Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The New Yorker

What Donald Trump 
Can Expect in the Middle East
By Robin Wright 
In 1974, Richard Nixon became the first American President to visit Saudi Arabia and Israel—as well as Syria—on a swing intended to chalk up triumphs abroad and, more pointedly, to divert attention from the escalating Watergate crisis at home. It was a reassuring trip for the beleaguered President. He promoted a new peace process and talked up a regional realignment to stabilize the Middle East after the 1973 war. Leaders fêted him. Flag-waving crowds lined the streets, even in Damascus. The trip didn’t change his fate. Two months later, Nixon resigned.
This weekend, Donald Trump will try to escape the turmoil of his Presidency for a tour of the Middle East. He, too, will stop in Saudi Arabia and Israel. He, too, is talking about Middle East peace and a regional realignment, this time a coalition made up of Israel and the conservative Sunni monarchies, centered around the Gulf sheikhdoms, Egyptians, and Jordanians. He, too, is expected to be fêted. The world’s most volatile region will offer Trump a diversion from Washington for at least a week, even though revelations that he spilled classified intelligence (provided by an ally) to the Russians are likely to dog him.
On his first Presidential trip abroad, Trump has outsized ambitions—both naïve and godlike—laden with religious symbolism from all three Abrahamic faiths. Will he have any success? 
Read on....

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