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FOREIGN POLICY

Merkel Warns: ‘U.S. No Longer a Reliable Ally for Europe’ By Michael van der Galien

As PJ Media’s own Michael Walsh reported earlier today, Angela Merkel has apparently had a falling out with U.S. President Donald Trump. On Sunday, she told a crowd at an election rally in Munich that Europe “must take its fate into its own hands” because it can no longer rely on the U.S. as a loyal ally.

The times in which we could completely depend on others are on the way out. I’ve experienced that in the last few days. We Europeans truly have to take our fate into our own hands.

To which she added that “we have to fight for our own destiny.”

My esteemed colleague comments in his own article about Merkel’s statements:

If it took Trump’s typical bluntness to finally get the message across that the Europeans are now responsible for the mess of their own making, good. Germany in particular has coasted under the American nuclear umbrella for decades, allowing it to a) concentrate entirely on rebuilding its domestic economy, infrastructure and social welfare state and b) thumb its nose at American warmongering imperialism. It’s one of the least attractive aspects of the German character; the gratitude that the immediate postwar generation felt for our having rescued them from Hitler and the love Germans felt for all things American have vanished. In their place has come a churlish, we-can-take-it-from-here mutter that does not become them.

All true, but there’s something that must be added to the above: Merkel can talk all she wants about Europe taking its destiny into her own hands, but everybody in Europe knows Merkel and her friends aren’t doing anything of the sort. Despite the threat Russia is supposed to pose to our safety and freedom, not one European “power” is willing to invest heavily in its military. Merkel, Emmanuel Macron, Mark Rutte (of the Netherlands), and all the other Western European leaders continue to rely on the U.S. for their security.

Merkel’s words don’t change reality: Europe cannot get by on its own. We are still dependent on the U.S. for our most basic need (security) and that’s not going to change anytime soon.

Instead of insulting the current occupant of the White House, Merkel would be wise to take a page from British Prime Minister Theresa May’s playbook. Unlike Merkel, May is determined to have a healthy and productive relationship with Trump’s America, which is extremely wise because Britain is nearly as dependent on the U.S. as the rest of Europe. What’s more, May’s efforts seem to be paying off with Trump choosing her side after American intel officers leaked sensitive information about the terror attack in Manchester. That’s what a smart European leader does. Sadly, “smart” appears to be above Merkel’s pay grade.

From 9/11 to Manchester Donald Trump found out something about the presidency and the world on this trip. By Daniel Henninger

Now we have Manchester and its 22 dead, many of them children. Somehow, we always end up back at 9/11, leaving flowers and candles again.

A political constant since 9/11 is that terrorism inevitably changes U.S. presidencies. I think the events this week—the president’s overseas trip and then Manchester—may have a similar effect on Donald Trump.

On Inauguration Day in January 2001, George W. Bush’s mind no doubt was filled with plans for his first term. Months later, his was a war presidency and would remain so.

Several things sit in my memory from the politics of that period. One is President Bush’s face as he addressed Congress on Sept. 20. He was a changed man. Also remembered is the solidarity of national purpose after the attack. The final memory is how quickly that unity dissipated into a standard partisan melee.

The Democratic point of attack became the Patriot Act’s surveillance provisions, a legal and legislative battle that ran the length of the Bush presidency. By the end of his second term, George Bush had become an object of partisan caricature and antipathy equal to anything President Trump endures now.

During Barack Obama’s presidency, four major terrorist attacks took place inside the U.S.: Fort Hood in 2009, the Boston Marathon in 2013, San Bernardino two years later and then Orlando in 2016. During these years, the locus of terror migrated from al Qaeda to Islamic State.

Volumes have been written about Barack Obama and terrorism, much of it about the president’s struggles with vocabulary terms such as war, Islam, extreme and radical. The killing of Osama bin Laden evinced a rare, passing moment of national unity.

With the opposition to the Trump presidency programmed for driverless resistance, there will be no national unity in the war on terrorism. The Democrats have become the Trump-Is-Russia Party, and that may be as good a way as any for them to spend their waking hours.

