The European Politics Blog

Donald Trump’s latest trip to the Middle East is aimed at strengthening ties with foreign states and it includes a whole host of nations, from Saudi Arabia to Israel. Trump’s first stop was in Saudi Arabia, a state the President considers as an ally and over there he was expected to engage in talks over requiring more US support to tackle Iran and armed groups. Furthermore, talks were also expected over a billion dollar arms deal with Saudi Arabia and private investment in Saudi companies, as part of the country’s big privatization drive: Saudi Vision 2030.

In Saudi Arabia, President Trump is regarded more favourably than his predecessor, Barack Obama because Trump comes across as a political leader who is concerned about the major issue of Sunni jihadists that has compelled several Arab states to forge deeper ties. In the end, Donald Trump did seal a billion dollar business deal with Saudi Arabia – an important portion of it was weapons-related, in an effort to enhance security in the Persian Gulf.

Trump’s primary focus on his first trip abroad was about stressing the importance of rooting out extremism from the Muslim world and creating a strong alliance with Sunni Muslim nations. Also, landmark agreements will ensure more jobs for both the United States and Saudi Arabia. However, a disappointing wave of vicious criticism was directed by Trump at Iran for harbouring conflict and for being anti-Israel, in a policy-move aimed at differing greatly from Obama, who had a more liberal approach to Iran, instead.

Trump has a very narrow-vision for Iran, despite the Gulf state keeping its promise of upkeeping the nuclear deal. Recently, there was even a renewal of sanctions relief for Iran, in exchange of which Iran has agreed to pursue minimizing its nuclear developments, as well as provide access to inspect facilities on-the-ground. Ideally, when a state has an estranged relationship with the United States, it’s a much wiser idea to reach out, iron differences and forge better ties with that particular state.

What the President is doing is exactly the opposite: Trump has suggested total isolation of Iran until it has brokered signs of acting as a peaceful ally. The burden of doing all the work should not be left entirely to Iran because it is less than ideal – this should be working as a two-way street. There should instead be a shared commitment towards a peaceful and better relationship for Iran, with all the nations involved: Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United States.

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