Ribbon Cutting in Jerusalem

H/T to The Hill

The U.S. will cut the ribbon on its embassy in Jerusalem today, the latest in a string of international gambles that will ultimately define President Trump’s legacy.

It’s been a high-wire act for the president on the global stage over the past few weeks:

  • Officially moving the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem delivers on campaign promises made by countless Republicans who came before Trump. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and senior members of the Trump administration – Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin – are celebrating in Jerusalem. Trump’s base of Christian supporters is elated.
  • Pulling the U.S. out of the nuclear deal with Iran nullified former President Obama’s signature foreign policy achievement.
  • A summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is one the most consequential international developments in decades.

These moves share a common thread: They deliver on versions of Trump’s campaign promises, especially his vow to be unconventional. And they play into Trump’s boasts that only he has the negotiating prowess and the appetite for unpredictability that could unlock decades-old problems.

The president views everything through the lens of winners and losers. So a big and unanswered question is whether these actions lead to foreign policy victories for the U.S. and allies.

  • Israel is on high alert over expected protests and has bolstered its forces along the Gaza border and the West Bank, according to The Associated Press.
  • The withdrawal from the Iran deal has roiled the globe, sparking an eleventh hour diplomatic push from Iranian officials and isolating the U.S. from strategic foreign allies, such as Germany.
  • Kim’s release of three U.S. prisoners is easily the high point for the Trump administration so far, but no one will be ready to claim the finish line is within view until North Korea makes tangible moves to disarm.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo seemed to sum up Trump’s entire foreign policy Sunday when asked about progress with North Korea. He told Fox News that he wanted to quote the president. “We’ll see,” he told Chris Wallace.

Robert Gates, the former Pentagon chief to two presidents, echoed that idea on Sunday while talking about conditions in the Korean Peninsula. “We’ll see,” he told CBS’s  “Face the Nation.”

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