BEN WEINGARTEN

Reader. Writer. Thinker. Commentator. Truth Seeker.

Month: February 2017

Trump Reinvigorates the US-Israel Relationship Upending Obama’s Anti-Zionist Agenda

In the days since becoming president, Donald Trump took swift action indicating that days of Obama antipathy were coming to an end, through his symbolic and substantive appointment of staunch Zionist David Friedman as U.S. Ambassador to Israel, to his putting Iran “on notice” and imposing sanctions against it, and his reversal of U.S. policy on Judea and Samaria.

But February 15, 2017, the day that President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stood side by side at the White House for the first time, may have marked the official end to the shameful Obama years.

I write about this heartening change for the benefit of all of Western civilization in a new piece at Conservative Review.

Here are seven fundamental takeaways from the recent Trump-Netanyahu joint press conference:

1. Mutual dedication to thwarting Iran and fighting Islamic supremacism more broadly:

Contrary to an Obama administration that coddled Iran and allowed Islamic supremacism to metastasize, President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu mutually agreed to mitigate the disaster that is the Iran Deal, including stopping Iran from ever obtaining a nuclear weapon and pushing back against its proxies like Hezbollah. Prime Minister Netanyahu lauded President Trump for his commitment to defeating jihadism more broadly, a fight Israel deals with daily in the form of Hamas, Hezbollah, and other terrorist threats. A common understanding of the nature of the Islamic supremacist threat to both nations, and Western civilization more broadly, is in and of itself a profound change.

2. Upending the two-state peace paradigm:

Turning the decades-old status quo on its head, the Trump administration indicated it would no longer be official U.S. policy to seek a peace agreement between the Israelis and Arabs of Palestine that takes the form of two states. As both leaders suggested, such an agreement could take many forms, but “labels” were secondary to substance.

3. The U.S. will not dictate the peace:

President Trump suggested that only a direct agreement between the Israelis and their Arab counterparts would clinch a deal. The U.S. will be happy to facilitate such conversations, including broader ones with Sunni Arab partners, but President Trump indicated a deal would not be forced on Israel by other parties. Moreover, President Trump appeared to endorse the preconditions Prime Minister Netanyahu put on such a peace, including recognition of Israel and its ability to adequately secure Judea and Samaria. Consistent with the administration’s prior statement, President Trump did not call the settlements an obstacle to peace, but did call for a pause seemingly in connection with forthcoming negotiations.

4. Recognition of Arab Jew-hatred as a primary obstacle to peace:

Both President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke about the pervasive fundamental Jew-hatred animating large numbers of the Arabs of Palestine, which has stood as a main obstacle to peace. Trump did not draw moral equivalence between the Israelis and Arabs, solely stating that both sides would have to make compromises in a deal.

5. Engaging with Sunni Arab partners:

One of the few silver linings of the Obama administration’s Iran-strengthening policy is that Israel and its Arab neighbors were drawn closer than perhaps at any time in the last hundred years given their common existential threat from Tehran. President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu pledged to work with such powers on areas of common interest, presumably including countering jihadists that would threaten their regimes and in context of a broadly negotiated Israeli-Arab peace deal. One such potential plan floated on the eve of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s trip to the U.S. involves creating an area for the Arabs of Palestine spanning from Gaza to the Sinai.

6. Ensuring protection at the United Nations:

Contrary to the Obama administration, President Trump pledged to work to protect Israel from the many hostile nations comprising the United Nations. Trump’s statement comes on the heels of UN Ambassador Nikki Haley’s rejection of former Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority Salam Fayyad’s appointment as the UN representative to Libya.

7. Rejecting the BDS movement:

Again contra the Obama administration, President Trump declared that he would oppose boycotts targeting Israel.

Prime Minister Netanyahu concluded the press conference by stating:

I’ve known the president and I’ve known his family and his team for a long time. There is no greater supporter of the Jewish people and the Jewish state than President Donald Trump. I think we should put that to rest.

The positive rapport between the two figures appeared genuine, based on a shared worldview and mutual respect.

Watching the press conference, it was self-evident that the pall cast over the relationship between the U.S. and Israel under President Obama has lifted, and the U.S.-Israel alliance reset at an auspicious moment in history.

A rebooted and robust U.S.-Israel relationship will play a central role if we are win the fight to preserve Judeo-Christian Western civilization against the jihadist forces that threaten our survival.

Read the whole thing here.

