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Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Alsaud Center for American Studies and Research


In the early days of his presidency, Donald Trump has rolled out the red carpet for Arab leaders and reaffirmed the traditional U.S. privileging of alliances over human rights narratives, two decisions which radically differed from the Obama administration. Despite these developments, which regional leaders welcomed, Trump’s failure to articulate a comprehensive strategy to defeat ISIS and his preference for military might over diplomacy have caused concerns. While it is clear the U.S. has re-exerted itself in the Middle East, much of the Arab population (and their leaders) remain perplexed as to the Washington’s plans for the region. That Trump is a novice in foreign affairs and diplomacy is a given, and his early attempts at navigating the international arena may have appeared erratic. However, that does not mean there is no consistent philosophy behind his inconsistencies. Arguably, the most illustrative example of Trump’s foreign policy successes in the Middle East are the mistakes he has not made. His handling of the U.S. embassy in Israel is case in point. Despite promising to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem during his campaign, Trump has since adopted a more nuanced approach. Trump views himself as a peerless negotiator and has set his sights on securing the “ultimate deal:” a comprehensive, negotiated settlement to the Arab-Israeli conflict. His acknowledgment that continued settlement expansion in the West Bank hinders the peace process and his willingness to meet with Abbas show he is not the blind supporter of Israel many feared. 2 However, stabilizing the region will require more than confronting ISIS and cementing a deal between the Palestinians and the Israelis. He must also contend with the growing regional ambitions of two outside powers: Iran and Turkey.

Publication Date


Document Type

Book Chapter

Book Title

Donald J. Trump's Presidency: International Perspectives




Westphalia Press


Washington D.C.

First Page


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International Relations, Egypt-US Relations


International Relations | Political Science

Egypt and the Middle East