The distance between the United States and the Middle East region.
While the distance between the two regions is large, the disconnect between the two is even larger.
In the past fifty-or so years, the United States’ foreign policy has been dominated by the Middle East, with various struggles-small scale and large scale- becoming areas of problems for America.
The problems in the Middle East have increasingly evolved into the problem of terrorism, as terrorism rooted in the Middle East has continued to be an increasing threat in the 21st century.
Americans saw the horrific 9/11 terrorist attacks under President George Bush and struggled through the Iraq War and the threat of Al Qaeda. Under President Barack Obama, Americans saw increased terrorist attacks at home and against its allies overseas, the rise of ISIS, and the escalating conflict in Syria. Other notable incidents include the Benghazi terrorist attack in 2012, the Iran nuclear deal, and the increased divide between the U.S. and Israel. The Middle East has and continues to be the driving focus of the United States foreign policy.
So under Donald Trump, Americans should expect nothing different.
Trump’s immigration ban marks the first of what will be many policies regarding the Middle East in the Trump administration. Trump has also recently condemned the settlements of Israel, in regards to the Israeli-Palestine conflict.
Even though the courts have not yet ruled on the constitutionality of Trump’s ban, the ban is controversial for several reasons.
Firstly, the seven countries covered by the travel ban (Iran, Syria, Sudan, Yemen, Iraq, Somalia, and Libya) have no real ties to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Countries involved in the 9/11 attacks, such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt, are not included in the ban. This raised eyebrows of many Americans who felt that Trump might be protecting his own business interests in Saudi Arabia and Egypt by excluding those countries from the ban. Controversy arose as to whether or not Trump, as President, could make policy decisions independent of his various business interests.
Secondly, what kind of response will the Middle Eastern/Islamic nations have to this ban? Won’t a ban of such proportions sever any hopes the United States has of establishing amicable and cooperative relationships with these nations? It has been made clear in the past two decades that war will not solve the problems between the United States and the Middle East. If a diplomatic approach is utilized, won’t the ban surely hurt this?
It is difficult to believe that we are only three weeks into Trump’s Presidency. The actions the Trump administration takes to solve problems in the Middle East will be witnessed over the next four years. Trump’s travel ban just might be a sneak preview into how Trump will handle issues concerning that region.