But even Hillary Clinton couldn’t duck the terrorism problem in the 2016 presidential campaign, and when Mr. Trump said he would “defeat ISIS,” his lack of nuance no doubt won him votes.

Which brings us to Manchester this week and memories of 9/11.

Note the political response to the Manchester murders. Again, total solidarity, such as this from European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker : “These cowardly attacks will only strengthen our commitment to work together to defeat the perpetrators of such vile acts.”

Post-9/11, naturally one expects such commitments to erode like sand castles. But this time, by coincidence, alleged Manchester bomber Salman Abedi murdered concertgoers in the same week Donald Trump was using his first overseas trip to build a coalition to defeat Islamic State. CONTINUE AT SITE

Saffie Rose Russos, British terror victim, and the president By Shoshana Bryen

President Donald Trump, speaking in Riyadh, named Iran as a source of terrorism and destruction in the Middle East. At the same time, he politely but firmly demanded that the Sunni Arab establishment take responsibility for its role in the spread of jihadist ideology and jihadist terror.

Wahabi ideological purity backed by Saudi and Qatari oil money set the stage for the rise of Islamist warfare just as much as Iranian ideological purity plus oil money did.

There is no neat separation between Sunni terror and Shiite terror, between ISIS and Hezb’allah, between Iran and Hamas. Shiite Iran and Sunni Qatar – staunch enemies to one another – both fund Hamas. Sunni rivals Qatar and Saudi Arabia both fund radical Syrian rebel groups. The Kurdish war against ISIS runs into Turkey’s war against the Kurds, which supports Bashar Assad’s war against Syrian Sunnis, which is supported by Shiite Iran, which is an ideological and religious enemy of Sunni Turkey.

With admirable firmness, President Trump placed the burden of counter-jihad squarely on those who fomented it, nurtured it, paid for it, and in many cases venerated it:

The nations of the Middle East cannot wait for American power to crush this enemy for them. The nations of the Middle East will have to decide what kind of future they want for themselves, for their countries, and for their children.

It is a choice between two futures – and it is a choice America CANNOT make for you. A better future is only possible if your nations drive out the terrorists and extremists. Drive. Them. Out.

… Muslim nations must be willing to take on the burden, if we are going to defeat terrorism and send its wicked ideology into oblivion.

The first task in this joint effort is for your nations to deny all territory to the foot soldiers of evil. Every country in the region has an absolute duty to ensure that terrorists find no sanctuary on their soil.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman appeared to understand that the president was talking to the Sunni Arab world and that it is in trouble.

He denounced terrorism, including Sunni terror groups; agreed to work to curtail terror financing; and promoted economic advancement, including for women, as a means to stem radical inroads. He said the word “Israel” without venom or irony. None of these is a traditional Saudi position, so their official appearance reveals how much the king fears for the future of his country and the region – and how much the Sunni states want the U.S. to bail them out of a world they made but no longer control.

This brings us to Saffie Rose Russos, an 8-year-old girl who died in a suicide bombing along with 22 other young people at a pop concert in Manchester (U.K.). The bomber was 23-year-old Salman Abedi, known to British authorities prior to the attack. The bomb was filled with nails and screws – a Palestinian tactic first seen during the so-called “second intifada” and adopted widely by Sunni terrorists.

Remember When Obama Gifted U.S. Intelligence to Cuban Spies? Where was the media outcry? May 24, 2017 Humberto Fontova

The deepest and most damaging penetration of the U.S. Defense Department by an enemy agent in recent history was pulled off by a spy working for the terror-sponsoring, drug-smuggling Castro regime.

The spy’s name is Ana Belen Montes, known as “Castro’s Queen Jewel” in the intelligence community. In 2002 she was convicted of the same crimes as Ethel and Julius Rosenberg and today she serves a 25-year sentence in Federal prison. Only a plea bargain spared her from sizzling in the electric chair like the Rosenbergs.

Promptly upon Montes’ conviction a Cuban spy named Gustavo Machin, who worked under diplomatic cover in Washington D.C. (and thus enjoyed “diplomatic immunity”) along with 14 of his KGB-trained Cuban colleagues, were all booted from the U.S.

