Opinion

The Right's Celebration of Trump Is Too Early

With oil use a central policy, there’s no chance that Trump will enter a confrontation with all the Arab countries only in order to enable Israel’s right wing to annex territories.

Donald Trump  and Vladimir Putin.
Yuri Kadobno / Reuters, Evan Vucci / AP

When you examine all of President-elect Donald Trump’s moves so far, along with his tweets, you discover that his behavior is not necessarily strange, but actually quite orderly. There’s method to his madness, as Shakespeare said. There is logic to Trump’s proposal for a “white man’s treaty” with Russian President Vladimir Putin: Its main purpose is to counter the continued strengthening of China as a great power that is threatening America’s economic supremacy, but also to counter the strengthening of the Japanese and the Asian nations in the context of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement.

As opposed to American tradition since the days of the Cold War, a weakened Russia, with a population of 140 million, no longer seems to Trump like a serious threat to American power. In order to stabilize its economy Russia desperately needs to export its oil at reasonable prices, and Trump is willing to offer it such release from strangulation. In exchange, Russia will help him in his battle against China, which is not at all deterred by heavy industrial pollution, as long as it leaps forward economically, flooding America with cheap goods and preventing fair competition with American workers.

The appointment of Rex Tillerson, chairman and CEO for the past 10 years of ExxonMobil, the largest oil company in the world, and a personal friend of Putin’s, as secretary of state, is therefore designed to pave the way to closer ties with Russia. But it will also cause all of America to regress – from a policy that takes climate change into account and seeks alternative energy sources, to an earlier era of oil as the energy source preferred by American industry. Trump feels that by demanding clean energy, the Democrats made things difficult for United States industry, and thus in effect sabotaged the U.S. economy and the interests of millions of workers.

Because Trump doesn’t think that Russia’s long-standing subversive intervention in U.S. politics really endangers his country at present, and considers the service performed for him by the Russians in the elections as a nice bonus, he feels an obligation to recalibrate the U.S. intelligence services. In his view they are trapped in an old and boring concept that is behind the times. In their present format, they aren’t of much use.

In his opinion, the path to victory lies in economics, as he learned from Ronald Reagan, the president most admired by the Republicans. That’s how he plans to overcome China’s power. And because he believes that without America China cannot flourish, from now on he will demand that China demonstrates responsibility regarding North Korea.

And what are the implications for Israel? Trump, like his voters, apparently likes Israel. He will lend moral support to Israel and its prime minister. That is likely to include the empty gesture of transferring the embassy to western Jerusalem. He won’t be particularly impressed by the protests of the Palestinians.

But because, in radical contrast to outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama, oil is returning to the center of his foreign and economic policy, there’s no chance that he will enter a confrontation with all the Arab countries only in order to enable Israel’s right wing to annex territories. In addition, in the context of the treaty with Putin, he is apparently willing to leave the Middle East to Russian interests. America has no need to import fuel and for Putin, Iran and Syria are more important than Israel. It therefore looks as though the right’s joy at Trump’s election was premature.