Topic:

Donald Trump

How Qassem Soleimani Forced Donald Trump Back into the Middle East

| January 15, 2020

Qassem Soleimani was emboldened by the US administration’s failure to respond to repeated Iranian efforts to destabilize the Persian Gulf—so much so that he felt it was safe to attack Americans directly in Iraq. President Trump, who so recently was eager to leave the Middle East, ordered the killing of Soleimani in retaliation—drawing the US back into the Middle East.

Democrats Challenge Trump’s Authority to Conduct Military Operations Against Iran

| January 13, 2020

The US House of Representatives has passed a resolution, initiated by the Democrats, to restrict President Donald Trump’s ability to conduct military operations against Iran. If approved by the Senate, the resolution could adversely affect the US campaign to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power and other important security issues in the Middle East.    

Takeaways from the US Impeachment Imbroglio

| January 13, 2020

The three impeachments to date in US history (Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton, and Donald Trump) and the Nixon impeachment inquiry and resulting presidential resignation shed light on the current Constitutional meaning of impeachment and how it will affect the future relationship between Congress and the executive branch.  Impeachment and conviction as a check by Congress on the president may have been eliminated altogether. The American people no longer trust their political institutions, processes, or politicians to provide accountability.

The Soleimani Killing: Trump’s New Approach to the War on Terror

| January 12, 2020

Soft power and coercive diplomacy tools have not worked for almost 20 years against “peaceful Iran” (as Obama used to call it), and America has opted instead to exercise hard power. Trump’s order to kill Qassem Soleimani exposes once again the vast gap between the US and Europe on the problem of Iran.

The Soleimani Killing: An Initial Assessment

The targeted killing by the US of Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force and close confidant of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, has unsettled the region and the world. We have assembled initial takes on this event by five BESA researchers: Prof. Hillel Frisch, Prof. Eytan Gilboa, Maj. Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen, Dr. Doron Itzchakov, and Alex Joffe. 

Trump’s Higher Price Tag Makes Japan and South Korea Weigh Their Options

| January 1, 2020

President Donald Trump is quadrupling the price tag on US troop deployment in South Korea and Japan, a demand Seoul and Tokyo find overwhelming. Should they consider alternatives to their defense dependency on Washington, they will need to bear in mind that doing without US protection could prove even more costly than Trump’s raised price.

Trump and the “Settlements”: A Preliminary Analysis

| November 22, 2019

The Trump administration’s decision to repudiate an earlier approach that regarded Israeli communities across the “Green Line” as illegal has been praised and condemned. While there may be merit to seeing the move as an effort to help PM Benjamin Netanyahu or at least break Israel’s electoral logjam, there are deeper motives at play. Trump and his administration have made a hallmark of defying dysfunctional conventional wisdom and foreign policy inertia that elevate process over results. But while the predicted calamities of this policy have not materialized, the administration’s lack of any Grand Strategy makes the benefits difficult to aggregate.

Trump’s Trade Wars: A New World Order?

| November 8, 2019

President Donald Trump’s declared economic protectionism has taken the US’s international relations with several foes and allies into uncharted territory. His open-ended trade wars with several nations have triggered criticism among conservatives and liberals alike in the US. He has justified his actions by arguing for a downturn of America’s trade deficit, but the American people don’t seem to be on board with his logic. This paper examines the ramifications of President Trump’s policy of economic sanctions and tariffs vis-à-vis several nations and international groupings. It also looks at China’s counter-strategy and considers whether Middle Eastern countries like Saudi Arabia will be caught in the web of the current trade wars.

Clarity Amidst Chaos: The Implications of Trump’s Syria Policy

| October 27, 2019

The American withdrawal from Syria has produced chaotic results – but as with many aspects of President Trump’s presidency, it offers an opportunity to view realities with a new clarity. The nature of Turkey under Erdoğan, European weakness, and the unwillingness of America to support indecisive military missions have been revealed. These realities demand new approaches to European defense and to Middle Eastern engagement and disengagement.

Attack on Saudi Oil Facilities Puts US Commitments to the Test

| September 20, 2019

Neither Saudi Arabia nor the US is rushing to retaliate for a brazen, allegedly Iranian attack that severely damaged two of the kingdom’s key oil facilities. That is not to say that Saudi Arabia and/or the US will not retaliate in what could prove to be a game changer in the geopolitics of the Middle East.