Link Round-up for May 22

From around the blogosphere:

Quiet week in politics, eh?? Since I have a smorgasbord of news items to choose from, I will focus on the Middle East and Trump’s first overseas adventure as president of the United States. 



As I write this, Air Force One has just arrived in Tel Aviv, with lots of pomp and circomstance on display to greet the President (hmmm, trying to one-up the Saudis??). But behind the façade of niceties and platitudes, the U.S.-Israeli relationship is still a bit shaky.

 

  • Given Trump’s alleged Israeli intelligence disclosure to the Russians, the IDF doesn’t have much faith in his ability to fight ISIS. Politico Magazine
  • Netanyahu might be all smiles, but he’s just as nervous as the rest of us about Trump. The Atlantic and Times of Israel
  • Despite most saying that a two-state solution is simply not possible in the forseeable future, Slate publishes an interview that seeks to dispell such ‘myths’


President Trump is the first U.S. president to fly directly from Saudi Arabia to Israel – a fact, I’m sure, that is not lost on the President and his penchant for hyperbole. Aside from showing the world that Trump really has no rhythm when it comes to sword dancing, what else has this first leg on his trip accomplished?

 

  • Let’s agree that – perhaps to the disappointment of some – Trump managed to stay on the ‘presidential’ reservation in Saudi Arabia, even watering down his normal rhetoric against Islamist Extremism, an expression he did not use but gave lots of sh*t to Clinton/Obama for not using either. Name calling is all well and good until you are face-to-face with your adversaries… The Atlantic
  • I bet Trump looked around at King Salman’s palace with all the gilt and thought, ‘I need to hire his decorator’… The two might be décor kindred spirits, but does that mean he should pussyfoot around the Saudi government’s support of radical Wahhabism and its influence on Islamist fundamentalism? Politico
  • Despite Trump’s rhetoric of Muslim hate and intolerace, he has never had a problem taking their money. Slate

As Benedict Anderson and others might argue, the Middle East is not a singular place, even if a majority of its occupants practice some form of Islam. The Atlantic

 

Overall, Trump’s MENA policies aren’t very well thought out or unified, and this shocks us terribly. I also have a bridge to sell… open democracy