The borndead plan

first_imgDonald Trump’s successful posturing as a self-made billionaire has been busted with multiple and detailed exposés to the contrary, which remain unchallenged. Yet in reality, the reckless punter has burnished a complete contrarian reputation as a highly successful businessman and successfully sold his fables and fortunes, into the White House. His self-aggrandisement journey has included a ghostwritten bestseller ‘Trump: The Art of Deal’, where he prophetically states, “good publicity is preferable to bad, but from a bottom-line perspective, bad publicity is sometimes better than no publicity at all. Controversy, in short, sells”. It is with such reckless belief, mindset and brazenly commercial instinct that Donald Trump has undone so many American positions and hopes, for e.g. Obamacare, Iran Nuclear Deal, Mexican border wall, Trade Wars with China and with allies like the EU, Canada, India, etc. Seemingly, his ‘America-First’ spiel is freighted solely with a short-term business outlook that denudes American diplomacy of its morality, reasonableness and legitimacy. His unilaterality, biases and ham-handedness form the basis of his signature Middle East Peace Plan, which he imperiously describes as the ‘deal of the century’. Also Read – A special kind of bondLike all Trump administration retractions, his Middle East Peace Plan is a fundamental departure from that of all previous US Presidential attempts to broker peace between the Palestinians and Israelis, which was always predicated on the two-state goal of a Palestinian nation. The Oslo Process that had formed the basis of pre-Trump deliberations (post the accords of 1993 and 1995), and had carried the spirit of the United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, fulfilling the “right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.” The yet-to-be-unveiled Donald Trump Middle East Peace Plan has all the makings of a non-starter, with ominous confirmations coming from Jared Kushner, the Jewish son-in-law-cum-senior-adviser-to-the-President of the United States. Jared Kushner shares Donald Trump’s background in the real-estate business, with a murky past that saw his own father convicted for fraud and subsequently incarcerated. Today entrusted with developing and incubating the Trump Middle East Peace Plan, Jared Kushner has cast serious doubts on the feasibility of Palestinian self-rule by stating “We’ll have to see”, and incredulously doubting the abilities of the Palestinians by stating, “the hope is that they over time can become capable of governing.” Like Trump, Jared Kushner has openly and solely collaborated with Israelis and on queries pertaining to the non-inclusion of the Palestinian perspective and the resultant distrust amongst the Palestinians, he has brazenly said, “I’m not here to be trusted.” Such partisanship in what has been routinely described as the ‘world’s most intractable conflict’, does not augur well for regional or global peace. Also Read – Insider threat managementWith Jared Kushner virtually reneging the core ‘two-state’ position, the businessman-duo of Trump-Kushner combine, are believed to have conjured up a humiliating ‘economic package’, as a possible alternative to sovereignty, which was unanimously agreed, earlier. Even the so-called ‘economic package’ is proposed to be funded by the Gulf Sheikhdoms who are expected to settle for the Israeli annexationist formula, as propounded by Benjamin Netanyahu. This potentially makes a mockery of the promises and the modicum of progressive Palestinian ‘self-rule’, as evolved over the years. The retrogresses of this Trump-Kushner approach has reduced the several decades of bloody and emotional struggle to, in the words of Kushner, “the opportunity to live a better life… the opportunity to pay their mortgage”, impliedly so, under continuing Israeli rule! The signs on Trump’s insincerity and one-sidedness in the run-up to the Middle East Peace Plan were obvious in his last two and a half years of his presidency. The provocative recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel had militated against the seven decades of US and multilateral position on freezing the status of Jerusalem, to a mutually acceptable peace agreement. Soon Trump upped the ante by cutting off US aid to the financially beleaguered Palestinian Authority, questioning the Palestinian refugee status, endorsing the Israeli annexation of Golan Heights and opening the path for Israel to swallow up West Bank too if it wanted to do so. In order to force the Middle East Peace Plan deal down the throat of the hapless Palestinians, the US-Israeli governments have squeezed budgets and legitimate tax revenues, under one pretext or the other in order to break the spirit and compel the Palestinians into accepting ‘economic package’ in lieu of the universally agreed (barring Israel), political demands. The decidedly mercantilist instinct of a wheeling-dealing businessman at the helm, instead that of a statesman is writ all over the proposed Middle East Peace Plan that has already been written off by many, as inevitably ‘born dead’. With Trump’s known preference to reinstate Benjamin Netanyahu into his fifth term as the Prime Minister getting derailed with the coalition falling apart, the still-work-in-progress Middle East Peace Plan will get further reductive and restrictive from a Palestinian perspective, in order to bolster perceptions of Netanyahu’s political muscularity. A plan that tilts disproportionately in favour of the Israelis also helps Donald Trump shore up equations with the immensely powerful pro-Israel lobby in the US, that is invaluable for Donald Trump in his 2020 rebid for the second term. Sadly, conjoined bravado on Iran and a ‘truncated’ Middle East Peace Plan that short sells Palestinian cause is a winning electoral proposition in both Washington DC and Tel Aviv. The vulnerable and obligated Sheikhdoms of the Gulf are expected to toe the US line after making some perfunctory noises–Saudi Arabia was rumoured to have even offered $10 Billion to the Palestinian Authorities to accept the plan. Perhaps like a lot of Trump’s infamous business deals and tactics that included filling for ‘bankruptcy’ multiple times, whilst maintaining his façade of, deal-making genius–likewise the Middle East Peace Plan may also turn out to be a very convenient smokescreen that was never intended to be honoured, in the spirit that it is was professed. That freedom, dignity, and respect can never be subjected to any ‘deal’, is something that the Jared-Trump combine may never know. (Lt General Bhopinder Singh (Retd) is a former Lt Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Islands & Puducherry. Views expressed are strictly personal)last_img read more