As normal in these cases, the FBI and Defense Intelligence Agency were carefully circumspect in describing the cause for Gustavo Machin’s expulsion from the U.S. But given that it came shortly after Ana Montes’ conviction and sentencing—and especially as her escape from the Rosenberg’s fate stemmed from her cooperating with prosecutors (singing)—given these circumstances it’s pretty much a slam-dunk that Machin was her accomplice in espionage. Hence his prompt expulsion.

Well, back in January shortly before Obama vacated the White House, this very Gustavo Machin was invited by the Obama team to personally participate in U.S. security brainstorming session involving the U.S. Southern Command, which serves as our nation’s command center on the war on drugs.”

You see, amigos: In one of his closing acts as President, Obama ordered U.S. intelligence agencies to “share” information with the terror-sponsoring, drug-smuggling Castro regime. Here’s how the AP described the executive orders:

President Trump Should Extend His “Disruption” to Saudi Arabia by A. Z. Mohamed

Although Washington and Riyadh have clear common interests, they share few values. Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy. It is the cradle of Wahhabism, a particularly closed form of fundamentalist Islam. It has an abysmal human-rights record, denying its subjects and citizens civil and religious liberties. Such issues may be internal, but they have serious implications for America and the rest of the world.

The kingdom is unable to make the ideological argument against terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda and ISIS, as according to its own religious ideology, the Quran prohibits Muslims from allying with non-Muslims.

It was ironic that Trump’s address to the Arab Islamic American Summit in Riyadh on May 21 was devoted to combating practices in which the House of Saud itself engages.

At an Israeli Independence Day event in Washington, D.C. on May 2, on the eve of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s meeting at the White House, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster referred to U.S. President Donald Trump as “not a super patient man,” who “does not have time to debate over doctrine.”

McMaster then said that those who call Trump “disruptive” are right, “and this is good… because we can no longer afford to invest in policies that do not advance the interests and values of the United States and our allies.”

This was echoed by former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates days before Trump embarked on his first foreign trip to Riyadh, Jerusalem, Bethlehem and the Vatican — albeit in relation to Pyongyang. In an interview with CBS News’ “Face the Nation” on May 14, Gates said:

“There is a need for disruption. We’ve had three administrations follow a pretty consistent policy toward North Korea, and it really hasn’t gotten us anywhere… [T]he tough talk on North Korea, the military deployments, sending the missile defense system to South Korea … [Trump has] gotten China’s attention to a degree that his predecessors have not.”

However, Gates cautioned, “[T]here’s the risk of being too spontaneous and too disruptive where you end up doing more harm than damage. And figuring out that balance is where having strong people around you matters.”

In the first place, although Washington and Riyadh have clear common interests — one realizes that although preventing Iran’s imperialist expansion and nuclear program is of paramount importance — it is crucial to remember that they share few values. Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy. It is the cradle of Wahhabism, a particularly closed form of fundamentalist Islam. It has an abysmal human-rights record, denying its subjects and citizens civil and religious liberties. Such issues may be internal, but they have serious implications for America and the rest of the world.

Trump’s ‘Principled Realism’ Is Not Very Realistic about Islam The principal fiction in the president’s speech in Saudi Arabia was the claim that we share ‘common values’ with the sharia society. By Andrew C. McCarthy

So for what exactly is the “extreme vetting” going to vet?

That was the question I could not shake from my mind while listening to President Trump’s speech in Saudi Arabia on Sunday to dozens of Sunni Islamic leaders and a global television audience.

There were certainly some positives in the president’s rhetoric. Trump did not cite American policy or “arrogance” as a contributory cause of jihadist savagery, as President Obama was wont to do. He was less delusional about the splendor of Islam than were Obama and President George W. Bush. Gone were absurd inflations of Islam’s historical achievements and place in the American fabric; gone were allusions to the “religion of peace and love.” In their place was an acknowledgment that Islam is besieged by a “crisis” of terror that is engulfing the world, a crisis that is ideological in nature and that only Muslims themselves can solve.

All true. Nevertheless, the theme that came through the speech is that terrorism is something that happens to Islam, rather than something that happens because of Islam. That is simply not the case, even though it is true, as Trump asserted, that the vast majority of those killed by Muslim terrorists are themselves Muslims.

