My readers expect the truth from me and I will write only the truth and the whole truth. Too bad for those who want propaganda.
I never understand how newspapers can ask experts things like the above and not my opinion, but it happens regularly. Here’s my answer anyway.
I will use two stories to illustrate what I think Trump did here.
One day, my high school asked a Dutch chess grandmaster to come to play a simultaneous match against the students. I was a young lad who knew the rules of chess and I signed up, not inhibited by too much knowledge of the game. At my board, he stared the longest before making a move. I’m sure he had never seen anything like it. Because I didn’t know theory (chess history), every move I made must have been a long-term disastrous one. He won in twelve moves or so but, he really had to think about it.
That was Trump’s peace process. Total amateurs came up with ‘new’ moves that puzzled the specialists. The field, stuck for a century, moved. The successes were hailed, the disasters hidden. Yes, a few counties moved from a cold peace to a more-or-less warm peace with Israel, helped by big hand-outs. But Trump reopened the door to a Palestinian State on the West Bank, Gaza II, and tried to whitewash pariah Saudi Arabia.
Let’s say there’s this patient and no doctor understands what’s wrong with him. Comes team Trump saying: Operation, we’ll cut him open completely. And, low-and-behold, they find a few things his doctors hadn’t known. How did Trump know? He didn’t. He cut and cut until there was nothing to cut anymore. They sew up the guy, he survived, and they start treatments. Meanwhile, the operation scars start playing up. Let’s not talk about it.
Team Trump behaved like a bull in a china shop. ‘Ignoring convention,’ they called it. Not inhibited by too much knowledge or understanding.
Maybe one thing he did right, not being any less a con artist than the Palestinian dictators. He said: They don’t want to talk for 70 years already? Fine, ignore them. We’ll say that they’re welcome to return to the negotiation table, but until they do, let’s talk between the parties who are sick and tired of those obstructionist leaders. That was a breakthrough.
But at what cost? Emboldening the stupid who believe in a two-state solution, just when the Israeli consensus had become that such a thing was impossible on Israeli soil. Maybe in Jordan, but not here.