In the hour and twenty minutes of his 2018 State of the Union address, President Donald Trump devoted only 100 words to one of his most controversial moves in office, which, to many, counted as his bravest – finally acknowledging that the capital of one of America’s most devoted allies, Israel, is, in fact, the city that has been its capital since around the tenth century BCE: Jerusalem.
“Last month, I also took an action endorsed unanimously by the Senate just months before: I recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” the president said to a cheering Republican side of the aisle and a solemn Democratic side.
Trump then attached a policy change to this short statement, reminding his listeners that “shortly afterwards, dozens of countries voted in the United Nations General Assembly against America’s sovereign right to make this recognition.”
“American taxpayers generously send those same countries billions of dollars in aid every year,” Trump reasoned. “That is why, tonight, I am asking the Congress to pass legislation to help ensure American foreign-assistance dollars always serve American interests, and only go to America’s friends.”
“As we strengthen friendships around the world, we are also restoring clarity about our adversaries,” Trump insisted.
Well done, Mr. President.
Trump then moved to the logical extension of this idea, namely how to deal with the US’ most repugnant adversary in the region. He did it with 48 words:
“When the people of Iran rose up against the crimes of their corrupt dictatorship, I did not stay silent,” he said. “America stands with the people of Iran in their courageous struggle for freedom.”
Of course, the brave folks in Iran rose up against poverty and corruption, because, like most of the downtrodden people in the Middle East, freedom is not their most burning issue at the moment.
The president then addressed the other Iranian elephant in the chamber, declaring: “I am asking the Congress to address the fundamental flaws in the terrible Iran nuclear deal.”
This should obviously mean reenacting the sanctions against Iran unless it allows surprise inspections of all its nuclear facilities, adding a clause about its continuing development of ICBMs, and eliminating the sunset clause in favor of keeping the deal in place interminably.
The Internet on Wednesday morning is overflowing with fact-checking articles on Tuesday night’s presidential address, showing that many of the successes Trump touted are merely continued trends of processes laid down by his predecessor, which makes sense, seeing as President Obama for several years blamed his own predecessor for the hard economic times the country faced then. But we looked and could not find a fact-checking note that disputed those 148 words of policy gold:
Jerusalem remains the capital of Israel, and the Iran nuclear deal will be altered to remove the nightmare a nuclear Islamic Republic, or sanctions will resume.