The president has never been one for following diplomatic or policy norms. He’s executed American foreign policy to the detriment of all involved, acting in the same freewheeling manner that marked his time as a private businessman.
Among the many instances of this has been his belligerence towards North Korea, the leader of which he’s taken to referring to “Little Rocket Man” while also having threatened to annihilate the country if provoked.
Another one of the major foreign policy flubs that’s marked Trump’s time in office so far came last May, when during an Oval Office meeting with Russian officials, the president divulged secret information about Israeli intelligence gathering operations.
There were reports about the nature of the info Trump shared with the Russians being related to a threat from overseas Islamists to use laptop computers as a type of weapon. That, Israeli journalist Ronen Bergman says, is not the end of the story however.
Bergman has recently come out with a book detailing the history of Israel carrying out targeted assassinations, and he appeared recently on NPR to discuss this work, called Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel’s Targeted Assassinations.
During the course of his time on the station, host Dave Davies pressed him about what he knew about the incident with Trump divulging classified information to the Russians in May of last year.
‘It just instilled a sense of miscomfort inside Israeli intelligence. And I think, if I recall something that I heard just recently, they feel — Israeli intelligence feel that the American administration is in chaos — is in havoc. It’s not function properly — not intentionally, but that lead to further leaks. And they are very hesitant with sharing everything they have, as they did in the past, with their American counterparts.’
Bergman seemed to indicate that he was aware of the nature of the information shared with the Russians, and Davies pressed him about this.
Bergman responded by saying:
‘The nature of the information that President Trump revealed to [Russian] Foreign Minister Lavrov is of the most secretive nature. And that information could jeopardize modus operandi of Israeli intelligence… [I]n order not to be part of disclosing secret information and jeopardizing Israeli and the U.S. ability to track down terrorists and proliferate, I prefer not to go into the details of that.’
Ironically, Trump has made it one of his campaign foundations to go after Hillary Clinton for her supposed mishandling of classified information while serving as secretary of state.
Even still, Trump himself is guilty of the very thing he accuses her of.
In addition, how much of a wreck of a leader do you have to be to jeopardize U.S. relations with Israel? We send them inordinate amounts of cash and have long maintained a strategic relationship with them — and yet, Trump has made Israeli intelligence services question us anyway.
Since the May fiasco, Trump has managed to bring us closer to Israel — at least to the public side of the government.
He did so through recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, threatening the future of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations but scoring a win for Israeli conservatives.
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