- - Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Since his arrival in Washington D.C., President Donald Trump has been regarded by establishment luminaries as diplomatically incongruent with the foreign policy apparatus. From his first days in office, diplomats viewed him as disruptive, brash and, frankly, a danger to the best interests of the United States. They were seeking someone who would exhibit a servile mansuetude to their established foreign policy preferences. Moreover, they wanted a meek shopkeeper who would embrace their methodology, not a bull in search of china shops.

Indeed, Mr. Trump’s daring and penchant for productive disruption has confounded career diplomats at Foggy Bottom and liberal national security think-tankers who lack the fortitude to tackle tough foreign policy challenges head-on. They — like the feckless Obama administration who saw the world as ripe for community organizing — fail to grasp its reality: A multi-polar, multi-dangerous globe needing clear-eyed and bold Churchillian leadership. Mr. Trump provides this in his willingness to make profound choices that court danger, yet are accompanied by the glory and sublimity that results from bold, not timid, decision-making.

His critics are perplexed by his willingness to take stances and make decisions that actually move the fulcrum under complex problems, getting them off dead center, while positioning America to resolve — not simply preside over — foreign policy challenges that otherwise exist in a state of chronic indecision. Consider just one: The president’s recent decision to formally recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

An area of 690 square miles bordering Israel and Syria, stretching from the southeast corner of Lebanon to the northwestern shoulder of Jordan, the Golan Heights overlooks the Sea of Galilee offering any occupying military force a clear and unobstructed view of the peaceful villages and towns lying below. Prior to Israel’s occupation of the Golan, Syria possessed all of it. In 1965, this region was the launch point for Palestinian military raids into Israel. Two years later during the June 1967 Six Day War, Israel took possession of two-thirds of the Golan.

The Yom Kippur War that followed in 1973, saw the Syrian Army overrun much of the southern Golan, but it was eventually repulsed by the Israel Defense Force (IDF). The ceasefire that followed left almost all the Heights in Israeli hands. In 1981, Israel annexed about 500 square miles of the region, a move condemned by the United Nations, yet regarded by the United States as a de facto necessity for Israel’s security. Indeed, any Israeli leader today, military or political, conservative or liberal, would be thought to suffer from an incurable delusion were they to hand over the strategic Golan Heights to any hostile power, particularly one led by Iranian-backed Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, an avowed enemy of the Jewish state.

One can only marvel at why it has taken so long for the United States to recognize that ceding the Golan to Syria would be strategic lunacy and unimaginable military malpractice. Yet for almost four decades — following Israel’s common-sense decision to take the status of the Golan off the table with regard to future peace negotiations — the United States has danced around this issue. Israel was right. And now Donald Trump has wisely exhibited his own common sense in placing the imprimatur of the United States on that decision. There will be no volte-face now that America has made its position clear.

This was a courageous act, one that has eluded previous U.S. presidents more concerned with preserving diplomatic options to secure gossamer solutions that do nothing to resolve issues decisively, rather leave the fires of conflict smoldering and likely to reignite in places like the Golan. Mr. Trump will have no part of that indecisiveness, any more than he will tolerate a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) that won’t pay its bills; or the North Korean threat posed by nuclear-tipped missiles; or a China that continues to threaten our free markets while stealing our intellectual property; or an Iran that mocks us as the “Great Satan” while fomenting world terror and nuclear proliferation, or the ISIS plague, a threat most recently crushed by the will and determination of Donald Trump.

In clarifying the U.S. position on the Golan, Mr. Trump has cleaned the forest floor of latent kindling ready to erupt in a violent wildfire of military incursions by those who have and would once again — like Iran’s Hezbollah and militias — attack the peaceful communities in the Galilean region.

The Athenian historian and general, Thucydides, writing of the Peloponnesian War noted, “The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding go out to meet it.” Thucydides could be describing Mr. Trump as he sallies forth to battle inaction with an audacious common sense that Americans and the world have not witnessed in many years. Thucydides is smiling.

• L. Scott Lingamfelter is a retired U.S. Army colonel who served as a U.S. military observer with the United Nation Truce Supervision Organization in the Golan Heights.

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