There is thus a good deal that is not real about “Principled Realism,” Trump’s name for what he heralds as a new American strategy — “new approaches informed by experience and judgment,” a “discarding” of strategies “that have not worked.”

The principal fiction in “principled realism” is that we share “common values” with Sunni Arab sharia societies. That is problematic because these purported “common values” — in conjunction with “shared interests” — are said to be the roots of Trump’s approach.

The president stressed that during his first overseas trip as president, he would be “visiting many of the holiest places in the three Abrahamic faiths.” The irony was palpable, at least to some of us. Trump is not visiting the holiest places of Islam.

Yes, upon departing Saudi Arabia, he headed to Israel where he prayed at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. In the offing is a jaunt to Rome, to the Vatican for an audience with Pope Francis. But for all the treacle about “why I chose to make my first foreign visit a trip to the heart of the Muslim world, to the nation [Saudi Arabia] that serves as custodian of the two holiest sites in the Islamic faith,” Trump sidestepped the fact that he is not welcome in those two sites, Mecca and Medina.

Why? Because the president is a non-Muslim. Non-Muslims are not allowed to step their infidel feet in Islam’s sacred cities.

That iteration of Islamic intolerance is squarely based on scripture — see, e.g., the Koran’s Sura 9:28: “Oh you who believe! Truly the idolaters are unclean, so let them not, after this year, approach the sacred mosque” — a verse that specifically relates to the Grand Mosque in Mecca (Makkah), and has been extended by Islamic scholars to Medina. That is why Trump’s House of Saud hosts enforce a ban on entry by non-Muslims to both cities.

I say that this ban is just one “iteration of Islamic intolerance” for two reasons.

First, there are many other iterations. Scripturally based Islamic doctrine systematically discriminates against non-Muslims in many particulars, and against women in many others. Since Trump’s “principled realism” is said to be rooted in “common values,” it might be worth a gander at the guidance Trump’s State Department provides to Americans pondering a trip to the kingdom:

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, imprisoned, subject to physical punishments, or even executed. Penalties for the import, manufacture, possession, and consumption of alcohol or illegal drugs in Saudi Arabia are severe. Convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences, heavy fines, public floggings, and/or deportation. The penalty for drug trafficking is death . . .

Faith-Based Travelers: Islam is the official religion of the country and pervades all aspects of life in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi authorities do not permit criticism of Islam, religious figures, or the royal family.

The government prohibits the public practice of religions other than Islam. Non-Muslims suspected of violating these restrictions have been jailed. Church services in private homes have been raided, and participants have been jailed.

Muslims who do not adhere to the strict interpretations of Islam prevalent in much of Saudi Arabia frequently encounter societal discrimination and constraints on worship.

Public display of non-Islamic religious articles, such as crosses and Bibles, is not permitted.

[And, of course . . .] Non-Muslims are forbidden to travel to Makkah (Mecca) and Medina, the cities where two of Islam’s holiest mosques are located . . .

LGBTI Travelers: Same-sex sexual relations, even when they are consensual, are criminalized in Saudi Arabia. Violations of Saudi laws governing perceived expressions of, or support for, same sex sexual relations, including on social media, may be subject to severe punishment. Potential penalties include fines, jail time, or death.

The State Department guidance suggests that readers consult the International Religious Freedom Report produced in 2015 by State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. It relates the brutal punishments meted out by some Islamic countries — not jihadist organizations, but governments in Muslim-majority countries — for blasphemy and apostasy. The paragraph on the Kingdom is worth reading:

Trump Moves U.S. Towards a Realistic Approach to Jihad Threat By Robert Spencer

President Trump’s much-anticipated speech at the Islamic Summit in Riyadh didn’t begin auspiciously. Trump started with: “I want to thank King Salman for his extraordinary words” — yet among Salman’s “extraordinary words” were the risible claims that “Islam was and will always be the religion of mercy, tolerance, and coexistence,” and that “in its prosperous times, Islam provided the best examples of coexistence and harmony between countries and individuals.”

However, Trump’s speech did include some elements of a realistic approach to the jihad threat, ideas that have been glaringly lacking from U.S. foreign policy for nearly sixteen years now.

