When Donald Trump was unexpectedly elected president, two nations in the Middle East that had been particularly aggrieved by the policies of the Obama administration rushed to take advantage. They were Saudi Arabia and Israel — and they succeeded beyond their wildest expectations.
In a matter of months, Trump reversed Obama’s strategy of encouraging a regional equilibrium of power between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran, siding unequivocally with the Saudis. He also abandoned decades of U.S. attempts to balance Israeli interests with those of the Palestinians. He tore up the Iran nuclear deal, moved the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and cut off aid for Palestinian refugees.
The disappearance and alleged murder of Jamal Khashoggi has exposed the real return on Trump’s gambits.