- - Thursday, May 10, 2018

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

There was no end of gnashing of teeth and furrowing of brow when President Trump declared in December that he would honor a campaign promise, routinely made and routinely broken by several of his predecessors, to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to the actual capital of Israel.

Lost in the noise of the gnashing was a statement by Israeli Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich. His message, in effect, was a question to the hysterics: “What’s all the fuss about?”

The commissioner told reporters that there are no specific security alerts tied to the formal opening ceremony on Monday. Even with 800 guests, including First Daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner, a special envoy to the Middle East, the Israelis are confident they can maintain not only order but the normal peaceful routine of the day. “There is continuous thwarting, but no extreme tension,” the commissioner said.

Where are the roiling masses of Arabia rising in protest? Where are the diplomatic demarches, the campaign to isolate the United States? Where are the angry denunciations and fiery editorials and the violence, verbal and otherwise, that so many experts predicted? Moving on is the order of the day. The dogs have barked, but the caravan moves on.

The Saudis, whom Mr. Trump skillfully cultivated before he announced the embassy was moving, issued a tepid tut-tut or two, and moved on. The United Nations, always ready with a denunciation of Israel, registered a vote of disapproval, but 44 nations supported the American moving day, or declined to condemn it, and quickly took up the usual irrelevancies. The Palestinian Authority cut off contacts with the United States on the peace process, such as it was, is and will be, but they’ll be back. Turkey’s testy President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Mr. Trump was making “a huge mistake,” but there is nothing like the hullaballoo and blowback the foreign policy establishment stirred up among themselves last winter.

The Israelis, on the other hand, are uniformly thrilled and proud as the new embassy is prepared for opening. They’re gratified that the world’s greatest power recognizes the fundamental right of a nation, any nation, to locate its own capital where it pleases, and that at last there’s an American president who won’t sell their cause cheap. The fortunes of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have blossomed, too, with the coming of the new embassy. Humility is a worthy principle, in both foreign policy and politics.

The foreign policy establishment has no use for Mr. Trump and it has a vested interest in what it has established — from big ideas like the United Nations and the World Trade Organization down to the dishonest policy of studied ambiguity over the location of the capital of Israel. The status of Jerusalem was supposed to be a bargaining chip for a final deal with the Palestinians, and sticking to a failed assumption can stunt the imagination and render it impossible to see how things could be different and better. Both people and nations adjust.

The world did not end when Mr. Trump took the United States out of the misguided Paris climate deal, or when he insisted the country deserves a fair shake in NAFTA. When President Trump took his time affirming the mutual defense principle for all NATO states, the fainting spells and hyperventilation from “the establishment” were something to behold. He eventually got around to it, after putting the fear of God into alliance freeloaders. They were told they have to pay their share of their own defense.

The president was first lectured that his rough talk and firm resolve would get us into a shooting war with Kim Jong-un. Now that Messrs. Trump and Kim have a date (June 12) to talk peace and North Korean disarmament in Singapore, the Nervous Nellies say Mr. Trump is in over his head and is bound to be out-negotiated by the wily North Koreans.

Mr. Trump must, in fact, temper his enthusiasm for delivering peace to a waiting world by remembering that Mr. Kim is not really the “excellent” and “honorable” leader the president has to say he is, but a dictator content to let his people starve while he packs on the pounds at his own dinner table. The president will have the reliable voices of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton in his ear. So “mazel tov,” Mr. Netanyahu, and “well done,” Mr. Trump. Fortune favors the bold, and American diplomacy is more effective for it.

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