Trump sounded conciliatory notes, saying that he came to “deliver a message of friendship and hope,” and “that is why I chose to make my first foreign visit a trip to the heart of the Muslim world, to the nation that serves as custodian of the two holiest sites in the Islamic Faith.” Accordingly, he reminded the assembled Muslim leaders of his inaugural address, in which he “promised that America will not seek to impose our way of life on others.”

Trump no doubt thought that Muslim leaders would welcome this promise in light of the ill-fated Bush/Obama attempts to establish Western-style republics in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the disastrous effects of “regime change” in Libya and elsewhere. And that is doubtless true: a respite from Obama’s reckless and self-defeating interventionism is most welcome.

But it should also be remembered that America never tried in any serious way to impose its way of life upon Iraq or Afghanistan. In both countries, American forces oversaw the implementation of constitutions that enshrined Sharia as the highest law of the land.

America did not stand strongly for the freedom of speech, the freedom of conscience, and equality of rights for women and non-Muslims — all of which Sharia denies. If America had offered refuge to those who wanted to live in freedom, who knows how many millions of Muslims would have chosen liberty over Sharia. But we will never know.

Trump also spoke proudly of “a $110 billion Saudi-funded defense purchase,” which “will help the Saudi military to take a greater role in security operations.” The clear target here is Iran. But later in the speech, he included among the Iranian mullahs’ transgressions their “vowing the destruction of Israel” — and surely, many among his Sunni audience thought: “Well, that’s the one thing Shia Iran gets right.”

It is all too easy to imagine a scenario in which these Saudi arms are used against Israel.

President Trump also announced “a new Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology — located right here, in this central part of the Islamic World.” That its name is similar to Obama’s euphemistic “Countering Violent Extremism” program, so named to avoid any hint that Islam might have something to do with terrorism, was not a good sign.

Nor was Trump’s statement that “this groundbreaking new center represents a clear declaration that Muslim-majority countries must take the lead in combatting radicalization.” The world has been calling upon, and waiting, for Muslim-majority countries to take the lead in combatting radicalization since 9/11, and long before that.

So where is the global Muslim movement to reform Islam and counter the jihadists’ interpretation of its core texts? Egypt’s al-Sisi, who was present at Trump’s speech, several years ago called upon the Islamic scholars of al-Azhar, the most prestigious and influential institution in Sunni Islam, to work toward reforming Islam to curb its violent elements. Nothing has yet been done.

How long will we wait? How much longer will non-Muslim and reformist Muslim leaders issue these calls before realizing nothing is going to be done?

Trump did make several positive departures from the Obama legacy, however. He spoke of “defeating terrorism and the ideology that drives it,” and later put teeth on his call for defeating the jihad ideology — in a way Barack Obama never did — by calling for “honestly confronting the crisis of Islamist extremism and the Islamist terror groups it inspires.”

An actual honest confrontation of the crisis of Islamist extremism would require an honest and thorough examination of the motivating ideology of jihad terrorists. President George W. Bush hamstrung this effort when he declared, shortly after 9/11, that Islam was a “religion of peace.” Barack Obama made it altogether impossible when he heeded the demands of Muslim, Leftist, and other allied groups in 2011 by ordering the removal of all mentions of Islam and jihad from counterterror training.

Trump, to his credit, assumed that the terrorists were Muslim, calling upon the Muslim leaders to “drive them out of your places of worship.”

This was a far cry from Hillary Clinton’s 2015 statement: “Let’s be clear: Islam is not our adversary. Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism.” And this was worlds away from Obama’s claims: “For more than a thousand years, people have been drawn to Islam’s message of peace,” and “Islam is rooted in a commitment to compassion and mercy and justice and charity.” CONTINUE AT SITE

Trump’s First Day in Israel: An Encouraging Performance By P. David Hornik

President Trump arrived in Israel this morning on what was apparently the first direct flight ever from Riyadh to the Holy Land. He also became the first U.S. president to visit Israel so early in his term, and the first serving U.S. president ever to visit the Western Wall — the 2,000-year-old section of a retaining wall of the Second Temple, Judaism’s holiest site.

