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The question is not whether there is anything United States can do. The question is whether or not United States is willing and able to do them, we could come up with any number of creative, sometimes very tough-minded ideas, that the administration could embrace. The question is will they, and so far it seems to be they're highly risk averse even in the face of this intensified conflict.
The itinerary and the absence of a largely substantive agenda suggests to me that this has much more to do with Pompeo's aspirations in 2024 than the realities of what is being confronted in 2020, particularly with respect to the Israeli piece of it, it works very well with Evangelicals. It works very well with about a quarter of the American Jewish community, it works with conservative Republicans. And these are issues that are highly volatile and play extremely well.
If Saudi Arabia kidnapped or killed Jamal Kashoggi, Saudi Arabia's on them, there's no direct causality, but the question remains, to what degree the Donald Trump administration's acquiescence to Saudi Arabia emboldened the Saudi leadership to think it can do what it likes, both in repressing dissent at home and pursuing policies abroad that frankly in my judgment... have been undermining Aaron David Miller national interests.
Someone clearly saw the Vatican, Israel and Saudi Arabia as a broad stage where the President could demonstrate a certain degree of unity and ecumenism and go to places where he could be guaranteed a high degree of symbolism when it came to his first presidential trip, the trip provides a dramatic stage on which to act out his presidential role.
I don't think there are any traps that will be set, the question is whether he generates them on his own. And gets out of his own way. And there's no way to predict that. As carefully orchestrated and choreographed as these trips may be, there's always the possibility of a stumble or an inappropriate remark.
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