14 Sep 2020

Cold Peace, Hot Wars

Donald Trump has done some remarkable things in his short time in office. It seems that his reputation as a dealmaker is well-earned. The Art of the Deal is now gobbling-up peace overtures in the Middle East, between old enemies.

We’ve known for some time that the Middle East is a hotbed of Islamic ideology. As the researcher Raymond Ibrahim (you should check out his work) has pointed out, complete domination of the world has been a core Muslim goal since the 7th century. It is difficult—very difficult—for western minds to accept this. And so much of our society goes on in a dream-like trance, unable and unwilling to see the obvious existential threat for what it is. I will be honest: I’d be hard-pressed to ever trust national Arab leadership, and that includes what is going on right now in the Middle East.

And yet.

Just when many of us think we have the immediate future somewhat figured out, comes a reality that bends reality.

Recently, it was announced that a peace deal had been brokered between the UAE and Israel. Stunning, really.

Now comes word that Bahrain is prepared to recognize Israel as well, and normalize relations.

Additionally, more and more countries announce that they are opening embassies in Jerusalem. Eastern European countries and those aforementioned Gulf States are forming a remarkable coalition willing at least on paper to make peace with the Jewish state.

In this way, Trump is similar to Benjamin Netanyahu. Both men are resolute in crisis, and resolute in the face of the most sinister media attacks. Both men are hated by media in their respective countries. Netanyahu has dealt with this for 25 years, Trump for four.

And while we may never know what operational masterpieces Netanyahu has taken part in as a commando, and authorized while prime minister, Trump too has ice water in his veins when it comes to ordering strikes that are game-changers.

His early 2020 order to take out the Iranian terror master Soleimani showed that Trump, like Netanyahu, is willing to take bold steps that really alter the way even diplomacy is done going forward. Seth Frantzman, a terrific writer in the Jerusalem Post, talks about the new Bob Woodward book, Rage, in which Trump’s Soleimani hit is examined in a new light.

“The book paints a picture of a calculating Trump who made a decisive decision that went against the fear-mongering of experts, politicians and advisors.

“According to accounts published online, the powerful US Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who is a key foreign policy player and close to Trump, was concerned about striking Soleimani. He warned that it was ‘over the top’ and a ‘giant step’ and that it would lead to ‘almost total war.’ He suggested striking someone lower level, an attack that Iran could ‘absorb.’”

Do you see? Politicians and advisors like Graham have kept Netanyahu fairly hamstrung for a quarter-century. Dennis Ross, Graham, William Cohen, Madeleine Albright…the list goes painfully on. They forced Israel to go along with Oslo and the result was thousands of dead and maimed Israelis. Now Trump has changed the equation and is allowing by extension Netanyahu to do some real broken-field running, as they say. They make quite a tandem in reshaping the Middle East, while scrapping conventional (dangerous) diplomacy.

So while we who study Bible prophecy wait (im)patiently for that just-right alignment of nations to fulfill the great end-times prophecies, we must in the here-and-now have some appreciation for these pragmatic deals that at least tamp-down hostilities and make way for thawing relations. These cold peace deals are preferable to hot wars where people die.

I’ve read some interesting things this week that propose that Arab nations are not part of the Gog-Magog War. And these geopolitical machinations are complex. Maybe what we should do in this present moment is take the peace we can get now, brace for the potential treacheries that may come, and leave to God the final outcomes.

I will be skeptical of Arab overtures, for Israel’s sake, but hope for the best in the short-term. At the very least, two transformational leaders are taking America and Israel in new directions.

It is a remarkable time to be alive.