In Riyadh, Trump had given a long, sharp-edged speech that most Israelis saw as a success. Trump called on his audience of Arab and Muslim leaders to root out terrorism entirely, dispensing with the euphemisms used by his predecessors. He decried “Islamist extremism and the Islamist terror groups it inspires.”

Trump also spoke unsparingly of Israel’s existential enemy, the Iranian regime:

For decades, Iran has fueled the fires of sectarian conflict and terror.

It is a government that speaks openly of mass murder, vowing the destruction of Israel, death to America, and ruin for many leaders and nations in this room.

Until the Iranian regime is willing to be a partner for peace, all nations of conscience must work together to isolate Iran, deny it funding for terrorism, and pray for the day when the Iranian people have the just and righteous government they deserve.

Trump also announced a massive $110 billion arms sale to the Saudis. Some top Israeli officials reacted with alarm, citing both the size of the sale and the fact that — against protocol — the administration had not first consulted with Israel about it. Others, however, insisted the deal was nothing to worry about; Israel and Saudi Arabia are indeed in a tacit alliance against Iran. However, Saudi Arabia remains hostile to Israel, has no diplomatic relations with it, and is rife with animosity toward the Jewish state. And the Middle East remains unpredictable, especially in the longer term.

Once Trump arrived in Israel, however, the talk was of peace. As Trump put it while speaking at Ben-Gurion International Airport:

We have before us a rare opportunity to bring security and stability and peace to this region and to its people, defeating terrorism and creating a future of harmony, prosperity and peace. But we can only get there by working together.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for his part, said:

Israel’s hand is extended in peace to all our neighbors, including the Palestinians.

Trump Can Break the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse by A.J. Caschetta

While the “land for peace” formula — pressuring Israel to hand over land to those it has defeated for the promise of peace to come — pleased Arab governments and career diplomats at the State Department, it was a disaster on the ground. Each new concession was seen by Palestinian leaders as signaling an Israeli weakness ripe for exploitation, stoking their fantasies of ultimate victory and thus prolonging the misery of the Palestinian people and everyone involved.

History shows that wars end definitively only when one side has no more hope at all of success, as happened in Germany and Japan after World War II. The Palestinians still have not given up their fantasy of a Palestinian state “from the river to the sea.”

The best way for Washington to advance a peace process is by convincing the Palestinian leaders of Israel’s insurmountable strength. “After the leadership recognizes this reality, the Palestinian population at large will follow, as will eventually other Arab and Muslim states, leading to a resolution of the conflict,” explains Middle East Forum President Daniel Pipes, the driving intellectual force behind the newly-created Israel Victory Congressional Caucus.

In Saudi Arabia on Sunday, President Trump declared unswerving American commitment to help Riyadh in “confronting the crisis of Islamic extremism and the Islamist and Islamic terror of all kinds.” A new coalition of American lawmakers believes he should make an equally important commitment to Israel when he lands there today.

Official U.S. policy on the Israeli-Palestinian dispute has long been centered on a “grievance-based approach” to conflict resolution and counterterrorism. Addressing the stated grievances of Palestinian extremists, the reasoning goes, reduces their motivations for fighting and enables their leaders and those of Arab states to make peace. Thus the perennial goal of American diplomacy has been to pressure or coax the democratic State of Israel into making concessions to the authoritarian PLO-turned-Palestinian Authority (PA) in hopes that they will placate the Palestinian masses (most of whom, including 1.6 million in Hamas-ruled Gaza, do not live in disputed territory).

While the “land for peace” formula — pressuring Israel to hand over land to those it has defeated for the promise of peace to come — pleased Arab governments and career diplomats at the State Department, it was a disaster on the ground. Each new concession was seen by Palestinian leaders as signaling an Israeli weakness ripe for exploitation, stoking their fantasies of ultimate victory and thus prolonging the misery of the Palestinian people and everyone involved.

History shows that wars end definitively only when one side has no more hope at all of success, as happened in Germany and Japan after World War II.

Of course, unconditional surrenders of the kind that took place on the deck of the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay have been rare since the creation of the UN shortly thereafter. Wars often linger on for years, even decades, as winning sides are dissuaded by international pressure from bringing conflicts to an end.

