From Philly News
Today [20 May] marks the 16-month anniversary of Donald Trump becoming the 45th president of the United States, and nowhere has our unlikeliest commander-in-chief placed a greater stamp on America's place in the world than his dramatic -- and sometimes arbitrary and capricious, or so it seems -- shifts in foreign policy. None of these seismic changes seemed more baffling than last spring's abrupt sellout of the Persian Gulf state of Qatar -- a longtime ally where the U.S. Air Force Central Command and its 10,000 American troops are now based.
But suddenly, like the remarkable mid-speech policy reversal that occurs in George Orwell's 1984, we were, in a sense, at war with Qatar. We had always been at war with Qatar.
Trump stunned his own foreign policy team -- including then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis -- when he tweeted that Qatar is a sponsor of terrorism and seemingly endorsed an economic and political blockage of the tiny, oil-rich nation organized and led by two powerful neighbors, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, or UAE.
During my recent trip to the Middle East I stated that there can no longer be funding of Radical Ideology. Leaders pointed to Qatar - look!
How to make sense of a 180-degree shift in policy that seemed so counter to U.S. interests in the region? A few months later, people who suspect the worst about Trump and his minions learned a possible motive that was almost too cynical to comprehend. Not long before Team Trump switched gears on Qatar, key officials from the emirate had met with Charles Kushner -- father of Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared, who's in charge of Trump's Middle East portfolio -- to discuss a massive Qatar-funded bailout of 666 Fifth Ave., the debt-laden Manhattan skyscraper that was threatening to sink the Kushner family real estate empire. But the Qataris rejected the deal -- just weeks before the policy about-face. Whatever actually happened, the appearance was simply awful.