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A Perplexing American Political Scene

Al-Jazeera, Qatar, December 23 

Commentators are struggling to explain what exactly is happening in Washington these days. While facing an investigation into his team’s alleged secret ties with Russia, President Trump has devoted most of his attention over the past few weeks to passing a new tax bill. Beforehand, he surprised some of his closest allies by publicly recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. In between these two events, he instructed Nikki Haley, the American Ambassador to the UN, to wage a diplomatic war against any member state that dared to defy the US in the General Assembly. This has been accompanied by very mixed messages coming out of the White House. Just last week, Trump’s national security adviser openly threatened to use force against Iran and its proxies in the region. Then, a few hours later, Trump’s secretary of defense announced that America intends to deal with Tehran through diplomacy. Nothing can rationally explain these rapid changes—which have come to define Trump’s White House—other than to assume that the administration’s right hand doesn’t know what the left one in doing. Trump’s team seems to suffer from internal confusion and discord. Another possible explanation is that Trump and his advisers have significant disagreements on key policy issues, leading some of his closest aides to take strong stances against him. Either way, both of these explanations are bad news for America—and for the rest of the world. We live in an age in which nobody knows what the U.S.’ next move might look it. Gone are the days of American leadership. – Ahmad al-Faraj

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