An old-school exception to this rule came in 2009, when Sri Lanka broke free of its decades-old cycle of conflict with the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelan (LTTE). Eschewing yet another round of negotiation, followed by impasse, terrorist strikes, and government retaliation, the government launched a decisive, all-out war to defeat the LTTE and fully reclaim the northern part of the island nation.

Since then, Sri Lanka has been effectively terrorism-free. Tamil nationalists still have their grievances, of course. But with Sri Lanka having risen over the past eight years to become “South Asia’s most prosperous country” and an oasis of calm considered to be “at the forefront of the hot destinations queue” for South African tourists, few feel aggrieved enough to pick up a gun.

Israel’s situation is not so very different than that of Sri Lanka. The Palestinians still have not given up their fantasy of a Palestinian state “from the river to the sea.”

The best way for Washington to advance a peace process is by convincing the Palestinian leaders of Israel’s insurmountable strength. “After the leadership recognizes this reality, the Palestinian population at large will follow, as will eventually other Arab and Muslim states, leading to a resolution of the conflict,” explains Middle East Forum President Daniel Pipes, the driving intellectual force behind the newly-created Israel Victory Congressional Caucus.

If President Trump really wants to succeed where others have failed in resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict, he should demonstrate that the U.S. supports its Israeli ally unreservedly. He might start, for example, by announcing from Israel this afternoon that the United States is moving its embassy to the country’s capital of Jerusalem.

A Dose Of Reality in Riyadh Why Trump’s speech to the Muslim world is a marked improvement over Obama’s 2009 “new beginning.” Bruce Bawer

On June 4, 2009, Barack Obama went to Cairo and delivered a speech, addressed to the Muslim world, that was full of praise for Islam and apologies on behalf of the West. In the address, entitled “A New Beginning” (“I’ve come here to Cairo,” he explained, “to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world”), he called the university at which he was speaking (which, if it were anywhere in the West, would probably not be able to gain accreditation) “a beacon of Islamic learning”; he blamed tensions between the West and Islam largely on Western “colonialism”; he said “Salaam aleikum” and kept referring to “the Holy Koran”; he asserted, in a ridiculous example of hyperbole, that “Islam has always been part of America’s story”; he served up a big wallop of revised history, giving Islam unmerited praise for centuries-old accomplishments in science, architecture, music, art, and medicine and even holding it up as “a model of tolerance and equality” (at one point, he seemed to imply that in some ways women’s rights are more advanced in the Muslim world than in the U.S.); and, with utter predictability, he quoted the the “Holy Koran” out of context, plucking out that favorite verse of all Western apologists that supposedly teaches “that if one kills an innocent, it is as if it he has killed all of mankind.”

And of course, as always, he talked about himself: a descendant of “generations of Muslims” in Kenya; a man who, in his Indonesian boyhood, daily heard the beautiful Islamic call to prayer; a president who had “known Islam on three continents before coming to the region where it was first revealed.” As someone with such intimate ties to the Religion of Peace, asserted Obama, he saw it as part of his job to “fight against negative stereotypes of Islam.” Yes, he spoke about the need to fight terror, but he was quick to maintain that “Islam is not part of the problem” but rather “an important part of promoting peace.” He defended U.S. ties to Israel and recognized the “reality of the Holocaust,” but quickly pivoted to the “suffering” of Palestinians, the “pain of dislocation” they experienced, and the “daily humiliations” of the “occupation” – preaching, in short, to Israel from a Cairo pulpit. He quoted from the Talmud, but was careful not to call it holy. He implied that the histories of the Jews and Palestinians were equally tragic. And he preached to America too, suggesting that when Americans criticize the “choice” of women – and girls (!) – to wear hijab they were disguising their “hostility” to Islam “behind the pretense of liberalism.” Similarly, instead of thundering against the evil of 9/11, Obama apologized for the supposed excesses of some Americans’ responses to that atrocity, saying with nauseating chagrin that “in some cases it led us to acts contrary to our principles and our ideals.” Oh, and he vowed to close Guantánamo “by early next year.”