free societies. However, the U.S. power projection has been significantly eroded during President Barack Obama’s administration, generating tailwinds for rogue regimes and headwinds for America’s allies, as has been strikingly demonstrated in the Persian Gulf and the Middle East at large. It has fueled global turbulence, instability and Islamic terrorism, which is asserting itself in Europe and increasingly on the U.S. mainland.
The Trump presidency is expected to reboot the U.S. posture of deterrence by reversing the recent cuts in the U.S. defense budget and the size of the U.S. armed forces — in the face of intensifying terrorism, conventional and nuclear threats to the U.S. and its allies — and replenishing the rapidly depleted and aging U.S. military stockpiles; compensating for the declining purchase power of the U.S. dollar; restoring the size of the armed forces, and reassessing the July 2015 agreement with Iran. This last has caused all pro-U.S. Arab countries to downgrade their confidence in the U.S. posture of deterrence and seek closer ties with Russia.
The track records of President-elect Trump, Vice President-elect Mike Pence and their foreign policy and national security advisers suggest that U.S.-Israel relations are expected to experience less tension and substantial enhancement, based on shared Judeo-Christian values of liberty and justice, as well as long- and short-term mutual interests and threats, and Israel’s unique and increasing contributions to U.S. commercial and defense industries and to U.S. scientific, technological, and agricultural concerns.
Trump and Pence, and most of their advisers on U.S.-Israel relations and foreign policy, are likely to act based on the following 10 understandings:
1. Jewish sovereignty over the land of Israel is a derivative of a unique historical right, enshrined by the early Pilgrims and the U.S. Founding Fathers, rather than compensation for the Holocaust.
2. Israel is an effective, unconditional geostrategic ally of the U.S. that extends America’s strategic reach, while employing its own — not American — soldiers, within the framework of a win-win U.S.-Israel relationship.
3. The scope of U.S. geostrategic interests, and therefore U.S.-Israel relations, dramatically transcends the Palestinian issue.
4. Irrespective of the Arab talk, but based on the Arab walk, the Palestinian issue is not a core cause of Middle East turbulence, nor a centerpiece of Arab policymaking, nor a trigger of anti-U.S. Islamic terrorism, nor the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
5. Based on the intra-Arab Palestinian track record — stabbing the backs of their Arab hosts — as well as the relationships between the Palestinian Authority and anti-U.S. regimes and terror organizations, anti-U.S. incitement on the Palestinian street, Palestinian hate-education, and the strategic implications of raging anti-U.S. Arab sentiment, a Palestinian state would be a strategic liability, undermining regional stability and vital U.S. interests in the Middle East.
6. The Trump team will probably minimize U.S. involvement in the mediation and negotiation process on the Palestinian issue. The team is aware that the U.S. has introduced numerous Israel-Arab peace initiatives, none of which succeeded. U.S. involvement has always radicalized Arab expectations and undermined prospects for peace by putting further pressure on Israel.
The only two successful peace initiatives, Israel-Egypt and Israel-Jordan, were initiated and directly negotiated by the parties involved.
7. The Trump-Pence team will not consider Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria to be an obstacle to peace nor a violation of international law.
8. The Trump-Pence team will recognize that the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria are critically required for Israel’s existence. This was demonstrated back in the days of President Lyndon Johnson, who was presented with a map by then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Earle Wheeler and was told that “the minimum requirements for Israel’s defense include most of the West Bank.”
9. The Trump-Pence team is aware that Jerusalem is the ancient capital of the Jewish state, not an international city, and therefore should be the site of the U.S. Embassy in Israel. The refusal to relocate the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem has undermined the U.S. posture of deterrence, and has strayed from the legacy of the U.S. Founding Fathers, who considered Jerusalem a cornerstone of their moral and cultural worldview, as reflected by the 18 Jerusalems and 32 Salems (the original biblical name of Jerusalem) on the U.S. map.
10. Trump’s anti-establishment worldview is also targeting the State Department, which has been systematically wrong on Middle East issues, including its 1948 recommendation not to recognize the establishment of Israel, and its current insistence that Jerusalem is an international city. Foggy Bottom will not lead, but will follow, the Middle East policy of the Trump administration, which will not subordinate U.S. action to multilateralism and the United Nations.
The new administration’s perspective on U.S.-Israel relations is consistent with that of the vast majority of the U.S. constituency and the U.S. House and Senate, creating fertile ground for a substantial expansion of mutually beneficial cooperation through congressional and executive initiatives. This provides a unique platform for the dramatic enhancement of U.S.-Israel cooperation in the face of mutual challenges and threats, bolstering the economies and the national and homeland security situations of both countries, aiding U.S. allies, and undermining U.S. foes,