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 Moeed Pirzada |

While giving an interview, to an Israeli newspaper, Israel Hayom , US president Donald Trump has now said that Israeli settlement in Palestinian area is not a very good idea; this is not conducive to peace. He surprised the world by saying that shifting the US embassy to Jerusalem is not that simple, it is a complex thing; he will further study and examine it.

Trump in apparent U-turn on Israeli settlement growth – Guardian

Trump realising that system is bigger than him

Analysts think that president Donald Trump is now quickly realising the limitations of presidential power. This is something that happened to all presidents before him. Barak Obama also before becoming the president hinted at ending the Guantanamo Bay prison, talked of resolving the Israel-Palestine issue, thought of appointing a special envoy to India and Pakistan on Kashmir and took the historic step of addressing the Muslim World from Al-Azhar University, Cairo. But in his eight years of presidency, Chicago’s idealist law professor, could make very little progress on the promises made or expectations generated during his campaign trail. However the marked difference between Trump and other presidents has been that they – his predecessors – toned down their rhetoric between winning the elections and assuming office. Trump and his team are learning all that the hard way – within the first 4 weeks of the new presidency.

Read more: Trump-Netanyahu bromance and the dismal future for Palestinians

Israeli settlements & US Embassy to Jerusalem?  Trump had been consistently supporting Israeli settlements, during his presidential campaign, and bitterly criticised the outgoing Obama administration when it did not stop the UN Security Council from censoring Israel on its new settlements. As early as 4 weeks ago, he supported the shifting of US embassy to Jerusalem but now just five days before his scheduled meeting with the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, he is distancing himself from both positions.

US-Iran nuclear deal as “very very bad deal”

The difference between Trump and other presidents has been that they toned down their rhetoric between winning the elections and assuming office.

What changed his mind? His anti-Iran posturing took him to Pentagon’s old Sunni Arab allies. But his interaction with these old Arab allies-Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Qatar- he was trying to court to put pressure on Iran ended up convincing  him that taking swift actions on Israeli settlements and shifting of the US embassy to Jerusalem will create serious political problems on the Arab street. But the irony is that he is also forced to make compromises on Iran. He has been continuously referring to US-Iran nuclear deal as “very very bad deal” and has hinted several times that he will scrap it. This is something that immensely pleases both his Arab allies and Israel. So after Iran did missile testing his administration did announce new sanctions against Iran and his executive order brought Iran into the list of seven countries facing visa and immigration restrictions.

Read more: The Muslim world: Liberals pay the price of Trump & Saudis

However, Putin’s Russia – he wants to cooperate with against ISIS and other Islamic radicals – has made it clear that tinkering with US-Iran nuclear deal will not be a wise idea. Almost all his European allies and most of the US strategic community thinks the same. The result is: this week his advisors were assuring his European allies that Trump administration fully respects the multinational US-Iran nuclear deal. His secretary of defence and other advisors have just assured US allies in East Asia of solid American support to their security; though the candidate Trump had spent most time in the campaign telling the world, and his American supporters, that the United States under him will no longer bear the cost of regional alliances.

One China Policy 

In December when Mr Trump received the congratulatory call from Taiwan’s president he boldly asserted that America under him will no longer be bound by “One China Policy”. However, after assuming office as America’s president, days kept passing and Mr Trump was unable to talk to United States’ most important global stakeholder.

He finally learnt from his advisors that the “wicked wicked Godless Chinese leadership” will not take his call unless he reaffirms the Nixon-era principle of “One China Policy”. Since the opening to China under Nixon and Kissinger, in 1970/71, “One China Policy” is the defining bedrock of Sino-US strategic relationship. So this week when president Trump finally talked with the Chinese President, Xi Jinping, he faithfully reaffirmed: One China Policy.

Read more: Trump at China’s request says will honor ‘One China’ policy

the candidate Trump had spent the most time in the campaign telling the world that the United States under him will no longer bear the cost of regional alliances.

The real challenge for the new president lies in reducing trade deficit with China, Mexico and the rest of the world; and he has to restore the US manufacturing base and create new jobs. However, Trump took the easy path of populist decision making when he announced, through his executive order, visa and immigration restriction against seven Muslim countries. Four US States – New York, Massachusetts, Virginia and Washington – challenged him in courts and finally, the State of Washington got the whole executive order suspended. Trump’s Justice Department had hoped of getting some partial relief from the 9th Circuit US Appeals Court but none was forthcoming.

Trump first reacted by unusual rhetoric against the judiciary and claimed that he will soon get the relief from the US Supreme Court. But once his team told him that even in supreme court a “4-4 tie” is expected he is now talking about bringing a new executive order on immigration. It is understood that his new executive order will be far limited in scope.

Read more: What does banning Immigration say about the US?

World has realized that United States leads and inspires the four corners of the world not because its a government of rich and powerful men but because its a government of rules – where system is bigger than any man; even its president.

During the presidential campaign when candidate Trump had repeatedly threatened of changing all that United States had stood for, a satirical piece was viral on social media that drew the scene of president Trump’s first meeting with CIA, FBI and other agencies who told him of the “complexities” and “secret commitments” and that he needs to relax and let them run the show. Trump may not have realised his limitations in a single meeting with CIA but he is now fast realising what a US president can do and cannot do. And the world has realized that United States leads and inspires the four corners of the world not because its a government of rich and powerful men but because its a government of rules – where system is bigger than any man; even its president.

Dr. Moeed Pirzada is a prominent columnist, TV Anchor & Editor Strategic Affairs with Dunya News in Pakistan . He studied International Relations at Columbia University New York and law at London School of Economics as “Brittania Cheavening Scholar”. He tweets at: MoeedNj . The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy. 

Moeed Hasan Pirzada is a Pakistani political commentator, geostrategic analyst, and a television news journalist. He is an anchor at Dunya News and hosts TV programs. He has interviewed many politicians around the world. Moeed Hassan Pirzada has also been a Director World Affairs and Content Head of PTV News and hosted the famous talk show Sochta Pakistan, a program that discussed national, regional, strategic, social and educational issues with politicians, analysts and policy makers. He has worked with Dunya News-TV channel as a Director World Affairs and hosted the current affairs talk show Dunya Today. He has written for Dubai-based regional paper Khaleej Times. His columns have appeared in major Pakistani papers such as Dawn, The News International, Daily Times, Friday Times and blogs. He has attended national and international conferences, seminars and policy workshops and had been a member of the Prime Minister's Education Task Force that collaborated with the British Council to produce the Next Generation Report. He has contributed policy papers to Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI) and also written several policy pieces for Pique Magazine. He is an Executive Director of Governance & Policy Advisors (GAPA) that provides consultancy services to the government institutions, development organizations and corporate bodies on issues related to media, governance, health policy, and regional peace.

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