Persian Gulf: Potential Conflict of Interest

Trump's first international tour breaks with tradition: is the first president since Reagan to not visit a neighboring country and the one who has taken the most to make his tour since John F. Kennedy

Photo: EFE
English 20/05/2017 20:10 Víctor Sancho / Corresponsal Washington Actualizada 20:58

The trip rises a lot of questions in the U.S. “Are there reasons to be concerned? The quick response is yes, there are,” asserts Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, in a recent article.

The most interesting regions will be, without a doubt, the first two: Saudi Arabia and Israel. “Saudi Arabia has long been one of the closest and most problematic allies of the United States,” said from his tribune in the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS), Anthony Cordesman. In the Persian Gulf, and in spite of the anti-Muslim rhetoric and the immigration ban, Trump could encounter a “warm” welcome, according to Jon Alterman, a CSIS Middle East expert.

His prediction is simple: knowing the president's profile, they will give him royal treatment and flatter him, they will promise him “to work hard against radicalization” and will seek to sign treaties on sale of weaponry. “They will tempt the president in order to get easy victories in their pockets,” said Alterman. “Trump will have to resist the temptation,” the expert advises.

The Gulf believes that with Trump in power they have the advantage: he is hostile to Iran and does not care too much about human rights. “They want love from the U.S.” concludes Alterman.

The trip to Israel and Palestine comes after the visit of their two leaders to the White House, in which Trump has committed to work in order to achieve a lasting peace agreement between the both. Jared Kushner leads this particular effort. However, his position concerning the conflict is still diffuse.

“The ultimate agreement,” is how the magnate calls it. The criticism to alleged Trump's anti-Semitism lingers in the White House despite the president's unconditional tokens of support towards Israel. The Palestinians, for their part, keep distrusting their counterparts.

The level of requirements of Trump's first tour is, at first, really low. “If the trip ends without any disaster it will be a complete success. And will be a success if he gets a little educated about the world,” said Thomas Wright, an expert from the Brookings Institution.

All of this is related to the conflict of interests shadow that always follows the magnate. “It is particularly dangerous,” said recently Richard Painter, former ethic lawyer in the George W. Bush administration, in relation to the difficulty which the president could have in separating diplomatic work from “such extensive business abroad.”

In fact, the two first places of the tour are of special interest for the Trump brand. His two sons were recently in Dubai to supervise the progress of the golf court which carries the family name. And, for a long time, the Trump family has looked for businesses in Tel Aviv. Without going further, Kushner invested in various settlements in Israel.