Will he return? The end of Trump’s term as a sign of the future?
In recent weeks, amid a loss in the presidential elections, President Trump seems to be doing everything he can — not necessarily to leave a positive imprint — as another president might have tried, but rather to increase chaos and disorder, in a way that may raise suspicions that he intend to harm his successor, and also to please his political base, as well as those who positioned themselves as his international allies during his term.
In the local arena, the way he continues to defy and avoid acknowledging the clear elections results, combined with defiant legal moves, all of which may raise suspicions that Trump is already thinking about 2024, and everything he does now is clearly signaling — to his political rivals — and especially his devoted supporters, That he intends to return.
In the international arena, in recent weeks increased activity can be identified — both directly by Trump’s envoys — such as the visits of Secretary of State Pompeo to Israel (including a defiant visit to the West Bank) and Saudi Arabia (a visit to which he attracted Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu in a Clumsy and ineffective attempt for concluding a quick agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia), and also in what may be construed as tacit consent to aggressive activity against Iran, an activity apparently conducted by proxy, according to the publications apparently Israel (specifically two assassinations attributed to Israel- senior al-Qaeda and senior Iranian nuclear scientist, which were carried out in the heart of the country).
Trump’s conduct may be interpreted — apparently — as desperate attempts to achieve some kind of positive legacy after a chaotic term (and some may say also towards hard days yet to come-due to some legal matters he may face regarding his personal financial conduct), but there is also a possibility that should be taken into account, that Trump deliberately produces facts on the ground — in order to make it difficult for his successor to deal with these facts, and also to signal to all relevant players-both in the national and international arenas, that he intends to return.
In the international arena, it was reported this week that, at least when it comes to Saudi Arabia (whose leader is considered a close ally of Trump), there is concern about reconciling with Trump’s end-of-term moves, so they politely rejected the peace initiative with Israel, apparently in order to wait and see what Biden and his team will bring (and it is worth to consider that some of Biden’s team have a very clear agenda when it comes to foreign policy — and it is, to say the least, inconsistent with Trump’s agenda).
There is considerable danger in Trump’s irresponsible conduct during the last days of his term. At the national level, it is evident that he leaves inconceivable damage to the credibility of the democratic process, and to the willingness of elements from his political base to recognize the new administration.
At the international level, “loosen the reins”, that allow his close allies (especially Netanyahu) to stir up and establish facts on the ground — both vis-à-vis the Palestinians and Iran, has-beyond the immediate danger of security flare-ups-also the danger of harming the Biden administration’s foreign policy — at least in the beginning of his term.
In such sensitive times, from a health and economic point of view, the last thing the US and the international system need is a defiant and fermenting policy. These days the flames should be extinguished and not increased.