Trump’s Frightening Picks for U.S. Policy in the Middle East

Source: The Progressive Magazine

Among the many disturbing appointments by President-elect Donald Trump are the people charged with conducting U.S. policy in the Middle East. Trump’s ignorance of the region will make him even more dependent on his advisers than most Presidents. And that’s not good news.

Rex Tillerson,Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State, as with other oil men who have taken leading positions dealing with U.S. Mideast policy, will presumably favor close relations with Arab despots, even if they are terrible on human rights. However, as CEO of ExxonMobil, he would likely oppose actions that could destabilize the region, and respect the views of State Department professionals who provide analysis and advice. Unfortunately, Tillerson may suffer the fate of William Rogers, Nixon’s first Secretary of State, a moderate on Middle Eastern affairs who was routinely bypassed and ignored by President Nixon and National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger.  His businessman’s pragmatism may not carry much weight in the incoming administration, where  foreign policy discussion will likely be dominated by ideologues.

Trump has promised that his Vice President, former Congressman and Indiana Governor Mike Pence, will play a leading role in shaping administration foreign policy. Pence, a member of the Subcommittee on Middle East and Central Asia of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, was a strong supporter of the U.S. invasion of Iraq and an opponent of calls for a withdrawal of U.S. forces. He has supported the ongoing war in Afghanistan and was an outspoken opponent of the nuclear deal with Iran. And Pence has been an outspoken proponent of the Israeli right, blasting international organizations for recognizing Israel as an occupying power and denying or defending Israeli war crimes in the Gaza Strip and elsewhere.

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