How Will President-Elect Trump Handle Middle East Policy?

Jake Neher/WDET

President-elect Donald Trump will inherit a long list of difficult foreign policy challenges the day he walks into the Oval Office.

In the Middle East alone, Syria’s civil war continues to claim tens of thousands of lives, ISIS occupies large portions of land in Iraq and Syria, there’s political instability in Turkey and Yemen, and the Arab-Israeli conflict remains unresolved.

Steven N. Simon joins Stephen Henderson on Detroit Today to discuss how President-elect Trump might handle these situations. Simon served as senior director for Middle Eastern and North African affairs at the White House, advising President Obama on U.S.-Israeli relations throughout the Arab Spring. He also co-authored the book Our Separate Ways: The Struggle for the Future of the U.S.-Israeli Alliance.

Trump hasn’t been all that articulate” on foreign policy, Simon says, except on a couple of key issues. In regards to the Iran nuclear deal, Trump “has expressed great skepticism about the agreement and has threatened to tear it up.”

Simon says this has the potential to increase the risk of war in the Middle East.

He says Trump has also made it clear that he views Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria as an ally when it comes to fighting terrorism.

Simon says there’s a chance Trump’s foreign policy plans will become more moderate over time.

New administrations come in and they’ve got a year in which to enact their campaign rhetoric,” says Simon. “And during that period, often times, the campaign rhetoric collides with reality and they adjust… Whether that will happen in this case is really hard to see.”

Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation.

Image credit: Jake Neher/WDET

About the Author

Detroit Today

Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.

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