The Selfish Motive Behind Trump's Jerusalem Decision

President Donald Trump's announcement Wednesday that he will recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital reflects two of the worst aspects of this administration's policymaking: the president's selfish focus on his domestic politics and an incompetence that only made things worse.Trump's decision was all about placating his base. There is no other strategic rationale for taking this step now, which is why the president's advisers have struggled in background briefings to explain how it is in the United States' security interest. And even the domestic politics for Trump are not very compelling: Sure, he promised to move the embassy during the campaign, but this was not a central tenet of his platform.Prioritizing this minor point on his agenda could have grave repercussions for so many others. For Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the consequences are profound. The final status of Jerusalem is perhaps the most sensitive issue in Palestinian politics. Palestinians insist that any two-state agreement must have East Jerusalem as their capital, and they view Trump's declaration as biasing that outcome. The president tried to hedge by stating that the final status of Jerusalem is still up for negotiation. But the reality is that his statement gives the Israelis a huge political victory and gives the Palestinians nothing.  Continue reading...

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