On Moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem*

By Norman A. Bailey*
Sunday, December 10th, 2017 @ 2:34PM

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After years of one president of the US after another kicking the embassy down the road every six months, President Trump finally made the astonishing discovery that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.

This anodyne announcement was met by its completely predictable rejection by the Palestinians, the Arab and Muslim countries in general, and by the rapidly-Islamicizing Europeans.

While Abbas and the other 39 thieves are seemingly having a problem mobilizing the masses to attack Israel for a decision made by the US government, the whole ridiculous theater of the absurd underscores the recurring inability of “leaders” to do any innovative thinking, much less acting, about much of anything.

Any difficult decision should be made as soon as possible. Any and every delay will simply make matters worse because those who oppose the decision have that much more time to organize themselves and adopt appropriate negative policies and strategies. The Jerusalem decision is a prime example of the truth of this maxim.

That said, a bit of thinking outside the box might have led to a way of finally implementing the Congressional mandate to move the embassy. Congress could have simply repealed the clause in the original law that gave the president the authority to delay implementing it for six months at a time if in his opinion carrying it out might have negative implications for the national security. Trump could then have allowed the amendment to become law without his signature while announcing that he was doing so to avoid a possible veto override. Presto! Opposition disarmed! The US government now has no choice but to implement the law.

The same out of the box thinking could, but probably won’t, be applied to the actual shift of the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Secretary of State Tillerson is already saying it probably won’t happen until 2019 and you may be sure that the incorrigible Arabists at the State Department will work hard to postpone it even beyond that.

Shifting the embassy should be as quick, easy and inexpensive as relabeling the Consulate General building in Jerusalem as “Embassy” and the embassy building in Tel Aviv as “Consulate General.” The same could be done with the respective residences. Some personnel would have to move, but that is no great sacrifice.

Granted, hoping for innovative decision-making by any bureaucracy, public or private, is usually a waste of good hoping time. But does it always have to be so?

Perhaps some lessons could be learned from examples of innovative thinking on the other side, such as the recent misinformation collaboration between Al Jazeera and The New York Times (by no means the first), announcing that da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi portrait of Jesus had been bought at auction by the Saudi Crown Prince. Horror! Shock! Protest! Except that it turns out it was purchased by the new “Louvre” art museum in the UAE. You can’t make this stuff up, except that “they” in fact do–all the time. What is depressing is that it is so eagerly lapped up by a large portion of those exposed to it.

Someone wise said that the only thing people learn from experience is that no one ever learns anything from experience. On the other hand, as it is said, “Hope springs eternal.” Look what it did for Pandora.

 

* Norman A. Bailey, Ph.D., is Professor of Economics and National Security, The National Security Studies Center, University of Haifa, and Adjunct Professor of Economic Statecraft, The Institute of World Politics, Washington, DC. He was formerly with the US National Security Council and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

* This article, titled “Why can’t world leaders think outside the box was published by Globes [online], Israel business news, on December 11, 2017

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