What the Founders Said About Draining the Swamp — And How Trump Can Do It

In the wake of the numerous attempts to sabotage President Donald Trump’s agenda in recent weeks from all manner of actors, I write about the challenges of draining the swamp, and what can and must be done to achieve it in a new piece at Conservative Review.

Here’s a taste:

Consider what President Trump is up against: Intense jockeying for positioning at the highest levels of the bureaucracy among individuals seeking to accumulate power to advance their own agendas; holdovers from prior administrations who hate the president’s guts; bureaucrats who have made a decent living for themselves by and are ideologically committed to the state-expanding status quo; rogue judges acting on the basis of politics rather than the law; congressmen on the Left and Right who for their own reasons — primarily getting re-elected and perpetuating their power — wish to see the swamp continue to fester.

These individuals see a president infringing upon their turf, upending their plans, and threatening the power they have amassed over the course of their careers.

Juxtapose this reality with the goings-on of the president’s first few weeks in office: Stories of in-fighting among those at the highest levels of the bureaucracy — replete with a mass of leaks on all manner of sensitive issues; plants from the Obama administration sabotaging the president’s policies; unfriendly bureaucrats openly seeking to undermine the president via social media; litigation over executive orders that disregards the letter and spirit of the law; congressional backsliding on promised agenda items; and, of course, a media all-too-willing to publicize every last story it can spin as damaging in order to delegitimize and discredit the president. These efforts are all geared towards deterring the swamp draining.

President Trump has succeeded throughout his career in cutthroat businesses. To do so in politics will require a deep understanding of the manifold forces arrayed against him, and a strategy to engage them in no holds barred political warfare in all dimensions.

He will have to prioritize his policies, devise strategies to push them through replete with numerous contingency plans given overwhelming resistance, while at every turn protecting against people working to undermine him on the inside and outside.

To counter this will require a flurry of actions in the executive, legislative, and judicial branches, as well as a cohesive messaging plan geared towards both a hostile media and the general public.

He will have to avail himself of all possible means to aggressively strike at the administrative state, coax Congress to trade his big agenda items for its favored policies, and constrain a judicial branch corrupted by far too many progressive justices, while appointing as many rock-ribbed constitutionalists as he can to the federal bench. He will have to thwart a media that will seek to portray him as an authoritarian seeking to harm countless Americans at every turn, while making a clear, concise, and direct pitch to the public as to why his policies are intended to return power to them.

He will be attacked at every turn because such actions will threaten the livelihood of those whose whole careers have been dedicated to accruing power in politics.

If anyone could take the slings and arrows associated with these policies, it is President Trump, who never apologizes and always counterpunches.

He must pair his mettle with the personnel and the plan to achieve his agenda.

Read the whole thing at Conservative Review.

The Truth About the Left’s Disgraceful and Utterly Dishonest Savaging of Trump NSC Deputy Michael Anton

Check out my latest at Conservative Review in which I systematically dismantle the Left’s scurrilous attacks on Michael Anton, the Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications formerly known as ‘Publius Decius Mus,’ and explain the real reason behind the Left’s efforts to smear him and others at the National Security Council and beyond.

Here’s a taste:

The Left has aimed its sights in particular at the National Security Council in its dishonest savaging of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, having already claimed the scalp of Dr. Monica Crowley by presenting her as a plagiarist in spite of the evidence to the contrary.

For to kneecap the National Security Council would be to prevent a sea change in national security and foreign policy — a clean break with the failed bipartisan establishment’s Wilsonian internationalist policies of the last 15 years and beyond.

In particular, the Left likely cannot bear a national security policy that is threat-oriented — that sees the size, scope, and nature of the global jihadist threat, among other ones, and wishes to orient our policy towards eliminating it.

To that, we should pose the question as to why? Why trust Iran? Why trust that current vetting procedures keep out Sharia supremacists? Why trust that in spite of growing jihadist attacks, rape, female genital mutilation, and honor killings in the West that all is going to be fine?

When a determined enemy says it wishes to kill you, does it not behoove you to drop the politically correct blinders and consider taking it seriously?

As the howls of Nazi, racist, sexist and bigot begin to lose their sting, depreciated in their overuse and misattribution, expect the campaign to toxify anyone associated with the Trump administration to grow more desperate and dishonest.

For when you find a desperate and dishonest opponent, you are likely on to something worth pursuing.

Read the whole thing at Conservative Review.

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