Tags: Donald Trump | Israel | Latin America | honduras | jerusalem | pompeo | tel aviv

Trump's Embassy Move in Israel Shows He's a True World Leader

us secretary of state mike pompeo and

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman stand next to the dedication plaque at the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, Thursday, March 21, 2019. (Jim Young/Pool Image/AP)

By Friday, 29 March 2019 04:00 PM Current | Bio | Archive

One oft repeated critique of U.S. President Donald J. Trump has been his foreign policy initiatives. The trope asserts that the sitting president has embarrassed the United States internationally. Trump's detractors insist that respect for the U.S. has diminished because the president is clueless about world affairs.

The claim is that by virtue of the unilateral decisions taken by President Trump, the status quo is upset.

On closer investigation — his detractors aside — it seems that President Trump's moves actually stimulate other countries to reconsider their own foreign policy positions and to adopt new policies based on the new stance of the United States. Think follow-the-leader not monkey-in-the-middle.

The best example of this new twist in global foreign policy decisions is the decision of the United States, under the leadership and direction of President Trump, to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to relocate the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Trump made the decision and then made the move. The difference between his policies and hence US policies and that of other countries, is that other countries cannot move as quickly and decisively as the U.S. can and as President Trump does.

Relocating the embassy was a drastic move.

For the U.S. it did not happen slowly and it did not happen in stages. For most other countries around the world it must happen slowly and it must happen in stages.

Moving slowly and in stages is important because it mitigates the blowback that countries often get when they try to re-educate their citizens and teach them the importance of making moves that alter their long-held foreign policies.

In order to succeed in diplomacy one needs both patience and realism. Sometimes, huge bold pronouncements are simply election slogans that must then be explained away after the election. Sometimes, they are policy changers. On a practical scale it is difficult for leaders — other than dictatorships, of course — to snap their finger and accomplish big changes.

And that explains why Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who had originally followed the trail blazed by the United States and declared that the Brazilian embassy, too, will be relocated to Jerusalem, changed his tune about moving his country's embassy to Jerusalem.

The Israeli press covered the announcement as a walk back of the decision. The Arabic press covered it as a decision reversal. They got it wrong. He hasn't rescinded his decision, he is instead proceeding with caution.

Brazil will soon open an office — not an official embassy — in Jerusalem. The message sent by the Brazilian foreign ministry was that they will be opening a business office in Jerusalem. It is the first step in the process that will ultimately lead to an embassy in Jerusalem.

And so will Honduras. Most people do not know that Tegucigalpa is the capital of Honduras. But it's an important fact that we all should know. Even more so if you recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and support those countries who have taken up the foreign policy challenge and vowed to move their embassies there.

The president of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernandez, announced that his country now recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Honduras, like Brazil, will not be moving their embassy just yet, but they will be opening an office for trade and other official activities in Jerusalem. They are taking the first few steps in the long walk towards moving their embassy

In his announcement Hernandez said, "Today I have announced the first step, which is to open a trade office in Jerusalem, the capital of the state of Israel, and this will be an extension of our embassy in Tel Aviv . . . I've said that a second step will draw a lot of attacks from the enemies of Israel and the United States, but we will continue along this path."

President Hernandez is being practical and realistic. His statements and actions are significant. And just as the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem has impacted Honduras, this move by Honduras will impact others to act the same way - recognizing Jerusalem as the capital first, moving their embassy to Jerusalem later.

To date, other than the United States, Guatemala is the only other country that has moved their embassy to Jerusalem. Last week, Hungary opened a diplomatic trade mission in Jerusalem. Romania announced that they will be moving their embassy. Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă of Romania made that announcement at the AIPAC conference.

Others, the Czech Republic, Lithuania and Australia are all discussing the move.

It will happen. All these countries and more will eventually recognize Jerusalem and move their embassy to Jerusalem. It will happen in stages and it will take time. And patience. Not all countries have the gravitas and conviction and, more importantly, the strength of the United States. And there is only one Donald J. Trump.

Micah Halpern is a political and foreign affairs commentator. He founded "The Micah Report" and hosts "Thinking Out Loud with Micah Halpern" a weekly TV program and "My Chopp" a daily radio spot. A dynamic speaker, he specializes in analyzing world events and evaluating their relevance and impact. Follow him on Twitter @MicahHalpern. To read more of this reports — Click Here Now.

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On closer investigation, his detractors aside, it seems that President Trump's moves actually stimulate other countries to reconsider their own foreign policy positions and to adopt new policies based on the new stance of the United States.
honduras, jerusalem, pompeo, tel aviv
Friday, 29 March 2019 04:00 PM
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