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Trump envoys tell Mideast leaders what they want to hear

21 8 1

The two men in the Trump administration in charge of setting America’s global priorities are crisscrossing the Middle East this week, dividing up an already deeply divided region, trying desperately to separate fact from fiction and establish some sense of just where their nation’s priorities are going, how the United States might get there, and whose help they might need along the way.

Sadly, if the Trump White House ever had a weltanschauung – a grand and consistent world view – it all began to fall apart before even the first of the two envoys tapped to deliver these messages had arrived.

There were challenges from the moment National Security Adviser John Bolton landed in Jerusalem on Sunday, especially as he headed onward to Ankara, while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo began his eight-nation tour on Tuesday. After Bolton’s stop in Israel, he was suddenly uninvited to meet with Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan – apparently a result of Bolton’s demand that Turkey not attack pro-US Kurdish fighters in Syria.

The central question is how a vast and consistent regional policy can even be attempted when multiple, at times quite disparate, voices are telling their interlocutors simply what they want to hear in the wake of their president spreading vastly different ideas.

Each audience has sharply different priorities, with Trump appearing fully prepared to pander to each of them, leaving virtually everyone, quite dangerously, utterly bewildered – if at times sure to be privately........

© Middle East Monitor